When you write a letter to a man or woman in prison, it is more than just words written on a piece of paper. Those words have the power to breathe life and hope into their hearts. Crossroads Prison Ministries has a team of more than 5,000 volunteers across the world who write letters of encouragement to men and women in prison. Our students tell us that the letters are the most impactful part of Crossroads’ ministry.

Here are five ways that letters to men and women in prison make a lasting difference in their lives and yours:

1. Lifting loneliness: Many men and women in prison frequently struggle with feeling alone, especially those in solitary confinement or those who don’t have regular visitors. We often hear from students who say letters lift their spirits when they are feeling lonely. Many students keep their letters for years and return to them as a source of hope and comfort.

2. Giving guidance: Many Crossroads students have very limited understanding of the Bible and have a lot of tough questions. Your letters help guide students to finding answers.

3. Extending encouragement: Simple words of affirmation and encouragement go a long way in a place that is full of discouragement. One student recently wrote us and said the letters she receives give her “hope in a hopeless place.”

4. Powerful prayers: Students love to know that someone on the outside is thinking about and praying for them. Many Crossroads volunteers will write prayers for their students in their letters, and those prayers are powerful.

“Incarceration is tough. Loving people, willing to pray and speak life into us is so important,” a student told us.

5. Sharing hope: Sharing your testimonies and stories is a powerful way to connect with men and women in prison. Testimonies gives them hope that God will be faithful to them just as God has been faithful to you.

There is one more way that writing to men and women behind bars helps. It helps the one who writes the letter. It helps you. Our volunteers say they grow as much as the men and women they write to behind bar. As a Crossroads letter writer, you will feel the blessing of giving your time and support to new believers.

Interested in writing to men and women in prison? Find out how you can get involved.