Greetings, friends! Elijah here, with Hyssop Ministries, and I wanted to catch everyone up on what has been happening lately in our lives.
We have been silent for some time here at Hyssop, as our lives have undergone a great deal of transition. When I graduated from Shorter University in 2012, I took over much of the primary day-to-day work with this ministry, as my father Terry was occupied with his work at The Integrity Project®. Before long, I ended up taking over the front desk at The Integrity Project® as well, and I kept working at both the company and the ministry until I got married in the summer of 2013.
I moved to Dublin and began working there, but after about one year I really missed working with my dad on the company and ministry that we had been building together. In 2014 I began to commute every day to Milledgeville, as my wife Erica is still the band director at West Laurens Middle School and we therefore still live in Dublin.
It was around this time that my dad began working part-time as a chaplain at Burruss State Prison in Forsyth, and while he commuted I did a lot of work alone in order to keep things running smoothly at our offices. Hyssop Ministries had not been receiving much attention in a while, and I decided to focus more on what we were doing with The Integrity Project® for the time being.
Then in 2015, I accepted the position of Worship Leader at Westview Baptist Church in Milledgeville. I am currently working during the week at The Integrity Project®, and working with children’s AWANA ministry and the youth ministry on Wednesday nights at Westview. I am leading worship on Sundays and I am more involved in music than I have ever been. I am also working in my spare time to record an album (on a budget, of course) so that my original music can have a broader audience and reach more ears and souls.
In the last year, as I have been increasingly involved in music and ministry, Terry has begun writing a book about Integrity. I cannot share too many of the details yet, but it is a fictional story about one man’s journey to become a man of Integrity, and since the book is not being used directly by any government owned or run entity, Terry is free to incorporate more Christian elements than we normally do in our program. The Integrity Project® has always been a ministry to us; we have been called by God to reach as many people as possible by making ourselves available to anyone and everyone for help, advice, and life planning, as well as personal and professional development. This often opens doors into the lives of people who would not normally go to a church or even be open to hear a traditional Gospel presentation. As students learn about Integrity, our hope is that they eventually will realize that no one can ever truly become a person of Integrity without the Holy Spirit. Hyssop Ministries and our supporters therefore have a unique opportunity to step in and pick up where the program leaves off. We can support The Integrity Project®, and therefore reach many people who would not want anything to do with something labeled a “ministry.”
However, in recent months, due to changes in certain laws and also to the general state of our economy, we have had a sharp drop in class attendance. Some court systems have chosen, for one reason or another, to send students to other programs rather than sending them to our class. In other cases, without getting into too many details, some of the students who could benefit most from an Integrity class as a “redirection” in their lives are simply being let off easy and are being deprived of the opportunities that we could provide them.
Our attempts to spread the program through the Department of Corrections has also been met with opposition on a level so strong that I can only describe it as a spiritual barrier. Satan cannot stand to see anyone helped or given the tools to succeed, and he works unceasingly against the work of the ministry.
This, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is where you all come in. Of course there is not a lot of direct physical work that you can do to help us at this point. But our God is the God of both the physical and the spiritual. He can change laws, economies, conditions, hearts, attitudes, minds, and people. We ask for your prayer, first and foremost, that you would lift us up every time your mind turns to us, or to the lost, or to the less fortunate. We cannot further the Kingdom of God without the prayer support of our mighty warriors behind the scenes. And even if we have opportunities to talk to potential students, or lawyers or commissioners or anyone else of influence, without the leading of the Holy Spirit and the direct work of Christ, we will fail. We cannot do it alone. Ministry is never easy, and it is quite literally impossible without prayer support and encouragement.
This brings me to the second thing I would like to request: encouragement. Letters, phone calls, emails, Facebook posts, and any other way of letting us know that you are with us and behind us and praying for us would help greatly. Many of our ministers are becoming discouraged as we see all the ways that God could use our work, but we see at the same time all the ways that it is not being used. We know that God can do anything, and we have seen Him use The Integrity Project® time and again to change people; but at the time being it seems that we have reached the limit of all we are able to do and we cannot continue on the way things are going.
And so in that same vein, there is one more thing we need, difficult to ask for and yet so necessary: financial support. Hyssop Ministries is a platform for other ministries, and The Integrity Project® is one of these that we have begun and that we wholeheartedly believe in. God can use anything to change hearts and lives, and we have faith that He has called us to this ministry and that He will see us through. However, without financial support for our ministries, we cannot continue to pursue them full time. Money should never be anyone’s motivation to do ministry; but neither should it be the reason they have to stop.
I am excited to see where God leads us, and I am happy to share our journey with you. We would also love to hear from you! Your prayers are appreciated, as well as your letters and notes of encouragement. Any financial contribution that you choose to make may also be tax deductible as Hyssop Ministries is a 501-(c)3 Non-Profit organization. Please prayerfully consider how you can get involved, and if we can be of service to you please let us know how we can help. Thank you for your prayers, your time, and your ears. God bless.
For more information on getting involved, visit our website at www.hyssop.org. Click the “Donate” tab to contribute, or just read about our ministries and make yourself at home. Be sure to like us on FaceBook at facebook.com/hyssopministries.
We can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.