By editor-in-chief Shawn Chavis
In the town of Pine Bluff Arkansas there is an amazing Christian program being run by the Freedom of Life Ministries, Inc. for incarcerated women. The program, called the Women of Excellence workshops, aids in spiritual aftercare for prisoners after they have been released from the system and transplanted back into society. Bronze Magazine had the pleasure of speaking with Lanette Frazier, Women of Excellence Worskshop Facilitator (Region #6) and the Director of Communications for Freedom of Life Ministries, to find out more about the program and its effect upon the Pine Bluff community.
BM: I understand that there are two excellent programs being run out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas women- Freedom Life and Women of Excellence Workshops. Can you give us a brief background of both programs and explain to us your involvement?
LF: Freedom for Life Ministries, Inc. was organized by my pastor Rev. Dr. Randolph Martin who is a chaplain in the women’s SE Arkansas Correctional Facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He saw there was a need for spiritual upliftment and sought out a way to help the women in the prison system. Through Freedom for Life Ministries he started a discipleship program within the prison walls to help train the community to be Spiritual Mentors to those residents inside prison and once they got out. He noticed that once prisoners got out they really didn’t have any spiritual aftercare to help keep them on the right track in life. When you are right with God everything else begins to fall in place. That is where I came into the picture. Out of Freedom for Life Ministries was born the “Excellence Workshops.” My pastor asked me if I would be the Women of Excellence Workshop Facilitator and the Director of Communications for Freedom for Life Ministries. After much prayer, I told him I would love to be the facilitator for the workshops and the Director of Communications for Freedom for Life. God placed on my heart a long time ago to do what was in my realm of spiritual gifts to help women in need. The Women of Excellence workshops does exactly that, it teaches women about “How to Overcome Defeat” and about “Love and Emotions” and even about “God’s Principles and Ethics.” We touch on topics that help the mind, body and spirit. As for the Director of Communications for Freedom for Life Ministries, I am in charge of putting together our brochures, reaching the community, setting up different avenues of outreach through facebook, radio, etc to reach out to those who are in need of our services and also to those that want to lend a helping hand in our ministry.
BM: Can you explain how these programs have benefited the Pine Bluff community?
LF: Freedom for Life Ministries has benefited the Pine Bluff community because it has bridged a gap between prisoners and citizens and has reached beyond racial lines in an effort to save souls for Christ. We have trained people from different denominations in church and different ethnic backgrounds to become disciples for Christ. Also to be a Spiritual mentor to those coming out of the prison system. The workshops not only focus on women, but we also have a “Men of Honor” and S.P.E.E.D workshops for children. On the fourth Saturday of each month around our six regions we have workshops for Women, Men and Children that will not only help them spritually, but when they share with others will also help those that they reach out to. Because of these programs we are teaching others in the Pine Bluff community to have a heart of a servant. To reach down and help the people within our community. To think of others instead of just thinking about ourselves. When people know that they have a support system that they can use in their time of need, it lessens their reaction to turn to crime.
BM: What types of feedback is the Women of Excellence Workshops receiving from the incarcerated women who are being aided by the program?
LF: Incarcerated women who are being aided by the Women of Excellence Workshops in their region are finding it helpful to them because it allows them to stay focused on the positive things in life. It gives them that solid foundation, that support they need to stay focused in being an asset to the community in which they live. It also allows them to connect with other women who may have gone through similar situations and are able to show them that if they made it through then they can make it through too.
BM: What types of inspirational messages are taken away from these programs?
LF: The inspirational message that is being taken away from these programs is that through God ALL things are possible and that despite their circumstances right now, that if they give it over to God that he will begin to show them that they ALREADY have the victory. That the victory is there for the taken, all they have to do is reach out and grab it. It’s just like someone giving you a gift for Christmas, you don’t know how good it is and how blessed it can make you feel until you open it.
BM: Can you tell us more about your 1st Annual Freedom Conference?
LF: We are planning our 1st Annual Freedom Conference where people from all across American will come together to recognize the transforming power of the spiritual component in recovery. Also, we will have workshops for everyone on topics like:
- Professional Conduct on the Job
- Restoring Voting Rights
- Restoing Your Credit
- Debt to Income Ration and How it Effects You
- How to Get Housing
Conference date is Sept. 24, 2011
The contact person for Freedom Ministries, Inc. is Rev. Dr. Randolph W. Martin, Sr. at 870-267-4511 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mailing Address: PO Box 7263 Pine Bluff, AR 71611