By Lisa Blystra
President & CEO
As I look back on 2020, many emotions come to mind. Anxiety, uncertainty, fear . . . but also gratitude and hope.
Despite the many challenges we faced as a ministry in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, God has moved in unexpected, powerful and refreshing ways. When it felt like so much was fading away around us, God breathed His breath of new life into Crossroads.
When I sent the email to our staff in March telling them to leave the office and begin working from home, I knew a lot of uncertainty lay ahead. But, through the grace of God and the tireless work of staff and volunteers, Crossroads continued to reach men and women in prison with the hope of the Gospel.
Isaiah 43 honors the God who makes a “way in the wilderness” and provides “streams in the wasteland.” This was true for the people of Israel in exile, and it’s still true for us today. Our God can bring life out of the most lifeless places. He can forge a path to newness in the most desolate and treacherous locations.
“See, I am doing a new thing!” the Lord said through Isaiah. In moments of uncertainty, stress and turmoil, God is ready to do new things.
Social distancing and months of quarantine have forced us to get creative and tap into the new things God had planned for our ministry.
When the pandemic began, we weren’t sure if the Crossroads program would be able to continue, so we immediately arranged a mailing to all our students that included a daily devotional. We began holding regular Zoom meetings with volunteer mentors for encouragement and training. We had to cancel many Crossroads Prison Art Project shows, but we have now developed an online art show that can travel anywhere via videoconferencing. We released a new publication called Letters from Lockdown that tells the stories of the people we serve in their own words. Many of these new things that the pandemic prompted us to do will continue going forward.
“See, I am doing a new thing!”
I am continually in awe of the new things God has done through Crossroads in this season, and I am full of excitement and expectation of more newness in 2021.