Doris Jasperson graduated from Northwestern’s Adult Undergraduate program in 2012 with a degree in Christian Counseling. Prior to finishing her bachelor’s degree, Doris worked as a registered nurse for 25 years before attending Northwestern. Doris and her husband, Dave, live in Wisconsin, so her Wednesday nights included a couple-hour drive to campus for 6-10:00 p.m. class and then another long drive back home. Accompanied on the drives by KTIS music and DJs, Doris loved every night of class—and every assignment given throughout her education at UNW. Today, Doris and Dave work with the InFaith organization leading their ministry, The Gap, which serves to support adult addicts and offenders with tools to restore and create healthy relationships.
In 2009, the Jasperson’s son, Luke, got tied up in the world of drugs. The once sweet, loving, affectionate man turned to lying and stealing while under the harmful influence. During this time, Doris and Dave felt a lot of unease and discouragement as they often found out the whereabouts of their son through reading the local paper. With several arrests and multiple chances taken for granted, the Jaspersons experienced deep pain and hurt from this situation.
While still working as a nurse, Doris grew to love the aspect of caring for her patients and seeing to fruition their emotional and spiritual healing. Unfortunately, this was difficult to do with the busyness of a nurse’s workload. This moved Doris to finish her bachelor’s degree, leading her to Northwestern.
Following graduation, Doris began volunteering for programs with offenders involved in the justice system while looking for a more permanent job. Doris started running the Victim Impact Panel, doing Victim Offender Conferencing, and eventually teaching cognitive-behavior classes. Through this experience, the Lord stirred the passion for teaching in her heart, and Doris realized the ministry she was doing was exactly the job she wanted!
In 2014, Dave was retiring and the Jaspersons bought a 100-year-old, broken-down home to fix up and sell. Both Doris and Dave spent hours working on the home, creating a beautiful space without yet realizing the amazing plans God had in store for it.
As Doris got to know the individuals in her classes, she was able to help them work through emotional and spiritual needs. Doris was seen as a trustworthy person to lean on through the difficult times. After being let into the offenders’ lives, Doris was soon praying with them, encouraging them with God’s Word, and loving them as a faithful friend. As the old, broken piece of property transformed to a beautiful home through the time and energy Doris and Dave invested, God made it clear the home was meant to be a place where broken people with hard pasts could be restored and made whole again, too. Thus, The Gap was born!
The Gap is a center for learning and ministry where men and women in recovery come for support and accountability. Several times a week, Doris and Dave lead various meetings for offenders at The Gap. All activities are based on the belief that God is willing and able to restore sanity that addiction has robbed people of, repair relationships, and that God wants a relationship with all of us.
Through this ministry, the Jaspersons have seen families reconnect and people restore relationship with parents, siblings, and kids. It’s all about surrendering the messiness of life to God, knowing that what they’ve been doing so far has not been working, and they need something much bigger than they are. When they recognize that something is Jesus Christ, they are all in!
ReGroup is held every Wednesday night at The Gap from 6–8:00 p.m. Dave and Doris (or a guest cook) prepare dinner, and people start trickling in early—some to talk, some to grab a Mountain Dew and relax, some to start setting the table. At 6 p.m., everyone gathers in the kitchen to thank God for the food and ask His presence and blessing on the evening. Anywhere from 15–18 people come each week; their backgrounds and stories vary. People new in recovery, those recently out of incarceration, those brought by a friend, friends of addicts, those who’ve been in recovery for years, and those who just want to be a friend to those in recovery attend. Lots of food, lots of laughter, and lots of people making connections is what ReGroup is all about.
In 2017, Doris and Dave sold their house and bought a five-bedroom home three blocks away from The Gap. The Bridge is another ministry the Jaspersons lead out of their home. Through The Bridge, they provide inexpensive, short-term housing for men coming out of incarceration who are serious about their sobriety and believe that a relationship with God is critical for long-term sobriety. The Bridge is a safe place for those who, because of their criminal history, are unable to find reliable, affordable housing.
What’s next for Doris and Dave is The Gap Garage, the latest extension of their ministry. They plan to build a garage to provide a place and tools for people in recovery—whose cars need repair—to do those repairs themselves. They'll also take donated cars to gift or sell at a manageable cost to those who need to get to work, probation, church, the laundromat, and other necessary places. The Jaspersons broke ground on The Gap Garage this past month.