Our Yard Pastors

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Pastor Aaron Buttery, RJD,San Diego, CA

In 2013, Aaron walked away from a career in nuclear power to pursue god’s call in his life for prison ministry. Since then, he has been serving as a volunteer at RJ Donovan state prison, fulfilling a variety of roles for the protestant religious program. In 2017 Aaron graduated from Bethel seminary with a Master of Divinity and was ordained by Converge Worldwide, a baptist conference that has been around for over 165 years. Aaron has been faithfully serving as a yard pastor on facility a at RJ Donovan since October of 2016. As a yard pastor, Aaron helps inmates meet, know, and follow Jesus through bible studies, prayer groups, Sunday church services, Kairos events, one on one counseling, walking the yard, and cell visits. With your partnership, Aaron can continue to bring a message of hope and healing and be a beacon of light in a place of great pain, brokenness, and despair.

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REV. ELENA HERNANDEZ, SPANISH PROGRAMS COORD & YARD PASTOR CCI, TEHACHAPI, CA

In 1984, I became involved in correctional ministries. This was after experiencing a powerful conversion in the late 1970’s while overdosing on cocaine; an experience which turned my life around completely. In 1990, I was introduced to Chaplain Buzz Brewer who offered me the position of Program Coordinator for the Spanish religious programs at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility. In 1995, feeling the need to further my theological and pastoral training, I moved to New York City, where I graduated from the Healthcare Chaplaincy Inc. I continued volunteering my services as the Spanish Yard Pastor at RJ Donovan with Pastors to Prisoners, ministering in the mainline yards under the supervision of the Protestant Chaplain. My role at the prison is to help the inmates become reconciled with God. In September 2013, I began to minister to the inmates at CCI in Tehachapi, also coordinating the Spanish services and serving as a Yard Pastor. God has given me great love and compassion for the people in jails and prisons, and I believe my strong commitment to those in prison is rooted in the knowledge that this is a God-given calling.

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Pastor Terry Linthicum, Yard Pastor CEN, Imperial, CA

I was raised by my parents in southern California along with my three brothers. After graduating High School, I went on to become a successful entrepreneur and in 1995 I married my wife of now 24 years; adopting two girls who are now 22 and 18, respectively. In 1999 the Lord Jesus Christ called me to trust Him with my life and family. I learned from Him that I knew neither how to be a husband and father, nor how to trust the God of Bible; even when I knew what He was asking me to do. God’s word taught me everything that I needed to know and renewed my mind by the faithfulness of His love. Over the years He taught me to be faithful to Him and to lead my family through thick and thin. He led me to begin sharing His word with others and has now put me in the position of Yard Pastor at Centinela State Prison. It is truly a humbling experience to proclaim the Good News to broken men. Yard Pastors provide encouragement and discipleship, both of which are so very important to men who really desire to break the strongholds in their lives, the tempting pleasures of this world. The fight against evil is daily, if not hourly, for so many of these men who desire an abiding relationship with Jesus and the Hope He offers in Himself.

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Pastor Michael Solorio, Yard Pastor WSP, KVSP, NKSP, Wasco/Delano, CA

I would like to give God all the praise and glory for rescuing me from six years of drug addiction and alcohol. It was in January 29, 1991 when I was invited to come to a small church in Fairfax, CA that I had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I had never attended a church before, and when the Pastor said to me at the altar: “Before you get God in your life, you have to acknowledge the one who died on the cross for you, Jesus Christ.” Then I said: “Jesus, please forgive me for my sins”. Then I fell on the floor and cried like I had never cried before. When I got up I was not the same person. Jesus touched my heart and I was a new born-again Christian filled with the Holy Spirit. Immediately after that experience I started working with people from the streets who had the same background that God delivered me from. In 2008 I started volunteering at a local radio station helping with a Spanish program called “Treasures Out of Darkness”. In 2012 I felt a call from God to get involved in prison ministry and started volunteering at the Shafter & Lerdo County Jails in Bakersfield as well as at the Wasco state prison, where I am the Volunteer Coordinator under the supervision of the Community Resources Manager. In 2015 God opened doors for me to start volunteering at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi and later at Kern Valley and North Kern state prisons. I have a deep compassion for the inmates because they need hope and we in Christ have the answer to their need: Jesus Christ!

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Dr. Roger Ziegler, Yard Pastor   RJD, San Diego, CA

After serving at RJ Donovan as a volunteer in the Protestant religious program for over 10 years, Roger has felt God’s call to full time ministry with Pastors to Prisoners as a Yard Pastor. Roger is uniquely qualified for prison ministry.  He has served in the KAIROS ministry; he has a Brown Card identification (which allows him to escort other volunteers); taught Bible studies on several yards and participated in chapel programs at Centinela State Prison.  He has also been a leader in ministries at his home church and has shared his vision of ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to men who have lost all hope. Roger has seen the fruit of his ministry in men who are now out of prison, and have found in their faith, the resources to experience not only a new life in Christ, but the power to experience the changes that allow for a new life of freedom and lawful productivity in the community. Roger gave up his chiropractic practice to follow what he believes in his heart to be God’s call.  We eagerly seek your prayers and support as Roger enters the “devil’s playground” as a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Pastor Elliott LaQuinn Nichols, Yard Pastor   RJD, San Diego, CA

Elliott Nichols has been serving at Donovan Prison since 2010. Much of the time he is accompanied by his beautiful wife Rosemary. He will tell anyone who will listen that Prison Ministry is definitely his calling. He even takes a part in the Spanish services by utilizing an interpreter. He loves providing the spiritual guidance, love, and support the men desire and need. He is a real soldier for the Lord.

Rev. Jorge Molina, Yard Pastor RJD, San Diego, CA

Jesus changed my life many years ago on June 2, 1983.  I was 27 years old when I opened the door of my heart and invited Jesus to enter in by asking Him to “Help Me.”  I was tired of living.  I was a former heroin addict, gang member and an ex-felon for many years.  Since my conversion, I have worked for the Life Outreach Program, a residential drug and alcohol program run in San Ysidro for over a decade.  I was involved with the San Diego Country Jail Ministries for about 10 years while working in the New Life Program. I have been volunteering at RJ Donovan Correctional Facility since 2000.  I am now, by the mercy of God, a Yard Pastor.  I was ordained as a minister in 1987 and have been married for over 30 years.  My wife and I have been married for over 30 years.  My wife and I have raised 7 children and my love and passion is for those incarcerated.  It is a blessing to be used by God to touch the hearts of many men.  I love to see them turn from a life of crime through the power of God’s Word to be God fearing men in and out of the prison.  Keep me in your prayers that God may someday grant me the privilege to be a Yard Pastor full time.