By Randal Greer
Louisiana CR Inside State Rep
We were at Tallulah Women’s Prison for our Purpose Driven Church and I was speaking on Love, when all of a sudden a women stood up and interrupted me and said “Mr. Randal, this girl is mean. She is just mean. She steals my commissary and stuff off my bed, and beats up on every body. How am I supposed to love some body like that?” Well I lost it! Every train of thought left me and all I could think to say is, “Go back to her, don’t even look at her, and say Jesus loves you so do I”. She said, “Is that all?” and I said, “Yes”.
The very next week we were there again and this same lady, Melissa, came up to me with a BIG black eye and said, “This is your fault! She hit me. I told you she was mean!” Needless to say I told her to do the same thing and look at her this time and say, “Jesus loves you so do I“. With a little hesitation she said, “ok”, and walked off.
The following week we were there again, and Melissa come running up to me crying. One of her black eyes was healing, but now she had another one. “Oh my goodness”, I said, “not again?”. She said, “Yes, and I’m NOT going to tell her anything else!” I said, “Melissa you have to. Go back and look at her again and tell her, Jesus loves you so do I, but this time please duck”. With a lot of hesitation she said, “ok” and walked off.
Two weeks went by and we were back at Tallulah baptizing the ladies that had come to know Jesus. All of a sudden two sets of fingers began tapping me on my shoulder. Arm in arm, it was Melissa and this girl named Tonya. Tonya said, “Mr. Randal please, I want to be baptized. I’m not mean anymore. Jesus saved me!”.
What a Mighty message of Love. Arm in arm, I baptized these ladies into Jesus.
On May 22 over 80 women at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, OK celebrated their recovery by graduating from their 12 Step Study groups held each Sunday at the facility. Volunteers from several churches around Eastern Oklahoma spent each Sunday afternoon from September, 2015 through May, 2016 traveling to the facility to take Celebrate Recovery Inside to the ladies, and providing them the tools to overcome their hurts, habits, and hang-ups through the 8 Principles and 12 Steps of Celebrate Recovery.
The worship band Blue Chip Friday from Celerate Recovery at Southern Hills Baptist Church in Tulsa, OK traveled to the facility on Sunday afternoon to lead the women graduating, volunteers, and guests in a time of woship to help them celebrate their accomplishment. During the graduation ceremony, a video from Christian recording artist Josh Wilson was played (click here to watch) to allow him to personally congratulate all of the ladies on their graduation, and then several members of the graduating class performed for those in attendance by signing to the Josh Wilson song ‘No More’ which was a huge hit and very special memory for everyone attending.
After the time of praise and worship, each participant graduating was presented with a certificate to mark their accomplishment, as well as a Celebrate Recovery Bible to help them continue in their quest for knowledge of God and His will for their lives. God was definitely smiling down on everyone in attendance and all who were there were blessed to be a part of such a memorable moment in these ladies lives!
The program at E.W.C.C. has been in existence for several years, with many volunteers sacrificing themselves each Sunday afternoon from early fall through late spring each year to bring the message of hope and healing of Celebrate Recovery to the Inside to help these ladies find a new life and freedom from their past. Many thanks go out to the volunteers who give of themselves selflessly each week year after year to provide this program at E.W.C.C. and to all of the volunteers at all of the facilities across the United States and around the world who give of themselves for our incarcerated brothers and sisters in Christ.
To God be the Glory!
Bobby Pepper, who serves as Southeast regional editor for the CRI newsletter, is community news editor for the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, MS. He has been with the Daily Journal 28 years, which includes stints as a sports writer, assistant sports editor and online editor. Pepper first attended Celebrate Recovery in March 2011 and is in recovery from porn addiction, depression, divorce and workaholism. He is co-ministry leader of CR at NorthStar Church in Saltillo, MS. Pepper previously served as assimilation coach and continues to lead the men's step study and small groups. He has led men's step studies for CR groups in Starkville, MS, and in his hometown, Houston, MS, He also attended CR in Tupelo, MS, Pepper is a 1985 graduate of the University of Mississippi with a BA in Journalism. He is single and has two grown children, Phillip and Samantha.