Terry VerHage, a mentor since 1991, shares her Crossroads story with staff.


Most of Terry VerHage’s students have been incarcerated long enough to reach our most advanced courses (Tier 3) and receive a dedicated one-on-one mentor with whom they can exchange letters. In some cases, even after they are released, they continue writing to Terry, corresponding via the Crossroads office.

Terry has been a mentor since 1991. When Terry lists her students, she talks about them as if they were her own children and grandchildren.

There is Thomas, who sends her Mother’s Day cards. He calls Terry his spiritual mother.

There is Shawn, a poet. His retelling of Psalm 27 will be read at Terry’s funeral someday.

There is Jeremy, an artist. He sent her an acrylic painting of a lighthouse as a gift of thanks.

There is Saul, her spiritual son. He completed a doctoral degree in biblical counseling while behind bars. His conviction was overturned on appeal, and he was released to a family who welcomed him home.

Her greatest love is Michael. He holds a special place in her heart because he endured terrible abuse throughout his childhood. While still behind bars, he helped to create a foundation for children of incarcerated parents. He wants to break the chain of generational incarceration. He is working on a bachelor’s degree and is currently eligible for parole.

Terry said serving her students has been a source of great joy and comfort.

“My students have been gracious and loving to me,” she said. “They prayed for me and my family when we were struggling. My husband [Eugene] was blind for many years, and they prayed for him.”

Their prayers also provided comfort through her deepest heartache when Eugene died in 2021.

When Terry met Tom de Vries and heard about Crossroads in late 1990, she felt well prepared to serve. She was an elementary school teacher and a longtime Bible study leader. She signed up and began writing to students in January 1991.

Since 1991, Terry has responded to more than 1,300 lessons and given at least 2,000 hours of service to Crossroads students as a mentor and former in-office volunteer. Yet, she says she received far more than she gave.

“I got to see the Holy Spirit doing the work of transformation in their lives, and that is the greatest joy,” she said.


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