Anne poses next to the car and recreational vehicle she and Bob towed throughout Australia more than twenty years ago as they visited prisons and churches to recruit students and mentors.


An international expansion of Crossroads wasn’t on Tom de Vries’s mind in the early years of the ministry, yet it was clearly in God’s plan when enrollment requests started reaching the Grand Rapids office from Canada in the late 1990s.

Incarcerated people in Canada heard about Crossroads through the Back to God Hour radio show and asked to sign up. Within a short time, two dedicated volunteers in Canada established a Canadian hub to handle lesson distribution and mentor management.

Anne & Bob Bruinsma

Bob and Anne Bruinsma are shown in a picture from the early 2000s when they worked to launch Crossroads Australia.

Four years later, Australian missionaries Anne and Bob Bruinsma stumbled across an ad for Crossroads in a periodical, The Banner, during a visit to Canada, and they felt compelled to bring the ministry to Australia. Soon after, they shared lessons with people behind bars in Australia but hit a major roadblock because they had no mentors to review the lessons. Shipping the lessons to the United States for review would take far too long.

To solve the problem, the Bruinsmas recruited their first mentors in 2003. Next, they drove across Australia, promoting Crossroads at more than fifty prisons. They met chaplains, visited churches, hosted seminars, and fostered a robust network of people committed to caring for men and women behind bars.

Since its foundation, Crossroads Australia has been committed to expanding its reach across the South Pacific and sharing the Gospel with people behind bars in their region. In the last twenty-two years, they have established and facilitated the ministry in the Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, and Papua New Guinea. They were also instrumental in the launch of Crossroads New Zealand, helping it become a self-sustaining ministry in 2006.

“From a handful of lessons in 2002 to 3,500-plus lessons last year [2023],  . . . what began as a mentor team of five has grown into a team of five hundred serving more than one hundred prisons across Australia and the South Pacific,” said Jack Simpson, the office manager of Crossroads Australia.

Bob Bruinsma passed away in 2008. Anne, who retired recently, continues to mentor students, embodying the unwavering commitment of Crossroads Australia to its mission.


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