This past fall, John was one of nearly 400,000 people who have caught the coronavirus in prison, and he found his faith tested.
At age seventy, catching COVID-19 in prison was frightening, but John shared with us how he felt God’s presence with Him, comforting and healing him.
“I was flat on my back in pain, weak and another inmate had to help me up to go to the bathroom,” he said. “I realized that I wasn’t alone then either, because it was Jesus who brought those three other inmates to help me get well. Every time I woke up, I would say Jesus’ name and even felt his healing hands on me.”
After fourteen days of battling the virus, John is grateful for his health and God’s provision. “Jesus never left my side,” he said.
It was in prison that John encountered Jesus, and it’s his faith that is sustaining him through an incredibly difficult time.
After spending much of his adult life incarcerated, John found himself released from his second prison term when he was in his late fifties. Having accepted Christ fifteen years prior to his release, he said, “I thought my heart was right because I knew Jesus Christ and had a hunger for God’s Word. I joined a Church of believers of Jesus Christ on the outside and things were going great until I put my eyes on other things and stopped seeking the advice God gives us in His word.”
When he was in his sixties, John found himself back behind bars on a parole violation, embarrassed and disappointed in himself. In his new unit, he was invited to a church service held in the gym after dinner. “I felt dirty and wanted to talk to Jesus for forgiveness,” he wrote. “I felt so clean and wonderful when I left the service that afternoon. I started attending church services and doing Bible studies.”
In 2018, John signed up to study with Crossroads and he is now almost done with his third course, Survey of the Bible.
When asked what Crossroads has meant to him, he told us: “Crossroads has put my life back on the right road which led me back to God . . . I am being guided by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit has guided others to me to show me that He cares and loves me . . . In the prison environment, it is often hard to choose to turn from evil and to do good things that are pleasing to our Lord. Sometimes it is not easy to praise and worship God since we are surrounded with so much negativity. But when I do choose to praise and worship God anyway, He covers all that doesn’t come from Him and brings peace and joy, the fruits of the Spirit, into my life. Crossroads Bible studies help me reflect on my faith and break it all down for me to know who I have my trust in.”
When faced with the illness and isolation many of us, including our brothers and sisters behind bars, have experienced this year, we acknowledge the importance of faith and connection with God and others. Crossroads mentors help people in prison, like John, experience the peace and joy that only comes from Christ in this uncertain and lonely season.
Would you be willing to partner with us to help others, like John, experience the peace and joy that only comes through Christ as they face an uncertain future? Consider donating or becoming a mentor.