CR Inside Newsletter

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Unspoken Performs at Maine State Prison



By Gerald Boguhn, CR Inside State Rep Maine

Recently the Maine State Prison had some musical visitors who blessed the inmates in the medium security wing of the prison. Those visitors were the Christian contemporary band Unspoken. A great group of guys who’s popularity is only rivaled by their humbleness. They came in to visit, play an acoustic set of songs and share testimonies.

The event was put together very quickly in January of this year, and was up in the air until a few days prior to their appearance. Due to their concert schedule, time constraints and prison policies, nothing was for sure until the last minute. But in the end, God was faithful and a wonderful event for the inmates was made possible.

It started in early January of 2015 as I was looking through upcoming concerts I could attend. I saw that Unspoken was coming in concert and I knew of them not just due their popularity and radio air play. I was very familiar with them through their ties to Maine, several calling Maine home. I got the idea that a CR Inside concert might be a possibility due to the location of one of their concerts at Waldoboro Baptist Church in Waldoboro, ME being only 30 minutes from the Maine State Prison. This is also the church home of one of our CR Inside volunteers. I contacted the band by Facebook explaining that I was the Maine State Celebrate Recovery Inside Representative and asked if they would be interested in visiting The State Prison to play for the inmates. They responded with a definite yes, if they could fit it in to their schedule. I soon came to find out that they had volunteered to appear for Celebrate Recovery before and soon also discovered the reason why. Unspoken first came together after Chad Mattson met guitarist Mike Gomez on a mission trip in the Dominican Republic. Chad had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for years and decided to go on a mission trip to re-build his relationship with God. It was there in the Dominican Republic where Chad’s eyes were opened and he came to know Christ in a powerful way.

After Mike moved to Chad’s hometown in Maine, the two began playing music together, and performing live shows. Bass player Jon Lowry and drummer Ariel Munoz from Puerto Rico later joined the band and Unspoken was born. Chad credits Christ with his recovery. This is evident in one of my favorite songs they perform called “My Recovery” (Watch the video below). So after about a month of back and forth messaging we were able to work out all the details and the visit was able to happen.

Unspoken arrived at the Maine State Prison around 12:30 PM on Sunday January 25, 2015 to come in and minister to the men and staff with an acoustic set as well as testimonials. They were greeted by Chaplain Kevin Fortier as well as leaders from several ministries to include Kandyce Powell from Maine Hospice Counsel in the front lobby. Once inside of the facility, the men from Unspoken were greeted again by several men from within the community and Chad shared some testimonies from his own life which touched everyone in the room. Unspoken introduced themselves, played several songs such as 'The Good Fight’, 'Bury the Workman' and others. Unspoken was very well received by everyone. Ariel the drummer offered to give his 'kickbox' to the men, Chad also offered to give some CD’s to the facility. Chaplain Fortier received these as blessings and gave them to the men. (Note: He picked these items up at the First Baptist Church in Waldoboro a little later on as they needed the kick box drum for the evening concert, and they did not have the CD’s with them there.)

Unspoken gave more than a concert event, they brought hope into the prison as they shared testimony, time, and gave of themselves just talking and listening to the men at Maine State Prison. They stayed longer than they thought they could, but were blessed by an acoustic song from some of the men at Maine State Prison who used the kick box as well as an acoustic guitar and everyone sang and were joyful. It was a real blessing to just to hear from Unspoken, and see that there is hope and healing that comes from Jesus Christ. Chad shared many testimonies and also went into the Gospel to read and share from the Word.

There was a time of Question and Answer where people could ask questions of the band members. There was also a time after the 'set' where the members of the band just met with as many people as possible, and where the men at Maine State Prison expressed their thanks to Unspoken for coming in.

This was a tremendous blessing to everyone and the men from Unspoken seemed equally blessed also. And to top it off it appears as if they would like to come again in the future. The event was truly a showing that God lives and works in the prisons and jails shining light into darkness. It also showed the humbleness of true Christ followers as Unspoken truly are.

Special thanks goes out to Unspoken for coming to share their time and talent with the men of Maine State Prison, and to Chaplain Kevin Fortier for his huge contribution to this article and awesome support for CR Inside and our team. Thanks also to our friends from Straight Ahead Ministries for their hard work and co-ministering at the Maine State Prison. Last but not least, a huge thank you to our Lord God for this amazing blessing!

Unspoken - My Recovery


Testimony from volunteer Miriam Welling

It is with great pleasure that I write this letter and trust that I will be able to convey the blessing that I receive from the precious ladies that I am privileged to serve each Monday night. The first Monday I went to Lee Arrendale Prison I experienced “culture shock.” Fences higher than I could ever reach with barbed-wire at the top, doors that lock automatically behind you, and locked gates at every entrance/exit drastically stated “check your freedom at the front door.” I was so intimidated by this most unwelcoming greeting and wondered what I was thinking when I pursued this. You know that God always knows for sure what we question and I’m sure He at least grinned at my assumptions. When the lady prisoners joined us a little later that first night, it was clear to me that I was in the receiving line! Other than the Khaki jumpsuits they looked no different than our group of “church ladies.”

I am presently working with the ladies in the Transitional Center. These ladies are within twelve months of being released and trying to prepare themselves for a productive life. It is a very fluid group with an average attendance of 7. Some of these ladies have jobs in the surrounding area and might be scheduled to work on Monday nights during our Celebrate Recovery time. Others just can’t stay committed to the depth of personal inspection it requires. We have a solid group of 5 who attend regularly and are committed to a better life with God as their head. We share with them, hear their beautiful prayers, and see them soak up His word. They inspire us to stretch ourselves to be closer to Him as we help do His kingdom work.

I’ve had the privilege of hearing the testimony of one of our strongest Christian prisoners at one of the area churches. She definitely has received what God has given her and that is our goal for each of these ladies.

Please continue to join us in prayer for this ministry and as you are able please continue to help us with our budget. It is making a huge difference in the lives of these women and in the lives of those of us privileged to serve them!

Sincerely,

Miriam Welling


Cheyenne Mountain Re-Entry Center–Story of Transformation

Alan S. – I would like to start by stating a little bit about my past. I started drinking when I was seven. I grew up in an abusive family. I smoked marijuana and have been addicted to coke and meth. I felt a void in my heart and was always willing to try anything to fill it. I know now that God is the only thing that fits.

I tried AA with no luck. I came across Celebrate Recovery and saw the light. I knew what I needed, a personal relationship with Christ. ”Lead me, tech me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in you. “ Psalms 25:5. I knew the path I must follow.

When I arrived at Cheyenne Mountain Reentry Center, I was shining in His glory. I actually prayed to come here and without a word from anywhere or anyone I ended up here. I was overwhelmed with joy when I saw Celebrate Recovery Inside here. I knew I had to participate with this group. Our facilitator, Mr. Squires, has helped meet and even exceed my expectations. His knowledge of scripture gives him the ability to not only guide us through these steps and principles, but show us how they apply to following the Lord’s path.

I am blessed to have this opportunity to be in Celebrate Recovery Inside led by Mr. Squires. I am better for it.


From Volunteer Christine Sumner:

My message today is “Do not be discouraged” when things go wrong in your life. It won’t go on forever. We have to learn to roll with the punches of life. We have to rely on our Lord to take care of us in the tough times. I am the first to admit that sometimes it is hard to remember this as I go about trying to handle my problems all alone but in the end I always rely on Him.

From the first mention of my taking Celebrate Recovery to the women at the jail, Satan has haunted my footsteps at every turn. I have had to keep reminding myself that this is an assignment from my Lord and Savior “and I will not be denied.”

All sorts of things came barreling into my life. On and on I trudged, keeping the faith all the time and telling myself, “this too, shall pass.” But by the time I overcame one thing, here came another. If I had had less faith I would have given up and never gone into the jail again. But I am convinced this is my purpose in life and I will not let anything deter my efforts, no matter how fast and furious they are thrown at me. My Lord’s work is more important than anything else.

I have learned that the more you try to follow the Lord, the more obstacles are thrown in your path, some by accident, some intentional. It’s all the same. One more challenge to overcome.

I know my Lord watches over me and will not let me be overcome. If not, I would have given up a long time ago but my faith keeps me going and it will keep you going if you just remember that He has promised never to leave us. He is our best friend in times of grieving and troubles. I had them both at the same time and it would have been easy to have raised the white flag but the love of my Lord and the remembered love of my family kept me putting one foot before the other down the path I had set out for myself, the one I was divinely appointed to.


Testimony from Lisa F.

Dear Church,

I am excited to have the opportunity to share with you what Celebrate Recovery Inside means to me.

With the exception of my first 6 months of incarceration, I have spent every available Monday evening at CRI meetings, since May of 2009. I already knew at that time that this sentence was going to save my life because I knew I couldn't survive forever doing drugs, although at that time, I thought I was invincible. I was thankful for having my life saved, but CRI took it much further than that. ? 

I believe God has to sit me down for a minute if I was ever going to know Him. So, I stumbled along, reading the Word, learning to talk to Him. A friend in my dorm asked me to join CRI - we had to sign up for groups to stay in the Faith & Character dorm. Even after I found out I had to talk at group, I stayed. (They can't keep me quiet now!)?

CRI helped change who I was. I learned to forgive, to make amends and to let it go. My nightly habit of the daily inventory will forever be a part of my life. ? 

CRI taught me that I am as worthy as the next person. What God did for you, He also did for me. Every promise God has made, He has made to me. I was already attempting to develop a relationship with God and I believe this relationship is stronger because of CRI. ?

CRI is my time for fellowship. We can't choose a service here so I fellowship with my group because that is where I feel surrounded by love and peace. It feels like a family, and the sponsor provided for us, to me, is the ultimate definition of grace. I look to her, I listen to her and I pray that I can become more like her.?

The volunteers have shown us that prison doesn't define who we are and they have helped me to turn my sentence into a positive experience. Without CRI, I would not be where I am today in recovery or in my relationship with God and all others. I am confident that because of the work I've done in CRI, when I walk out these prison gates, my life will be filled with hope, joy, with God and His grace. ?

I truly thank your church and everyone involved in the Celebrate Recovery Program. Thank you for bringing it inside the prison. I hope and pray that all inmates can experience CRI. It has changed my life and will always be a part of my life.

Bless You - Lisa F.