Hope in Prison

Pastor Jerry Blom 
Greetings once again to you my brothers and sisters at Bozeman Christian Reformed Church.  It seems that the time has flown by this past month and it is already time for another monthly missive from me. 
This month I would like to inform you, as I do from time to time, about one of the ministries of which each of you has a part. The ministry of which I write is ‘Celebrate Recovery.’ In this ministry, which meets every Thursday evening, men and women from every walk of life come together to talk about their addictions? These addictions are many and they are a leveling influence in our lives. No matter what socio-economic status we may have obtained makes no difference because we are all the same on the level of our life struggle and we realize we all need the same savior to lift us out of our struggles. 
The beautiful thing is that as we work through the 12 steps to freedom from addiction, the Lord Jesus does deliver us. What a joy it is to hear the testimonies of those who have been set free. This is why we can ‘Celebrate’ recovery.
Congregation, we thank you for your prayers and support of this program. It means so much to us that you have taken the initiative to establish the program and to offer your church facilities for our meetings. However, we need to tell you that this celebration of recovery not only takes place in the basement of your church it is also taking place in the Gallatin Valley Detention Center.
‘Celebrate Recovery Inside’ has been going on for a little over a year now and you might be interested in knowing a few details about this part of your ministry. ‘Celebrate Recover Inside’ enjoys the distinction of being the most highly attended program in the jail. Of all the various ‘religious’ programs offered more people, men and women, participate in CRI than any other. We give God thanks for an administration that looks beyond incarceration as a solution to problems to the more realistic view that incarceration results from deeper problems in the human spirit.
In the lifetime of the CRI program you might also be encouraged to know that the funds you have provided for us has been used to distribute over 200 Bibles and over 400 sets of the CRI study guides to those who have participated in the program. As I noted before, CRI is for both men and women and our leaders (Denny and Shirley) have been used greatly in serving a conservative estimate of over 1300 inmates as attendance in the program has averaged around 25 participants per week. God is great and so good!
These inmates are looking for ‘Hope in Prison.’  CRI offers this hope.  Jesus makes this hope real. 
I am reminded that many of the letters of the New Testament were written by the Apostle Paul who spent a lot of time in prison and he had a lot of time to do some writing. It is interesting then how the inmates who participate in CRI have a lot of time on their hands to do serious reading of the material written by one who has been where they are. This alone gives hope for their lives but it is no hope at all without the truth of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for our freedom from the prison of sin.  It is our prayer that each of you may not only know this hope, but that you also take the time to read and study God’s word and then to joyfully ‘Celebrate Recovery’ with us.  To God be the glory!