This past year, Jefferson Gathu, regional director of Crossroads Africa, and Brian Kamstra, Crossroads’ director of international ministries, spent a significant amount of time together, preparing for the Crossroads Leadership Conference in Africa and equipping each other for the next phases of Crossroads’ regionalization plan.
“Working and learning together has reinforced the need for quality training materials to equip our national leaders,” Brian said. “Together, we have made significant progress in developing a global operations framework that allows for local contextualization of the Crossroads program in each country. Our desire is to lead while balancing grace, dignity, and respect in a God-honoring way that keeps the ministry moving forward.”
In one of their semiweekly meetings, Jefferson shared the successes and challenges he has faced in his first year as a regional leader. He explained, “When we started [the regionalization process], we hadn’t been in the lockdown. So, that has been a challenge. Yet, we realized that this is a great time to bring things together and establish a better footprint for Crossroads.”
Jefferson’s top priority as regional director is to equip and empower the national leaders in his region. Jefferson helps ministry leaders understand and deploy the Crossroads program while developing a sustainable extension center.
“When we give leaders time to talk about how things are going, it helps us learn how to improve things,” Jefferson explained. “We want to know how we can make their work better. . . . As we have talked with our leaders, we’ve realized that we should be improving infrastructure, such as internet, that will help us lead people more conveniently . . . to integrate data and pass along information.”
Over the years, leaders from many other countries throughout Africa have expressed interest in establishing new extension centers. “We have emails every day,” Jefferson said. “People have always wanted to be associated with [Crossroads] because we are unique and because of how we are doing ministry, but we believe it is important to establish ourselves well and define who we are before expanding to these other nations. . . . Our mission is big, but I believe we must start small. . . . God willing, we can go to the fifty countries in Africa.”
Currently, Jefferson is working to identify two to four countries where they will pursue launching extension centers within the next year. As they evaluate the applications, Jefferson and Brian will be looking for strong Christian leaders with established histories of prison ministry using a feasibility study document that will be included in the application process.
As Jefferson has moved from his role as director of Crossroads Kenya to regional director, he remains grateful for his team in Kenya and honored to be part of bringing the Gospel to men and women in prison around the world. “You can’t do this without people behind you and supporting you,” he said.
“I never imagined that I’d be able to look at Africa’s map and see where we are headed,” he continued. “When we started this work over ten years ago, we didn’t know what these last couple of years would look like, but God did. . . . I humbly take on this role because I know we are laying the ground for Africa and Crossroads’ future extension centers. I’m proud of the work that we are doing.”