This article originally appeared in our September 2018 newsletter to donors and mentors.
I recently visited with my son in Toronto, and joined him and his new wife at their church in the morning. Their church celebrated their five-year anniversary that morning, so their pastor spoke about birthdays and other similar milestones.
For his daughters’ birthdays, the pastor and his wife would give their children a word of encouragement (a blessing) and a challenge for their next year.
The blessing is an area where he and his wife have noticed growth in their children. It’s an area they can encourage their children in.
The challenge is an area where they feel there is room to grow. The challenge is not a scorn or a rebuke, but rather an encouragement to grow.
This summer, we also celebrated an anniversary. Our fiscal year came to a close. Crossroads Prison Ministries is now a year older, and with that, I wanted to take the opportunity to bless you and challenge you.
As somebody who is deeply involved in our ministry, our joys are your joys. This ministry couldn’t function without you. So every time we have something to celebrate, we have an occasion to celebrate together.
With that in mind, let me first say this: we have seen incredible transformations in our students this year. Every mentor is doing exceptional work, and every financial gift multiples many times over.
I recently got a note in the mail from Scott, one of our students. He told me his girlfriend wants to give her life to Jesus, and is ready to live a happier, more beautiful life in the presence of the Lord. She wanted to join him and take our courses, and she also wanted us to send her a Bible.
Every time a student’s heart is filled with the love of Christ, it becomes infectious. Because of that, our ministry is naturally growing in prisons. God is changing the hearts of prisoners all over our country, and Crossroads is a pivotal part of His plan for these men and women.
Over the past year, you’ve heard many other stories about our students. Their testimonies are all over our blog, newsletters, appeal letters, and monthly email updates. There is an outpouring of God’s love in prisons happening right now, and you and everybody involved with this ministry are directly responsible for that.
The hard work so many of you put into this ministry is paying off. For that, I bless you and thank God for you.
Let me also challenge you. We have more students than Crossroads Prison Ministries has had at any point in its history. Jesus is changing hearts and minds within prison walls, and He is working quickly.
Over the next year, I want us grow the ministry in equal measure outside the prison walls. I would love to see more mentors get involved, and more donors financially contributing.
You already do so much for this ministry. But let me challenge you to share the powerful work you are doing. Jesus says in Matthew 10:27, “What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!”
God is doing incredible work. You are doing incredible work. Without your incredible contributions, none of this would be possible.
This year, let’s spend more time sharing what God is doing with this ministry.
— Martie van Niekerk, President, Crossroads Prison Ministries Canada
Artwork by D, one of our students in Ontario.