Melissa’s early life was marked by bullying and abuse. Kids at school bullied her relentlessly. She wasn’t even safe at church, where the taunting only continued.

Eventually, she reached her breaking point, dropping out of high school and leaving the church she’d attended her whole life. She stopped praying and avoided conversations about God. While she was still a teen, she left home and moved in with her fiancé.

Sadly, her hardships only increased. First, she became gravely ill with a sickness that kept her in an intensive care unit for a month. While she was hospitalized, her fiancé left her. After her release from the hospital, she moved back home to heal. That’s when she met the man who would become the father of her son.

“He was thirty-seven when I met him, and I was turning nineteen when I started dating him. My son’s father was the one who introduced me to drugs,” she said.

Just four months into their relationship, Melissa discovered she was three months pregnant. She immediately stopped doing drugs and smoking, but her son’s father refused to quit.

“I left him when our son was four months old because of him doing drugs,” she said. “That’s when things went downhill, and they went downhill fast. I lost my job, my mom took my son from me when he was six months old, and I became homeless. My mother knew that I was back on drugs.”

Although Melissa loved her son and desperately wanted to care for him, her addiction was too strong, and she knew he would be better off with her mother. Drugs continued to control Melissa’s life until she found herself in jail facing a voluntary manslaughter charge after a fight with a roommate turned fatal.

“I was scared out of my mind,” she said. “It hit me that I needed to pray and get right with God. I didn’t really realize how bad things were in my head and my life. I truly had lost my way completely. I’d hit rock bottom.”

In 2022, a woman incarcerated with Melissa introduced her to Crossroads and encouraged her to sign up. Melissa recently finished her first course, Who Are You?

“Crossroads means so much to me. It is something for me to look forward to and helps me relate to the Bible in ways I never have before,” Melissa said. “[The lessons] asked me questions that I never really sat there and tried relating to and really made me think about things differently. I also love the fact that the mentors write us letters and that I’ve been able to write to them with other questions, and they have written back explaining and even went into detail. I get so excited every time I get mail. I literally jumped up and down [when I received] my certificate of completion!”

Melissa recommended the Crossroads program to the other women in her unit, and she started a small group to discuss what they are learning.

“God has definitely shown Himself to me while being in jail, and He’s turned my mindset around when it comes to giving and helping others,” she said. “Thank you, Crossroads, for everything.”

Melissa shared this illustration of John 3:16 with us, saying, “I’ve done some artwork dedicated to Jesus, and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you guys like it!”


Many Crossroads students tell us that the encouraging comments and personalized letters they receive with their Bible study lessons mean the world to them. Do you have a little extra time in your week to encourage and guide someone like Melissa? Learn more about becoming a mentor.


Sign up for updates!

Get news and stories from Crossroads Prison Ministries delivered straight to your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.