CR Inside Newsletter

The blog for CR Inside. Much talk about all things CR Inside...

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.


Home Run Producers talk about faith, film, and finding freedom with CRI Newsletter

Editor’s note: Shortly before the national release of the movie Home Run, I got to sit with Associate Producer Micah Barnard and Co-Executive Producer Carol Mathews (Co-executive Producer Tom Newman was in England filming “The Christmas Candle”). Their faith in God and faith in what they do is evident in this interview, and evident as well in their vision for the film and for the message that Home Run seeks to bring to this world. DJ

CRIN: Let’s start with your experience of taking the film to Angola (Prison in Louisiana) and what that was like for you.

Micah: It was a surreal experience and very humbling. I had an impression in my mind of what it was going to be like, and it was completely not that impression at all. The inmates were very receptive to the film open, very appreciative that we brought it to them. Many admitted to fighting back tears and it was just a really, really great experience. I got to interview a few of the inmates and hear their thoughts on the film and overwhelmingly everyone was saying that they were just really impressed, not only by the quality of the acting but everything from the cinematography to the way it was directed. I didn’t expect to hear inmates talk that way, and so it was really interesting. They have seen a lot of films, these guys, and so they were really impressed with the film and very appreciative of it.

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Kentucky Inmates Celebrate Milestone in Celebrate Recovery Program

by Kelly Paul, Advance Yeoman (re-printed with permission)

Wickliffe-A group of six men currently incarcerated at the Ballard County Detention Center dedicated to turning their lives around celebrated a milestone in their recovery from alcohol and/or drug abuse and other issues that have taken a stronghold on their lives. On Monday, Pastor Jamie Lee of Grace United Methodist Church in La Center celebrated with the men as they acknowledged their having completed six months of hard work in a program called Celebrate Recovery.

Grace United Methodist Church has offered Celebrate Recovery on Thursday evenings since January 2012. The program has been growing strong and has been helping people not just with substance abuse, but with other issues as well. These issues include but are not limited to divorce, abuse, low self-esteem, and depression. Jailer Mike Horn approached Lee one day about bringing the program to the inmates. Since then, Lee has been meeting weekly with the men at the Ballard County Detention Center for over six months.

The small group of men all showed great appreciation for Lee for having had taken the time to come out to the detention center to show them “the loving power of Jesus Christ through a recovery process.” They all shared their gratitude for Lee, Jailer Mike Horn, and the Celebrate Recovery Program. They also expressed a deep desire to continue with Celebrate Recovery as they work toward getting their lives back on track after having been incarcerated for one reason or another.

“Mike and Jamie stayed faithful and gave us opportunity. Most jails don’t care about your spirituality,“ said Mannie Mathews-Honarmand. “They could be doing something else… Christ is moving in this jail.”

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Prison Ministry… Why Bother?

From the Editor

Why indeed? For those of us who’ve participated in this ministry, we know the challenges of seeing folks struggle to make it in Step Study, struggle to complete their time, and struggle upon release. We’ve been discouraged by our brothers and sisters who volunteer with us who don’t stay committed. For many who don’t participate, it’s difficult to understand. Ninety years ago (March 1923) British mountain climber George Mallory was asked why he wanted to attempt to climb Mt Everest after failing to reach the summit twice before. “Because it’s there” was his reply, and that famous quote has gone on to represent many endeavors. On his fateful third attempt, as observers saw him get to within 1000 feet of the summit, he fell to his death; but we can also see, that he died trying. He never gave up.

In Philippians 4:14 Paul says, “I press on toward the goal…” and in verse 15 encourages us to do the same. And so, we continue to do what we do, “Because it’s there”; and for many, we feel blessed to serve, grateful for where God has brought us from, and hopeful for those whom we serve. How many times have you left the prison yard, or the jail, wondering who got more blessed? Yeah, I know that feeling. We don’t always get to see the fruits of our labor, but what a blessing when we do. Right now, I’m co-leading a step study at our church with a man who was a leader of two step studies inside.

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