When Brandon began serving his twenty-five-year sentence, he felt utterly alone. The path that had led him to that prison cell was painful—both emotionally and physically.
On a September night in 2010, Brandon was hanging out with his girlfriend and two other friends.
“I was influenced into committing a robbery,” he remembered. “[We] thought it would be funny to rob a pizza delivery driver. At the time, I was clean and hadn’t done drugs in years—just young and dumb.”
What began as a prank suddenly turned into the worst night of Brandon’s life.
“The pizza delivery driver shot me point-blank in the face,” he said. “I fought for my life for months and have been through multiple surgeries. I suffer from my injuries and have brain damage. I have lost my hearing from the gunshot. I have lost my family and have never had any true friends. I’m what people in here call a loner.”
Facing two and a half decades behind bars with only his thoughts as company, Brandon felt hopeless. A number of years into his incarceration, he decided to try signing up for a few Bible studies to learn more about God and have some interaction with the outside world. Last year, he discovered Crossroads through another student at his facility. He recently finished his first course and filled out the questionnaire that Crossroads sends to every student when they complete a course.
“From Who Are You?, I learned about myself. I’ve come to learn about my new life and how Jesus loves me,” Brandon wrote on the questionnaire. “I learn something every time I read the Word, but the lessons help me understand a lot. Everyone [should] take these courses. The program costs nothing, but it gives everything.”
One of the lessons arrived at a crucial moment. Brandon had been attacked by a few others in his facility, so the staff had placed him in administrative segregation, also known as solitary confinement or “the hole.”
“I was sad and lonely, but I had my Bible and commentary. I read day and night,” he recalled. “And at mail call, I received my lesson and letter from a mentor. It was a blessing from God. He sent me an angel.”
Although Brandon has not been on his spiritual journey for very long, he already has a powerful testimony.
“I am weak, but Jesus gives me strength. God is always working in our lives, even when times are hard or traumatic,” Brandon stated. “Studying God’s Word through the Crossroads mentorship program [helps me] keep my mind on God and keep from being or acting negative.”
Today, thanks in part to his experience as a Crossroads student, Brandon understands that he is not alone. He is part of the body of Christ.
“I want to thank Crossroads for all their love and support,” he said. “Thank y’all for all the love, caring, and devotion and being my family. Thank y’all for showing me that I’m not alone in here. The Bible course really helped me, but I have to be honest, I need a one-on-one mentor.”
Because Brandon is still a Tier 1 student, he has a few more courses to complete before he is paired with a one-on-one mentor to encourage him and guide him through his studies. Crossroads is currently in the midst of a multiyear curriculum expansion plan, which includes adding new, shorter courses to Tier 1 and moving other courses to Tier 2. The end goal is to serve our students the best we can by matching them with personal mentors earlier in their Crossroads experience. To maintain this, we need more mentors who are willing to walk alongside students one-on-one in Tier 2. Does this sound like something God is calling you to do? Please visit cpministries.org/mentor or email email@example.com for more information.