“God placed in my heart my love for those behind the walls”

The Watergate scandal in the 1970s first drew Lori’s husband to prison ministry.

“My husband took great interest in the Chuck Colson story,” she said. “When Chuck wrote a new book, it appeared on our shelf.”

At the time, Lori juggled part-time work at a pediatric office with caring for her young children, and her husband worked as an attorney. Over time, a passion for prison ministry continued to grow in her husband’s heart. In the 1990s, he began volunteering through Prison Fellowship, leading seminars in New Jersey state prisons.

“I often heard about other women participating, and he would encourage me to join them. But the idea was daunting, especially hearing about those loud prison doors separating the ‘inside’ from the ‘outside.’ I always declined,” Lori said.

As they entered retirement, Lori and her husband embraced a new chapter of service. Relocating to Michigan to be closer to family, Lori looked for volunteer opportunities, jumping into prison ministry for the first time. She volunteered with Prison Fellowship, visiting prisons to enroll people in their Angel Tree Project.

“During those hours spent with these men, I would often hear very sad stories about their journeys into incarceration and about families at home and had the opportunity to share prayer with them. I considered it a great privilege to be able to serve all those inmates and be a small part of bringing joy to their children,” she said.

While volunteering at the Prison Fellowship office, Lori crossed paths with a woman at church who introduced her to Crossroads Prison Ministries. Through Crossroads, Lori delved deeper into prison ministry as a volunteer mentor.

In 2010, Lori took a break from mentoring to volunteer alongside her husband with The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), committing every Saturday morning to teaching Christian leadership within the walls of EC Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon.

“About the time of the graduation of our second TUMI class, my husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he battled that for two years,” Lori said.

“I loved our students ‘inside’ and made many friendships. When my husband passed away [in 2020], I wanted to continue reaching out to those behind the walls,” she said. “God placed in my heart my love for those behind the walls, and I headed back to Crossroads and really enjoy reviewing those lessons each week.”

In addition to serving as a mentor, Lori recently began volunteering at the Crossroads office.

“As I look back, it almost brings tears to my eyes,” she said. “I am so impressed that all the way, the Lord has led me, and all the way, He held my hand.”

Crossroads provides opportunities for people in any season of life to extend God’s love to men and women behind bars. If God has placed prison ministry on your heart, consider signing up as a volunteer mentor today and join thousands of others like Lori who have answered God’s call to remember and care for those behind bars.