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Jacob’s Well Ministries serving Pearl River County for almost a decade

UNIQUE MINISTRY: Employees of the Jacob’s Well thrift store in Picayune help a customer check out. The money earned in these stores helps fund the ministry, which serves as a recovery center for women. Photo by Dart Spiers

UNIQUE MINISTRY: Employees of the Jacob’s Well thrift store in Picayune help a customer check out. The money earned in these stores helps fund the ministry, which serves as a recovery center for women.
Photo by Dart Spiers

It’s been nearly 10 years since Pastor Charlie Haynes and his wife returned to Pearl River County and opened Jacob’s Well Ministries in Picayune. In that time, they have ministered to countless young women whose addictions have cost them almost everything. Haynes refers to his family as a “walking, living testimony,” and their story is the focus of this week’s Dart.
Jacob’s Well serves as a recovery center for women, housing them in a dormitory setting for a six-month period.
“Most of the women who come to us have hit rock bottom,” said Haynes, “They’ve lost children, marriages and been in prison.”
The women who come to Jacob’s Well are in a state of desperation, but the people they encounter after joining the program serve as proof that there is always hope, Haynes said. Many of the ministers have endured similar trials. Haynes believes it is what makes their message so powerful.
Haynes’ inspiration for Jacob’s Well sprang from his own personal crisis. It was 18 years ago when his family sat him down for an intervention. His alcohol and amphetamine addiction had pushed his wife and three children to the brink. He saw his family fall apart in front of him as his wife of 27 years asked for a divorce and his children disowned him. Haynes left, not knowing where he would go or what he would do.
“I thought that moment was the end of everything,” said Haynes, “It turned out to be the beginning of everything.”
His youngest son, Asa, was saved through the acceptance of Jesus Christ and explained the importance of salvation to his father.
“I received Christ as my savior after that moment,” said Haynes, who attributes his faith to overcoming addiction and reconciling with his family. He and his wife reunited and recently celebrated their 48th anniversary.
Since Jacob’s Well opened in 2005, they have developed close contacts with the Department of Human Services and the prison system, which is where many of the women come from.
Jacob’s Well Manager and spokesperson Jossette Thompson arrived at the ministry directly from jail in 2008. She had been an addict for 15 years.
Now she speaks to judges and district attorneys on behalf of the women at the recovery center. Her criminal record has been wiped clean, and she is happily married.
“My life changed so much,” she said, “The ministry gave me a whole new outlook on how to live life clean and be productive.”
The girls who come to Jacob’s Well spend their time working in the five thrift stores across Mississippi. These stores help fund the ministry.
“We teach them to do things in a manner that is pleasing to God,” said Thompson, “The stores keep them from having idle time.”
The six months the girls spend working in the store earn them valuable retail experience, and many have moved on to larger retail stores after treatment. Other women from Jacob’s Well have recovered to become nurses and police officers.
“Their old life serves no purpose with us,” said Thompson, “We are trying to give them a new life.”
Haynes said Jacob’s Well is beginning a fundraiser called “Heroes for Hope” to help grow their ministry. They are trying to open a men’s facility in the near future, and their fundraising goal is $500,000.
Jacob’s Well hopes to expand their services in order to see other families benefit from God’s work.
“It’s such a joy to watch these women discover the truth,” said Haynes, “That’s what gets us up and makes us go everyday.”