Making an Impact in McDowell County
By Jim Smith
Most of you reading this live in freedom, but most everyone reading this has been impacted by a friend or family member being imprisoned. It is also very easy to forget the more than two million men and women imprisoned in the US. Understandably “out of sight, out of mind”. Many times, we are left wondering how we can help. We question how we can change and shape someone’s future but we don’t have the tools, training, or patience to help make a permanent change. That’s why McDowell has FREEDOM LIFE. You can join us in several ways. First, you can begin to pray daily for the staff, the clients, and the community relations we are building. Second, you could volunteer and spend some time with us thru the week accomplishing different tasks. Third, you could become a monthly donor, helping us make sure we have the financial capacity to meet the weekly needs of our client care.
Incarcerated individuals have spiritual needs like any individual. At Freedom Life, staff and trained volunteers are contracted through our local jail and prison facility to provide spiritual care to the incarcerated. We are blessed with strong relationships and a low rate of recidivism. You make ask, what is “recidivism”? It is simply the tendency of convicted individuals to re-offend. Freedom Life has a high and respected success rate in this area.
Would you prayerfully consider joining Freedom Life through prayer, volunteering, and becoming a cheerful donor? You can reach our Volunteer Coordinator – Eric Davis at 828-559-2224. You can sign up to give by going to www.freedonlifeministires.org and clicking on the donation button. Prayerfully consider being a monthly donor. Invite Heart Cry to your church to bring a truly worshipful and dynamics testimony service to your church! Call development director, Jim Smith at 828-413-9901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Facts about Freedom Life’s Jail Ministry
- Our local jail and prison leadership recognized the importance of faith recovery with individuals. When religion is recognized it affords those incarcerated of that faith certain rights. This recognition is crucial because, without it, our staff may not be allowed to enter a facility to give life-changing Christ-based counseling.
- There are 2.3 million incarcerated men and women in the United States (698 per 100,000 residents per capita), more than any other nation in the world. Many times when we have a family member or close friends that have been incarcerated, we tend to hide it and not talk about it with friends and even our church family. We feel regret, shame, and embarrassment. Freedom Life ministers to the incarcerated which overflows to the families of those in jail. Heart Cry, the music outreach of Freedom Life, brings a worshipful music and testimony service along with awareness to churches.
- This past year, because of the pandemic, Freedom Life staff and volunteers have been prohibited from entering prison and jail several times. According to the Marshall Project, “By April 2021, at least 395,915 people in prison had tested positive for the illness, an increase of less than 1 percent from the week before.” For nearly a year, almost all prisons were in lockdown to prevent outbreaks. This meant that prisoners were stuck in their cells and could not receive spiritual care.
- Jail Bag Gifts. Several times a year Freedom Life, with major help from our donors, assemble jail gift bags. These bags are approved items from the jail administration and contain items like Little Debbies, peanuts, Jolly Ranchers, deodorant, crackers, Ramen noodles, and a life application study book along with the plan of salvation. A previous client stated, “It’s amazing how God used a candy bar and a bag of soup to get my attention that I was loved and not forgotten.”
- Most incarcerated men are young and have the majority of their lives ahead of them. In a recent state-wide poll, 47% of sentenced prisoners are aged 25-39. Studies have found that it is those prisoners who make the utmost of their time in incarceration who are most prone to succeed back in society. Their time in incarceration can include taking courses, attending accountability meetings, working towards a degree, and being involved with faith groups. Christian counseling and recovery methods bring exposure to a value system compatible with success in reintegration.
Recent Car Giveaway Story
Chad Yates has a classic beginning with Freedom Life. Many times, our first encounter with potential clients begins with the application process. When men and women are incarcerated, they receive information about Freedom Life, and an application if they would like to begin services with us.
Chad filled out an application and his life has seen a steady and positive change over the last year. Chad led a life of recklessness due to drug addiction. Through these choices, he ended up being incarcerated. In his journey with Freedom Life, he has begun employment with Freedom Pressure Washing and working toward a stable and transitional job. He also is a resident of Freedom 3, a men’s transition house. David has been with Freedom Life for over a year while in jail and over 4 months since his release.
The client care staff felt it was time for Chad to continue to move forward with the responsibility he has demonstrated. He was awarded a car through our program. We are so proud of the hard work and dedication Chad has shown. If you have a used car you no longer need, that doesn’t require a major overhaul, please reach out to us to make your donation!
Jim Smith is an area Worship Arts Director, He is the Development Director at Freedom Life Ministries, and runs a production company – wjscreativegroup.com
You can read more good Christian News Here.