“I am so grateful I went to jail. I am thankful to God for sending me to jail. And I am thankful to my mother for being tough,” said Amie Smith, former convicted felon and drug addict. After being placed in prison, Amie’s life slowed down. She had nothing to do; certainly the thrills she was afforded outside of prison were no longer available to her. “The only focus in my life was to get high,” explained Amie.
While sitting quietly in her jail cell Amie began to read the Bible. Amie soon after became involved in a 12-step group wherein she accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. 60 plus women found a new life in Christ as a result of the 12 step group led by a woman that, like her students, had come from a life of addiction. In fact, Tina Manhood was delivered from, not only addiction but, prostitution as well.
This is truly a remarkable story of recovery. Presently, Amie and Tina are working together to lead “Transformation Ministries of Osceola,” a ministry of First Baptist of Kissimmee Florida. Below is an excerpt of an article from the Florida Baptist witness with the details about the stories of these amazing women, authored by Barbara Denman:
Today, Smith, 38, and Mahood, 49, are joining forces to give hope to other women imprisoned by their own addictions and failures. The two women, both members of First Baptist Kissimmee, are laying the foundation for a 12-month residential program “Transformational Ministries of Osceola County,” under the auspices of the church’s Christian ministry center.
“Our mission is to provide a loving and Christian environment where women can receive God’s gift of salvation and be transformed by the renewing of the minds through the gospel,” said Smith, who will direct the program.
The ministry is greatly needed, said Mahood, who has gone back to college to receive her GED and become a certified addiction counselor. Currently when women are released from jail and prison, they have no place to go, she explained, even if they have accepted Christ. They have no jobs, no job skills and no place to live. They are forced to return to the only life they know, which can have deadly consequences..
Mahood tells the heartbreaking story of Pam, a young woman she led to Christ while in jail. “Once she was released, she had no place to go. While back on the streets, trying to make it on her own, she was later found dead, decapitated.” Others of the new believers have had their own struggles.
“They want to change,” Mahood said. “They are searching for hope, the hope we have inside us. But the fear of stepping out of the only life they know cripples them.”
Smith now looks back at her arrest through the eyes of faith. “I am so grateful I went to jail. I am thankful to God for sending me to jail. And I am thankful to my mother for being tough.”
Pastors, Chaplains and other church professionals are invited to attend “The Stewardship of Consciousness: Christian Desert Spirituality, Cognitive Therapy and the 12-Step Path,” a free Brookhaven Minister’s luncheon. The seminar will focus on aspects of 12-step recovery and will be presented by Clyde Glandon, DMin, LPC, on October 25th 2007 from 1145am to 1pm.