Post Categories: September 21, 2018

A Mentor Meets Their Student

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet one of your students in person? René Kooistra, one of our board members at Crossroads, had the opportunity to meet one of his students in Alberta.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet one of your students in person? René Kooistra, one of our board members at Crossroads, had the opportunity to meet one of his students in Alberta.

“It was great to put a face to a name,” René told us, “but it also made the work more tangible and real. I realized that I was meeting someone that God has impacted at a very deep level, in a very personal way. It grounded the relationship and made it a little bit deeper.”

Peter, René’s student, had recently transitioned from an institution to a halfway house. This made visiting each other easier.

René has been a mentor for two years, and has been surprised by what he’s learned along the way. “You get to re-learn Bible basics that you’ve assumed to be second nature for so many years. You see it through fresh eyes, with a slightly different understanding. Those old truths have a way of becoming new again.”

Thanks to students like Peter, René said that he’s seeing his relationship with Jesus in a new and different way. “We’re all broken people,” he said. “Incarcerated people think that there’s an ‘us’ and ‘them.’ And church people think there’s an ‘us’ and ‘them’ as well. But there’s no us and them. It’s just us.”

In many ways, the relationship between mentor and student is symbiotic. As much as the mentor gives, the mentor gets in return also. Our tagline says that “lives, prisons, and churches are restored through the Gospel,” and it’s absolutely true.

If you’re considering becoming a mentor, it’s never too late to get started. We asked René what he would say to people who are feeling a tug on their hearts to become a mentor. “You’ll be surprised,” he said. “God has a way of enriching you, through someone else’s brokenness, that you will not believe. It leads to a higher level of gratitude for your own life, and a better understanding of God’s grace. If it weren’t for His grace, our own circumstances might have been so different. There’s always more to learn about Jesus and His impact on your life.”

If you want to make a meaningful impact in the hearts of prisoners, you’ve found the right ministry.

Related Testimonies

Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

Fatherhood, God, and Prison

For many people like Miles, the word "father" evokes painful memories. But now Miles knows that he has a loving Heavenly Father — one who has "an unfailing love." Read more.

October 25, 2018
Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

Everything was fixed by Jesus.”

Saul’s downward spiral got worse after he lost custody of his daughter. But Jesus changed everything. Read more.

October 1, 2018
Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

A Mentor Meets Their Student

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to meet one of your students in person? René Kooistra, one of our board members at Crossroads, had the opportunity to meet one of his students in Alberta. Read more.

September 21, 2018
Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

Peace at 52

Trevor didn't find peace until he found Jesus — just before returning to prison. Now he's using this time to learn more about his faith and share his story. Read more.

September 4, 2018
Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

Discovering God Within the Walls of Prison

James believed in God his whole life, but it wasn’t until his most recent incarceration that he truly found the Lord. Read more.

August 7, 2018
Post Categories:
  • Testimonies

Barbara prays with purpose and faith

It wasn't until she was incarcerated that Barbara learned a powerful lesson: “You never know that God is all you need until God is all you got.” Read more.

June 28, 2018