Honoring Tom de Vries (1945–2017)
Tom de Vries, the founder of Crossroad Bible Institute (now Crossroads Prison Ministries), passed away suddenly on April 16. While we at Crossroads are saddened by this tragic loss, his legacy lives on, as faithful Crossroads mentors carry on Tom’s passion for reaching men and women in prison with the Gospel.
Tom identified as a salesman by trade, but his passion was prison ministry. That passion led him to frequent visits to the Kent County Jail, bringing the Gospel to the men incarcerated there. He faithfully visited the men week after week, desiring to be a consistent mentor to them as they studied God’s Word.
But he grew discouraged when he began to lose contact with some of the men due to sudden transfers to other correctional facilities. He couldn’t possibly travel to all of the different facilities to disciple the men and encourage them to continue following Christ. So he began to brainstorm. How could he stay in contact with all of these men in their scattered locations? He soon discovered the perfect solution: sending Bible studies through the mail.
Tom created study materials and gathered together family and friends to help him in this endeavor. They mailed lessons to the men, reviewed their completed studies and corresponded with them, offering encouragement and guidance as the men continued to learn more about God and how to live for Him. This ministry could now follow the men anywhere they were transferred. In 1984, Tom officially founded Crossroad Bible Institute (now Crossroads Prison Ministries).
Thanks to Tom’s passion and heart for those who are often forgotten, incarcerated men and women all over the world benefit from this compassionate ministry he started thirty-three years ago.
“Through the grace of God, the ministry has flourished over the years, introducing tens of thousands of people in prison to the Gospel, the love of Christ and fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters,” said Lisa Blystra, executive director at Crossroads. “We are grateful to Tom for his dedication to God’s calling. We honor Tom and his legacy that lives on in every prisoner who has been served by Crossroads.”