USA (MNN) — The holiday season can be hard when you’re missing loved ones, mourning broken dreams, or feel forgotten. But there’s a group of people struggling with all of these things: Prisoners.
Doug Cupery with Crossroads Prison Ministries says, “Especially at this time of year, it’s really a struggle inside prisons and jails…. It tends to be a season of grieving for those we serve — grieving for what has been, what could have been, for the things that they have done that brought themselves into incarceration. Many of those that we serve are parents, brothers, and sisters.”
Crossroads recently mailed 17,000 Christmas letters to men and women in prison.
Cupery says this is the first year the ministry has taken on such a massive Christmas card endeavor in-house.
“Many changes have happened with the mail systems within prisons and jails,” Cupery says. “They have become rather rigid on what can come in. So, historically, we asked our mentors to go ahead and send a card in, but many of those were not getting inside the facilities. They would have glitter on them or they would have color on them. These things just can’t go in anymore. So we made these 17,000 cards in such a way that they could actually get inside the facilities.”
However, they are still encouraging mentors to attempt to send their own notes of encouragement to Crossroads students as well. Because every card that reaches someone in prison is cherished.
“For so many of them, it’s the only word that they have gotten from outside the prison walls all month.”
Going into the New Year, Crossroads is looking for more mentors to write letters with their students in prison. It’s a meaningful opportunity to love others like Jesus.
Cupery says, “Jesus tells us that when we visit the prisoner, we visit Him. We have to ask ourselves, ‘What does that mean?’ Well, really, it’s a call to get involved to reach the least of these. So we would love to hear from those that may just want to explore, ask a few questions, or actually take that next step and become a mentor in reaching behind prison walls.”
“When we finally figure out that we are all broken people — all of us are broken — it’s just a beautiful picture when we as the broken Church walk alongside broken people.”
Header photo courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries.