International (MNN) — The landscape of volunteer service is changing. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by VolunteerMatch showed that 93 percent of nonprofits significantly reduced their operations. Additionally, 85 percent of volunteers were worried about getting sick or exposing others, and 45 percent of volunteers said they wanted to serve remotely.
If you are looking for a way you can serve others from home, consider becoming a penpal with a prisoner!
Crossroads Prison Ministries needs more people to write letters to prisoners in their Bible study program. When you volunteer to mentor a Bible study student in prison through Crossroads, you are tangibly showing them God’s love.
Doug Cupery, Crossroads’ church mobilization director, says, “We do biblical studies with prisoners through correspondence through the mail. A key piece that we do is build relationships with those that are participating with us through letter writing. So really, what you are doing is you are journeying with prisoners through their Bible studies and speaking truth, encouraging, [and] offering hope.
“Just the other day, I heard a story about a woman who just couldn’t serve in the community anymore and it was really breaking her heart. She just felt an emptiness. So she found her website and checked us out and started volunteering with us. It’s just been a life-changing experience for her.”
Crossroads serves prisoners in at least 20 countries. Prison is a lonely place, and especially during the pandemic, prison visitations are restricted.
“We have to remember over 95 percent of those that we incarcerate will be coming home to our communities. So when you think about that, if we as the Church are journeying with this prisoner (who we call a student,) we’re not only impacting that person; we’re impacting the prison environment. We’re impacting our communities, our schools, and our families.”
“It’s life-changing,” Cupery says. “You won’t regret it. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s a beautiful journey.”
Header image courtesy of Crossroads Prison Ministries.