During his trip to the United States this week, Pope Francis visited with inmates in a Philadelphia prison. Speaking to the imprisoned, the pope offered encouragement from the Gospel scene in which Jesus washed the feet of His disciples.

In those days, people’s sandaled feet got dirty, bruised and cut on long journeys along dusty roads.

“Life is a journey, along different roads, different paths, which leave their mark on us,” the pope said. “We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey.”

We all pick up dust and get hurt on the roads of life, but we find hope in knowing that our Savior seeks us out, “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

For many students at Crossroad Bible Institute, the journey has been long and difficult. But they are experiencing the cleansing, comforting love of Christ behind bars.

Paul, who is incarcerated in Australia, has discovered the comfort and strength that Jesus offers when he is weak and weary. He writes:

This journey with incarceration has been a long and sometimes a dark one. I will be a complete liar if I said I did this on my own. The courage, encouragement and strength I received from God are second to none. Then I had beautiful people like you. I wonder how this journey would have been if I did not have this support. Though this journey is still not over, the clouds have broken and a ray of sunlight is bringing hope.”

Here are some other testimonies about the love people in prison are encountering in the midst of difficult circumstances:

I am finding myself at peace knowing that God is always watching over me and I do not need to fear the road ahead.” –Mark L., CA

“Our journey is tough, yet we get up on a daily basis ready to take what the world has to throw at us with God strongly at our side.”  –Jonathan P., GA

“When I feel defeated and discouraged, I receive a letter that reminds me I am not alone on this journey.” –Velma G., TX

If you would like to help encourage those in prison on their journeys, consider volunteering with Crossroad.