My name is Charlie Peterson and this is my testimony on the contributions that Crossroads Connection made in my life.  I arrived that the Omaha Work Release Center on 1 February 2008.  I had been at the Nebraska State Pen since June of 1991.  It had been a long 17 ½ years.  I was excited to make a positive step and yet very nervous to make that very same step.  That is a very long time to be out of society and lots had changed.  I was immediately invited to Crossroads Connection by some of the inmates at the center.  On my first night, I rode with Anne Carroll.  She and I talked the whole trip about computers and school and many of the things that I had questions about.  She made me feel comfortable and relaxed.  I was feeling better.


Upon arriving, I met Barb Diets and Carol Cherek.  I signed in and was given a nametag.  I liked it in that I didn't have to remember a bunch of names and could still talk.  Everyone was nice and friendly.  The service started and Roy Fox made us all feel welcome.  He talked and joked and relaxed everyone.  The service was relaxed and the sermon was good.  After the service, we went downstairs and met other great folks and had a nice meal.  I met Jim Carroll and Mary Ann Fox.  I ate a wonderful meal like I hadn't had in many years.  I felt so good and was amazed that these people were so nice to a bunch of convicts.


As I talked with others there, I realized that they were doing this to help people just like me.  I was nervous and they understood that.  I was apprehensive and they knew that.  I was unsure of my future and they knew that.  I only knew that I wanted to continue this.  I came joyfully every Sunday.  I looked forward to it every week.  I met Pastor Becky, Lee Shell, Barb Sorenson, Hank and Marna Davidson, Barb Llewellyn when Underwood Hills hosted the Crossroads Connection service.  My faith grew and I was inspired by the people that ran Crossroads Connection.  I met new Pastors and staff every week and got clothing from the clothes closet and bus passes to help me get out and get around in the community.  I mainly grew my faith and learned that I do have the chance to get back into society and move forward with my life.  I learned that I always have a friend that I can depend on in Crossroads Connection.  They have made my transition from prison to the work release center and hopefully soon to freedom so much easier.  I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me.  I can tell you that it has inspired me to give back.  I have joined Underwood Hills because of all those people and the great work that they do.  We should all be thankful for the great things that these great people do for people that they don't even know.  I know that I am.