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!
One-Third of the World's Women in Prison Have One Striking Thing in Common
They're locked up in the United States. All 201,200 of them.
Brave New Films recently aired an educational short that claimed the following: Not only are a significant percentage of women pregnant when imprisoned, more than 70% are also the primary caregivers of at least two minors. This spells disaster for many families, as children of the incarcerated are systematically dumped into the notoriously problematic foster care system, or "other [similarly] unstable situations."
On top of which, children of incarcerated parents are five times more likely than their peers to commit crimes.
It gets worse: In terms of the women themselves, female inmates face both higher rates of sexual abuse, mental illness (73% versus 55% for men) and chronic or communicable medical problems (59% versus 43% for men) than their male counterparts, the Sentencing Project reports.
Read the complete article at mic.com.
Lisa Fowler first attended Celebrate Recovery in prison because she heard it could help her following her release. Years later, Fowler is still in CR as a leader who assists women with their re-entry after being incarcerated or in rehabilitation.
Fowler works for New Beginnings Ministry, a long-term, Christ-centered recovery program in Martin, Ga. Before joining the staff, she was a New Beginnings client seeking help from her struggles. One of Fowler's responsibilities at New Beginnings is teaching the center's CR group. She also serves as a Celebrate Recovery Inside state representative for Georgia. "It's become a part of my ministry," she said.
Fowler was introduced to CR during her two-year stay at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Georgia. She was 48 when she went in. "The ladies from Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville led it," she said. "When I first went in, my intentions were to get an address to parole out to. I had heard if you went there, they help people find addresses." Fowler received more than addresses. She found freedom from her past and a calling to serve God through CR.
From prison, Fowler went to New Beginnings, a residential center which helps women recover from alcohol and drug addiction. New Beginnings can hold up to 70 clients. "When you go through the program, you have 10 months to complete and 12 months to graduate," she said. "It gives you all that time to work on yourself. "When I graduated from there, I went ahead and became staff there," Fowler added. "I started leading Celebrate Recovery. It's a required class. You also have Bible classes and church 13 times a week. If you can't get your life straightened out by then, you're in pretty bad shape."
This is why we do this! Meet Delia and the first woman to leave CR Inside at the new Folsom Prison Women's Facility. She is living proof God can move mountains and works in amazing ways through the ministry of CR Inside and help it become CR Inside Out. Thanks be to God for providing clothes, new shoes, a bed at a recovery home, a donated train ticket, and all the essentials so she can transition to her new life serving God.
State Rep, CR Inside Northern California
For those of you who have never heard of FCI Waseca – we are a Federal Correctional Institution for female offenders located in rural Minnesota.
Our Celebrate Recovery has been active “inside” Waseca since 2010. It all started with one of us seeing a book with the word “Celebrate” on it and asking “what is that all about?” From that moment on, the seed was planted and 3 years later we are strong and getting stronger.
On July 23rd, 2013 we had another graduation ceremony and our second so far this year. For this ceremony we witnessed 60 women completing the step groups. This has been amazing journey for us all! Being a part of the transformation as we work the steps and begin to face the hurts, habits, and hang-ups we’ve been ignoring for so many years is true freedom. To open the celebration we were blessed to have the warden as the main speaker! She encouraged the women “to always remember this day and how far you have come!” Also in attendance we were fortunate to have some of our outside Celebrate Recovery TEAM. Jackie prepared our hearts by leading us in worship with Dale and Craig praying over us all. We then heard from four inmates who shared their story and how a Christ centered recovery is helping lead them from drug addiction, anger, self doubt, lack of forgiveness, broken families, and prior suicide attempts. This was amazing for everyone to experience.
Our Waseca Praise and Dance team took another step out of their comfort zone and sang an a cappella solo with dance. Together they modeled what a transformed life looks like and they received a standing ovation. We closed our ceremony with a presentation of certificates. For many women in the beginning the goal may have been to get the certificate. Now after completing the steps we know that the real celebration is a transformed life. As we received our certificate each one of us was able to stand tall and proud, knowing that our heavenly father loves them and is well pleased. The ceremony closed with more worship songs, fellowship, and cupcakes!
Thank you Celebrate Recovery