Meal Time!!


“Mr. CJ, when can you come pick me up?” This is something I hear often. Residents who are released from JDC have been calling and are excited to meet with our team. “A” recently has connected with our team and is eager to get a job. One of the tricky parts for employers is to see “A” for who he is and not as a former resident of Juvenile Detention. 

Most Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, our team is inside a detention center. We get to build relationships, and challenge their thought process on life and faith. In a recent conversation we were talking about stealing, which led to a conversation on trusting banks, which led to why God doesn’t want us to steal from each other. There was more than I described, but this is how some of our conversations go. This particular day one youth was defending why his old life is better than God’s way and by the end started to rethink his position. 

Recently JJM had our first “fusion” after summer break. “Frankie” showed up, which was a very nice surprise, but it was right before we went on summer break. He had zero interest in anything “religious.” For our kick-off we set up 9 Square (their favorite game) and Frankie showed up to play! He had a blast and even cracked a smile or two. We eventually ganged up on one of the staff to get them “out.” This simple game allowed us to build some relationships. We talked afterwards and got to know each other a little better. Please be praying for Frankie and that God will draw him closer. 

JJM is such an important ministry and you are directly a part of it though your prayers. We need to expand our prayer team, support team, and most importantly our relationship building team. If you can be a part, please contact me and I would love to have you consider one of these teams!

                   Grace and Peace,


Sunday Church starts with doughnuts and ends with prayer. We could use a few people willing to give $10 dollars or more a month to provide the funds for doughnuts. These doughnuts draw the students into participation and is another great way for us to build relationships with the residents of McLean Co. Juvenile Detention. 

Quick Stories


There are many words and emotions that could describe the picture. The one word I would use would be CHANGE.

When we met “B”, he was in a green suicide suit at JDC (a padded suit that cannot be cut or torn). Many people have been praying for “B” and working with “B” to share the love and hope of Jesus. I am pleased to report that “B” is no longer in the green suit but back in his normal clothes and doing well.

“When are we gonna fight?” Is a question I hear often. This is not the fighting you’re thinking … There is a card game called super fight  that our JJM team plays to build relationships with the JDC students. Students pick a few cards and then they are given a few more cards. They have to articulate why their hero would win. At some point we talk about making choices in life, some we can control and others we can’t control. We also talk about the importance of adapting to different situations and making further choices based on the decisions we have already made. In JJM we are very intentional about our programming, including our fun. Every moment can be a teaching moment and for many of them, they don’t have a parent teaching them important life lessons. 

Please pray: We will be doing origami with the residents. This is a first for us and could be a flop or a win. “Attention to details,” “taking your time,” “working on our faith even though it's hard” are some of lessons that go along with this activity.  We have tested it with a small group at our McLean County facility and it was pretty well-received. Please pray that God can be seen through this process. 

Thank you! Ministry cannot happen without prayer, the financial support of the community, and the hard work of ministry leaders.


1. Please continue to cover the ministry in prayer.

2. We are in need of Ministry Leaders for the Youth Farm. Interested? Know someone?

3. We are seeking additional donors. If you know someone that could parter with us to help grow the ministry, please introduce us to them. 

Getting Locked Up AGAIN

CJ smaller.jpeg

Yes, you read that correctly. I’m getting locked up in the Juvenile Detention Center AGAIN. JJM is hosting its SECOND  lock up fundraiser to raise funds for the mission, and I need your help! I am raising $1,000+ to be locked up for 24 hours in the Juvenile Detention Center. During this time, our team will eat our meals with the residents, perform our regular programming, and experience what the youth experience…even being locked up over night!

Why choose this fundraiser? Besides the fact that I know you’d love a chance to put me “behind bars,” it’s an awesome opportunity to empathize with these teens. We are implementing what God calls us to do in Hebrews 13:3, which says, “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” “…as if you were there yourself.”

To send me to JDC, please help me reach the goal of raising $1,000+, for the ministry above and beyond regular giving. Out of the $1,000+ our JJM team hopes to receive $200+ in new or increased monthly gifts. You can contribute through any of the following: become a new donor, increase your monthly giving, submit an additional yearly gift or an extra one time gift (NO amount is too small- even $30/month goes a long way in advancing this ministry!). Thank you for being faithful to this ministry.

If you would like to lock me up! 

Please visit www.yfcpeoria.org/give. Select JJM and under the comment section type JJM Lock-Up Fundraiser.  You can also fill out the information below and send in your donation. 

SAVE THE DATE: MAY 4th @ 5pm-8pm so you can come and hear about my experience and tour the Juvenile Detention Center. RSVP is required so please let me know if you plan to attend. Thank you so much for your support of Juvenile Justice Ministry.

For the Kingdom



In all we do, we press on joyfully as we get a firsthand glimpse of watching the Kingdom of God unfold on earth. This has to be the greatest joy we have as we follow Jesus together; witnessing the Kingdom influence our family & friends directly is an incredible sight. 

The past couple of months, Sarah and I have considered the call of God on our lives as we continue to serve the Kingdom. We realized through the process, God was calling us away from Youth for Christ to serve in our local faith family.

We are excited and sad to share with you that we will be leaving YFC June 1, to join the staff at Crosspoint Community Church in Eureka, IL, where I will be serving the church as their student pastor. This is completely unexpected for me and it’s a direction we did not think we would be heading in, but we are excited to begin this journey together. 

Thank you. We are so grateful for all you have done with us in the ministry. Your prayers, encouragement, financial partnership, and wisdom helped make serving with JJM a possibility for us. I have learned so much about the faithfulness of God at YFC.

As we transition to Crosspoint for the Kingdom, we hope you will continue your role in JJM.

Thank you for your labor. 

As JJM continues…

God has and will continue to do much in the lives of incarcerated teens through JJM. Would you consider continuing your partnership? If this is something of interest to you, please meet our JJM Director CJ Fisher. He can be reached at cfisher@yfcpa.org or by phone at 847.302.8632. Thank you for being a part of this mission with me. For any changes to your EFT giving, you can email admin@yfcpa.org or 309-688-6685 and ask for Cindy or Jeff.

Sad Changes, God's Future

Ashleigh Shipley

Ashleigh Shipley

It is with a sad heart I announce Jon Watts is leaving our JJM Family. Jon has served YFC for two years; one with JJM and one in City Life. Jon and his family have answered God’s calling to serve their local church. Jon will be the student pastor at Crosspoint Community Church. 

With the announcement of Jon leaving we have some future plans and dreams I would like to share with you. Please take some time to consider how you could impact teens by jumping in or increasing your role.

MEET Ashleigh! She is from the land down under and likes to wrestle kangaroos. Just kidding about the kangas. Ashleigh is hoping to intern with JJM for the next year. We are seeking to raise matching funds to help bring her on board with our JJM team! Interested in helping? 

MEET Jay Hardin! Jay currently is a volunteer JJM Site Director for Peoria Juvenile Detention. With the news of Jon leaving we are seeking monthly support to help bring Jay on the team, part time or full time. Jay has experience working in the military, security, administration, and ministry. Jay is a great asset to our JJM ministry. Please consider helping to bring him on our paid staff, so he can focus more time and attention on this ministry. 

Thank you all for praying and supporting teens.

10 + 12 = 3,000+

No, I haven’t gone crazy or lost my mind. But I have done some math, and if everyone who supports JJM raises their monthly gift by $10/month, it would provide an extra $3,000+ each year.  The increase would provide food for mentees,  snacks for the Youth Farm and both Detention centers, expansion of JJM and more! 

Wish I Had Good News... Pray

Sharing truth with students

Sharing truth with students

God has been moving in some great ways, however, today I come to you with a sad heart. Many times when we meet with students outside the detention center, they are faced with life choices. Sometime our students choose to continue to trust God, and other times they decide to do what they think is best.  Please be praying for one of our students that we have been mentoring. 

Susan* has been meeting with our ministry on a regular basis. She was plugged into a small group, going to church, has a relatively healthy family, and has been pursuing a job. Despite “turning” her life around, she tried to end her life recently and in the process of getting help, she assaulted a police officer. 

Please take a moment “right now” to pray for Susan, and others in similar situations. Our ministry is a tough ministry with ups and downs. As we continue to press forward, we would greatly appreciate your prayer for our leaders, students, parents, and the staff at these institutions.


Some of our immediate needs: 

  1. Prayer!
  2. Leaders for McLean County JJM 
  3. New or increased monthly funding of $25 or more
  4. New church partnerships in McLean County
  5. Leaders for Peoria JJM 


- CJ Fisher

As 2015 ended, we told all who would listen, “YFC finances are behind”. We prayed and we asked for a generous December. And Then … It Happened. People gave a bunch. We finished our 1/2-year budget of $485,000 ahead by 2%. Thank You Friends. Thank You Jesus! We hope you will continue generously, because Jan-March income is typically lower than the rest of the year. Wow. That was big. Happy New Year!!!

- Dan L


YFC Institute - JJM Breakout

YFC Institute - JJM Breakout

In early January, I got to spend a week in Denver for something called YFC Institute. That’s where new YFC staff from around the country gather to gain a deeper understanding of the mission, values, and activities of Youth for Christ. Through this training,  each participant develops a game plan for implementing once home. Institute was 1 full week of 12-hr training days. I was exhausted.

God used Institute to expose areas in my own heart that were preventing ministry from progressing forward. I can humbly say, the Spirit’s rebuke was not only necessary, but quite refreshing. By His grace, the Father revealed areas where ministry can move forward. These are Ministry Leaders & Prayer. 

We need more loving adults engaged in authentic Christ-sharing relationships with lost students. I want you to prayerfully consider your role in serving with us. Please consider 1 friend you believe God can use in JJM ministry and then sign up for our See the story event at yfcpeoria.org/see-the-story.

We also need to deliberately engage lots of Christians to intercede on our behalf. Would you pray for us? Would you join us in our desire to be a ministry that starts on our knees? If so, please go to yfcpeoria.org/jjm-pray and sign up!

Serving with you,

Jon Watts

As 2015 ended, we told all who would listen, “YFC finances are behind”. We prayed and we asked for a generous December. And Then … It Happened. People gave a bunch. We finished our 1/2-year budget of $485,000 ahead by 2%. Thank You Friends. Thank You Jesus! We hope you will continue generously, because Jan-March income is typically lower than the rest of the year. Wow. That was big. Happy New Year!!!.

- Dan L

Dear God, I'm Scared...

Pray for Peoria Juvenile Dept

Pray for Peoria Juvenile Dept

I really appreciate these words. They are from a student putting himself out there and admitting to God his true feelings. Many students put up a tough front and a “hard” exterior. When they are willing to be real with God, it allows God to speak truth into their life. 

Recently we have been exchanging letters from several students who have been transferred to other facilities, but they wish to stay in contact and continue discussions about God through letters. Praise God! We need extra prayer for God to send more workers to the field so we can flood the jail system with the love and hope that comes with a personal relationship with God. 

Please take a moment to pray for “Jon and Mike”. One does not have personal relationship with God, but has been open to talking about it. The other student has had a past relationship with God but just has made life choices based on what he wants. Currently he is looking at several months in the Department of Corrections. 

Some of our major needs: Please pray about your involvement. 

  1. More Ministry Leaders to help meet with students.
  2. Bible Study Leaders for the Youth Farm
  3. Fridayand Saturday afternoon Ministry Leaders
  4. Mentors for a mentoring/aftercare program
  5. Monthly funding for Juvenile Justice.


I’m guilty of not asking God to provide for the ministry. I find that the more I pray for support and leaders for the ministry the more I feel God saying its about time you asked for help! So not only an I asking God but I’m asking YOU! We need to build up several areas of Juvenile Justice Ministry. Please contact me so we can talk about different ways you can get involved in the ministry.