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Phone: (217) 892-4044 Fax: (217) 892-5995 E-Mail:

Newsletter M arch 2013 Well, my name is Vernon Hearn Jr. I was born and raised in Chicago, IL to Betty & Vernon Hearn. I was named after my father. Both of my parents have passed away, I’m an only child, who was raised up in a Godly home with my grandparents who love me and care about me. I didn’t go to church much, except on Easter and Christmas, and I went with my cousin, but I didn’t know who God was until I was old enough to know, but I still didn’t know Him very well. My mother worked hard all her life. She left Chicago and moved to Danville, IL to work at GM back in the 70’s, until later, she came and got me to live with her and I went to school down there. I didn’t finish school until I moved back to Chicago to stay with my father and step-mother. It was okay for the most part, but I was smoking weed and going to school. I was trying to finish high school and my first child was on the way real soon. I still didn’t know God, but I had a little sense who He was, just a little, not that much. After I finished high school, I moved in with my aunt and was working my first job my cousin got me. I didn’t stay at the job long because I joined a gang and started to sell drugs. Every time I got myself in a mess I would call on God to help me out of it. For some reason He would hear me but still I wouldn’t learn my lesson and I would still get into trouble. The last time I took a lot of money and ran off with it. The people caught me and roughed me up real good. They could have killed me for that, but I know God was with me. But again, I still didn’t learn a thing from all of that. Well, after all that, I moved to Danville and left my three kids to try and start my life over again. I moved with my mother and step-father knowing that she had rules that I had to go by. But as always, I did what I wanted to do. You know that old saying “mother knows best”? She did, but I didn’t listen and I didn’t listen to what God was telling me either. So I met a girl every Sunday and we went to church. I would go to church on Sunday and get high all week and steal and go to jail. When I go to jail, some people would come up to the jail and preach to us about Jesus and I would

Volume 26 ISSUE 3 read the Bible and all of that when I was locked up, but when I got out I would turn my back on God and go back to getting high and stealing and being with wild women. That’s the lifestyle I loved and didn’t want to stop for a long time until I went to jail this last time. I was in the cell by myself and cried and asked God what I was doing wrong and why was I always doing wrong. I asked Him to help me and to save me from all of this and that I wanted to live a life without drugs and stealing and being with wild women. I know God chastises His children like He did to me, so I got five years in prison and I did two. I got out and came to Jesus is the Way. I came down here to get a relationship with God and Jesus. I know while I’m down here I can learn about God and learn more about myself. I’m real glad I came and I know I will have some up’s and down’s, but with Jesus on my side, I can’t go wrong. So, as time goes by, I will learn more about God and will have a real good relationship with Him by my side. I thank God for every day I have on this earth and for everything He has given me and letting me come down here to Jesus is the Way to get my life back together. I have come a long way and I thank God for being there and being in my life. Things are looking good for me. That’s because I made a real good choice when I came to JITW and God helped to make that choice. Thank You God for caring for me and helping me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Many of us are familiar with the scripture in the book of Hebrews 13:1-3 that says: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (ESV) Years ago, I thought that the people who benefited from such scriptures were the people who received that hospitality and the visits. Nevertheless I was glad to be involved in trying to live out those Godly directives in ways that I was able. But, as I became more involved in ministry, I discovered-much to my amazement-that I was the one who had my spirits lifted and my outlook on life improved. I was the one who saw Jesus Christ working in the lives of others who may not have been as fortunate as I had been. I watched as people who had been cast aside by life, came alive with renewed spirit and attitude. About 30 years ago I ran into a guy who had also made that same discovery. His name was Jesse Mathes, the founder and director of Jesus is the Way Prison Ministry. I watched the ministry go through its ups and downs, but the thing I never got tired of was watching Jesse’s positive attitude and the absolute confidence that he was doing God’s work. And success in the ministry was built simply on relying on God and the people who were willing to come along beside him and minister to the men and women who were trying to get their lives back on track after serving jail time. Over the years, in different ways, and at different times, I have continued to work with Jesus is the Way. Right now I teach a weekly Bible study to men who are discovering again how to make society work for them. After a programed time to decompress after prison, they are back in school or getting into the work force. All are growing in their Biblical knowledge and their ability to live a life that is full because of their relationship to God through Jesus Christ. And really, at its core, nothing has changed here at the ministry. It is only possible because people like you keep this sheltered and protective environment available. If you want to continue feeling your spirits soar because you know you are fulfilling God’s plan by living out scriptures, like those found in Hebrews (as quoted above), I encourage you to keep helping Jesus is the Way Prison Ministry in any way you can. Take it from me; you’re the one who will receive the most benefit. Dr. Ed Sischo Chaplain, Carle Hospital

Recent Water Line Repair

Ministry Needs

· Area Rugs-small to medium size for the residents’ rooms. · First Aid Supplies – (Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol) · Trash Bags (55 Gallon, 13 Gallon) · Dish Soap · Paper Towels · Kleenex · Toilet Paper · Men’s Deodorant · Financial Support for the Water Line Repair · Financial Support for Future Sewer Line Repair


WINTER JAM 2013 CHRISTIAN MUSIC CONCERT IS COMING MARCH 23, 2013 6:00PM TO THE ASSEMBLY HALL IN CHAMPAIGN, IL. We are looking for sponsors for the residents, either to pay the $10.00 fee or maybe you or your group would like to take a resident with you. Currently, we have 12 men in the aftercare program. CALL 217-892-4044 for details!

Every other Monday from 8:00am to 9:00am, Deanne Holste from the U of I Extension comes to Jesus is the Way to teach the residents in the aftercare program on health and nutrition.

Founders Jesse Mathes/Edith Mathes (1942-2008)


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 25 Champaign, IL

OFFICE: (217) 892-4044 FAX: (217) 892-5995 EMAIL: info@ Executive Director Dennis Daniel Aftercare Director Nancy Roberts

OFFICE HOURS: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday – Friday

Prison Services Coordinator John Henderson Grant Writer & Educator Peter Patton Logistics Manager Larry Peak Rantoul Staff Brenda Mathes Krile Vicki Schoonover Board Members Thomas Brown Dennis Daniel John Henderson Rev. Steve Lombardo Edith Mathes Tammie Pruitt Attorney Bill Scott Developer Rob Zabka


Recent Donation of Bicycles for the residents of the New Beginnings aftercare.

Jesus is the Way Prison Ministry March 2013 Newsletter  

Jesus is the Way Prison Ministry March 2013 Newsletter

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