With kangaroos, Vegemite, gum trees and the Outback, Australia sometimes seems a world away to those of us in the United States. But when we read the following letter from a CBI Australia Instructor, it didn’t sound unfamiliar at all. It could have come from any one of our Instructors, whether Australian, American, Malaysian, Guatemalan or any other number of nationalities represented at Crossroad. That’s because CBI Instructors, no matter where they live, care deeply about their students. They know that many of their students have had traumatic childhoods or come from broken families. And they are passionate about proclaiming Christ’s healing, saving love to these students and allowing Him to bind up the brokenhearted.
The Instructor’s letter read:
I am quoting from a letter I received from a fellow in a Queensland prison.
‘I grew up in a bikie [outlaw motorcycle gang] clubhouse surrounded by drugs and violence, the presence of death always near. At the age of eleven I became homeless and survived on the streets until I was thirteen, when my parents finally separated and I went back to live with my mother. Then one day my father returned, and he and my mother engaged in a heated argument which ended when my father stood in front of me, put the barrel of a shotgun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.’
Jack is almost fifty now and has been incarcerated for most of his life and has not spoken of his release. In the three years we have been corresponding he has revealed to me a lot about his former life, the only life he ever knew. Doing crime, dodging the cops, selling drugs, then face to face with the law holding the gun, in and out of prison where the environment is controlled by the strong, where the brutal mete out their own rough justice to the lesser and weak who get in their way.
Jack is a Christian now. One day he met a chaplain. That day Jack was on the lowest rung of the social ladder. There was no further down for him to go. The world as Jack knew it gave nothing but pain.
It was the chaplain who gave Jack a lifeline. For the first time in his miserable life, Jack heard about God and he was given a CBI brochure to read. Jack opened it and there were words on the brochure he had never heard before.
‘Thank you very much for your lessons and encouraging letters with each one.’
‘I feel the love of Jesus through all of them. I am now a new man and have a new future.’
Jack wanted to know more about that ‘thank you,’ more about these lessons that made the recipient of those lessons so thankful. He had never received a letter. What was all this about love, and who was this Jesus? He desperately wanted to learn more about that future.
Yes, desperately. Jack is not alone. There are more than a thousand students of CBI Australia who have been saved in one way or another in prison by God’s grace, doing the lessons from Crossroad Bible Institute.”
There are a thousand students being discipled through CBI Australia and thirty thousand being discipled by CBI worldwide, all desperately wanting to learn more about the new creation they can be in Christ. If you are interested in discipling people in prison, you can find more information here.