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Women start Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministry in Millington, hopes to build a City of Refuge to assist local women

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Experience can be one of the best teachers.
And in ministry experiences shared can help improve someone’s situation or even save their life. For area residents Lainie Hale and Lisa Tennyson Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministries will provide them an avenue to reach back and help local women who have been  incarcerated.
Located at 6646 Highway 51 near Plantation Oaks, Jordan’s will start off as a thrift store and hopefully blossom into a full service outlet for those in need. The vision for Jordan’s Lighthouse started with Hale in January 2012.
Hale knew the perfect Jordan's Ministry 2 Jordan's Ministry 3 Jordan's Ministry 5person who would help her get things rolling with the ministries with her best friend Tennyson.

Blues recording artist Barbara Blue checks out some of the merchadise at the Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministry Thrift Store last week as owner Lainie Hale informs her on prices. Blue has played a regular gig at Silky O’Sullivan’s on Beale Street for the past decade, and has become a Memphis must-see during that time. She’s released four albums, the last three with the Phantom Blues Band in support, and even picked up a 2007 Blues Music Awards nomination as Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year. In addition, the UK’s Shout Records recently released an import compilation culling highlights from her four albums. For more information on Barabara Blue, visit www.barbarablue.com

Blues recording artist Barbara Blue checks out some of the items at the Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministry Thrift Store last week as owner Lainie Hale informs her on prices. Blue has played a regular gig at Silky O’Sullivan’s on Beale Street for the past decade, and has become a Memphis must-see during that time. She’s released four albums, the last three with the Phantom Blues Band in support, and even picked up a 2007 Blues Music Awards nomination as Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year. In addition, the UK’s Shout Records recently released an import compilation culling highlights from her four albums. For more information on Barabara Blue, visit www.barbarablue.com

Lisa Tennyson and Lainie Hale formed a friendship 30 years ago through tragic circumstances. Now with help from friends and family, the duo opened Jordan's Lighthouse Ministry Oct. 12.

Lisa Tennyson and Lainie Hale formed a friendship 30 years ago through tragic circumstances. Now with help from friends and family, the duo opened Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministry Oct. 12.ct person who would help her get things rolling with the ministries with her best friend Tennyson.

Tennyson, a native Memphis now residing in Millington, met Hale several years ago in the line of duty.
“More than 30 years ago I was a police officer working in Frayser,” she recalled. “I had met and seen Lainie Hale in a restaurant in Frayser. I just knew her and would speak to her.
“One day my partner said we have somewhere to go and told me to get in the car,” Tennyson added. “We went to an address in West Frayser. We pulled up to this house and went up to knock on the door. At that time we were met with a domestic violence situation. And Lainie was bloody, bleeding and beaten up. We took her husband to jail that day.’
Hale said that was the day her life was saved and a lifelong friendship was formed.
“That wasn’t the first time she had to come to my house,” she noted. “She had been to my house several times. I guess she really didn’t realize it was me. At that moment it really hadn’t connected. We just became friends after that.
“My husband that day, when you’re in a domestic violence situation, you have to get to the point that you know you’re going to die,” Hale continued. “Because that person is more likely going to kill you.”
Hale reflected the domestic violence laws 30 years ago when her situation was going on. “The police department couldn’t do one thing for you if it was a domestic violence situation,” she said. “They had to get a warrant. They could come to your house I don’t care if you were covered in blood from head to toe, if it was a domestic situation, they had to turn around and walk away.”
Hale said as the abuse continued she reached a breaking point.
“It was getting to the point I though I was going to have to kill him,” she acknowledged. “I’m not a person to even think I would want to kill anybody. But it was between him and I. What else was I going to do? He was going to kill me. And I had two kids to worry about. So she literally saved both our lives that day and our children’s lives.”
Tennyson was there to listen to Hale and help her family in a time of need. Then a friendship formed.
“We’ve done everything together,” Tennyson said. “We’ve went on trips together, ate together, camp together, we’ve basically done everything. But the one thing that was missing in all our lives was God. We didn’t honor God or anything we just lived. We weren’t bad people, just living.”
And as Tennyson’s faith grew and her trust in Hale became stronger, she shared a pain with her best friend she kept hidden inside for years.
“She’s the one I can turn to for anything,” she said. “She’s the one that knows everything about me.
“I was one of those cops who never cried or anything,” Tennyson added. “So I have to tell you about myself. From the ages of 7 to 17, I was sexually abused by my step-father. I told no one. I did nothing about it except live with it. I think that was God preparing me for what I’m doing right now in the prison ministry.”
Tennyson has added to her testimony to help others with overseas mission trips. With her life’s experiences, Tennyson approached Hale about the subject of prison ministry.
Both women understood there is a need to help women who have endured domestic violence and sexual abuse. The mission of Jordan’s Lighthouse is to glorify God through loving others as Jesus does, sharing the gospel and helping to eliminate recidivism through providing services that promote moral rehabilitation.
“The girls have to understand why they did what they did to never do it anymore,” Tennyson said. “‘Yeah, I did drugs and whatever.’ But let’s back up to see what happen to you when you were little. You were abused, then you started abusing drugs. You can’t blame it on this the rest of your life but you have to look back to identify the problem.”
Tennyson said Jordan’s Lighthouse will teach about money management, parenting skills, computer programs and expand their location near Plantation Oaks.
“We’re hoping with the thrift store we can provide job opportunities,” Hale said. “Because one of the biggest thing they encounter when they get out is finding a job. Nobody wants to hire them because they are a felon.
“The overall vision is to own the hotel so we can have a place to house them and give them a job,” she added. “We want to have a City of Refuge to where we can provide jobs.”
Hale said with Tennyson by her side and with the support of the community Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministries can expand saving lives. The women said Jordan’s Lighthouse needs prayers, volunteers, monetary donations, item donations and support of local churches.
“There is not another thing like this in Memphis, Tenn., that offers the help  to women like men get when they’re coming out of incarceration,” she concluded. “You also have other women, like who are coming out of sex trafficking who need a place to stay. Our goal is to give them a place to call home.”
For more information or to donation, call 828-2189 or 872-0724.

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