Written by Christine Sumner/The Clarion, Re-printed with permission
I had the sweetest note today that I have ever gotten from a long time friend I met at the jail many years ago when we were both much younger. When I began taking Celebrate Recovery Inside to the jail last October I met her again. “What are you doing here again,” I asked her jokingly. She just sighed and made an “I don’t know” gesture.
Over the months following, I began to see a difference taking place and as the months went by, I knew this young woman had changed. I was so glad when the kind judge gave her one more chance after many others.
She has been clean and sober ever since. This young woman is a totally different person than the one I met in that jail over ten years ago. Jesus made the difference. Listen to this:
“I love you so very much. Thank you for coming to that jail and teaching the word of God. You let me know there was hope.”
I cannot tell you what this does for me. I feel sorry for anyone that has not felt the Spirit of God working in their heart when something like this occurs in their life. This is our purpose in life; go out and tell others about His forgiveness and the saving grace He offers to all who seek him. Going to church is wonderful but actually doing God’s work is beyond measure.
On October 22 2013 Westville Correctional Facility in Northwest Indiana had their first graduation class of CR Inside. The class started with 34 inmates and six leaders and finished with 25 graduates. We had 5 live testimonies from our leaders and several video testimonies from other Celebrate Recoveries. Getting more live testimonies into the prison will be one of my biggest concerns for our next class. We covered the course in a 26 week period as the prison allowed.
Our leadership team lost 3 people by the end of the class due to school or other ministry requirements but 6 of the inmates have stated they would like to be on the leadership team for the next 26 week class. We had one inmate that asked to be baptized while being in the course.
The students were asked what their spiritual state was before the course, what is it now, and what they planned to do with there learning. Most said they believed in God before, and many said they had renewed faith or hope after taking the course. Most said they will use what they learned to improve themselves and their relations with Jesus, and others said they will use it to help others.