Freedom Rain Ministries was formed by Brenda Lovelady Spahn in 1997. However, Brenda did not heed her individual call from God until 2004. God had been calling Brenda into Ministry since her childhood, but she was very reluctant. After a brush with the legal system, He had her attention. Brenda began her ministry by entering the Birmingham Work Release Center and Tutweiler Women's Prison (The only women's prison in Alabama at the time) to bring hope through the message of the Gospel.
Part of Brenda's ministry was to pray with the women who were being released, only to see them return within months of their release. Seeing this "revolving door" of the prison system made it clear that there was no real rehabilitation for the women in Alabama. This was a consequence that Brenda couldn't just accept. Being the crusader that she is, Brenda decided it was time for a change.
Brenda had heard some of the women talk about going through a halfway house, and how little they helped them. This was the inspiration for Brenda's concept of a "whole way house." Brenda decided that she wanted to open the doors of her own home to female inmates and give them an opportunity for redemption. After knocking on the door of the Department of Corrections numerous times they finally approved Brenda's request. The Lovelady "Whole Way House" began with seven women and was birthed into ‘The Lovelady Center' and has grown to serve over 500 women and children. Brenda has chronicled the intriguing story of Lovelady's beginnings in her book, Miss Brenda and the Loveladies. (Soon to be a major motion picture)
With her daughter Melinda at her side, Brenda has watched The Lovelady Center grow into one of the largest transitional programs in the country. The Lovelady Center receives no state or federal funding because it is a faith-based, Christ centered program. However, Brenda and Melinda have never forced any Lovelady to share their beliefs. All of the classes are built around spiritual teachings, even the financial classes. Therefore, foundations and individual donors are our only source of contributions.