CR Inside Newsletter

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Oklahoma Celebrate Recovery Inside One Day, May 12, 2012

By Gloria Nunn - Oklahoma Sr. State Rep. Women

I started planning this event in October of 2011 and started asking churches to host the event. I mentioned it to Peg Choate, Ministry Leader at Fresh Start Community Church (and newest CR Inside State Rep, Ed.), and their staff graciously approved the event. Peg and I started praying every Tuesday evening before CR about the team we would need for this event and for the ones we needed for testimonies and just for God’s guidance in every detail.

By December we had a team of six CR members and assigned tasks such as purchase of food, preparation of food, setup/cleanup, music, and registration. We met regularly each month to pray together. The testimonies were solicited from all State Reps and after reviewing each testimony we selected five all of which were either recently released inmates or currently incarcerated.

Lori Smith, currently incarcerated at Kate Bernard Correctional Center, gave her testimony first and I quote, “My journey has been and still is incredible. This is the place where I am learning to be comfortable in my own skin, finding out why life matters to me and I matter to life. This journey I speak of is the power of Celebrate Recovery; the power given me through Jesus Christ. I have been actively involved in CR since Sept of 2006. I have developed skills and tools to maintain a life where hope is abundant, there is a vision in place, and knowing there is a purpose in this path I am to follow. I trust my recovery because Jesus is at the center.”

Brad Yarberry, recently released from prison, also shared his testimony stating that Celebrate Recovery has been life saving and life changing.

Tammy Chaffin, a member of First Baptist of Moore and an ex-inmate who currently serves as Ministry Leader at Hillside Community Center knows firsthand what Celebrate Recovery can do to change lives. She wants inmates to know they have a church support group, CR, waiting for them when they are released so they don’t have to return to where they came from. She said in her testimony that her desire is to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society.

Testimonies were also heard from Stephen Sternberg and Phillip Hovis. Stephen and Phillip are both actively in prison and jail ministry.

As the event date approached and so few had registered, we were really leaning on God and trusting He would send the ones He wanted to attend. We did, however, send emails to all the CR’s in Oklahoma and surrounding areas and kept the event on Face book. A flyer was made and handed out at many of the CR meetings.

Our amazing team of volunteers met to set up on Friday evening so after prayer and pizza we got busy and were completed in record time. We even got to hear the awesome Chuck Whetstone band rehearse.

Saturday May 12, 2012, our team was at the church and ready to pray for every detail of the event. God was so faithful and we were all so excited to see people start arriving. We had our special guests arrive about 8:00; 15 young ladies from Hillside Correctional Center and Kate Bernard Correctional Center.

Our MC, Jeff Aynes, started the program right on time. As I looked out over the crowd and saw them worshiping and thought about where we had all once been, my heart filled with thankfulness for what God has done and for being able to be a part of Celebrate Recovery. At that moment I realized why CRI One Days are so important, we need the training, we need to hear the testimonies, we need the fellowship and we need to share the love of Jesus with each other.

God truly blessed our efforts—over 110 attendees from 17 cities in Oklahoma and 3 in Arkansas, representing 29 different churches. God is so faithful.