Student’s Transformation Inspires Shift in Prison Culture
When John set foot in prison, he had no hope that he would ever go home.
His 119-year sentence left him shattered, and the weight of his circumstances drove him to contemplate ending his life.
“I came into the prison system at sixty-eight years old with practically nothing and, worst of all, my family torn apart. I was married for thirty-five years, had three sons, a daughter, and five grandchildren at that time,” he shared with us.
In his darkest moments, John found hope through Crossroads. By engaging in his courses and connecting with Christian mentors, he rediscovered his faith and built a relationship with Jesus Christ. The teachings and support he received became a lifeline, reminding him of God’s love, shifting his perspective, and giving him purpose.
“Jesus is the reason that I finally overcame these suicidal thoughts I had,” he stated.
As John delved deeper into his faith through Crossroads’ materials and shared them with others, he witnessed remarkable changes unfolding within and around him.
Given the opportunity to share the Gospel at a yard ministry event, John found encouragement as others accepted Christ and even began their own ministries within his facility.
“Faith-based classes are opening up. Prisoners in this institution [now] have access to a Bible college. I could go on and on about how Jesus Christ has impacted this institution in a positive way, but I don’t have enough computer time or paper,” he shared.
John conveyed deep gratitude to Crossroads for the impact it has had on his life.
“The notes and letters I get from Crossroads mentors are as if they fell from heaven. I so very much look forward to mail call. I turn to the front when my name is called in anticipation of a letter or lesson book from Crossroads as if it were dropping from the hands of Jesus directly to me,” he said. “You literally turned me from a state of depression to a state of hope and future (Jer. 29:11).”
Despite the uncertainty of his future, John remains steadfast in his trust and belief in God’s restorative power. Though he entered prison without the hope of going home, he has since seen his 119-year sentence reduced to twenty years. He fervently prays for the restoration of his family and for his fellow believers to continue shining a light for Christ within their facility.
As a graduate of his facility’s sobriety program, he utilizes what he has learned from his Crossroads studies to mentor and encourage current participants in the faith-based program. He passionately shared, “I trust and believe my prayer for the lost in this institution will result in a revival so enormous there will be people on the outside that will want to come to this place to see what miraculous events are taking place in the lives of these so-called ‘hardened criminals.’”
John’s story is a powerful testament to the life-changing impact of Crossroads on the lives of people behind bars. Through Crossroads’ Bible studies and mentors, people like John have found hope, purpose, and redemption as they turn their lives around and become beacons of light within their prison communities. The influence of Crossroads extends beyond the prison walls as the transformations our students experience inspire others to seek Christ. Amid uncertainty and despair, Crossroads offers a lifeline, reminding people behind bars that there is hope and a future even within the confines of a prison cell.