HIS Ministry, Inc.
The Real Story!
Saturday, May 10 found Amanda Fessant and her family ministering in Springfield for the Holy Grounds Coffee House and to help the Freedom Transition Center of Springfield.
HIS Ministry/Amanda Fessant reaches out in many areas of ministry both in her hometown of Paris and across the nation. Fessant and the HIS Dance Troupe are preparing at this time to leave on their annual mission trip to the Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona and surrounding area, so as Paul Harvey would say, "Now for the rest of the story!"
A young girl had a dream all her life to sing, that you girl was Amanda (Pate) Fessant, yet for years, she tried out for chorus and never made the grade. Being told over and over she did not have what it took to live out her dream hurt extremely and she acted out much to the dismay of her parents.
Her father, a member of a local gospel group, was always encouraging her to do her best at whatever she tried, but singing was still in her heart. Up through junior high she tried but failed to make the chorus.
Then she became quite ill with a throat infection and had to have two serious procedures done to her throat. As she healed, she was up in her room being herself-and that means singing to teh popular Christian tapes of the time. Suddenly the tape stopped. She continued to sing and then began to sing a song she made up on the spot. Thinking, "Wow, that doesn't sound so bad."
She rushed downstairs to her parents and asked them to listen. Being a little reluctant, but not wanting to hurt her feelings, they listened and to their amazement, she sang very well.
Her father asked, "Where did that come from?" and her reply was "I guess it is a God thing!"
The doctors say her throat healed crooked, she says it was by God's design.
That was the beginning. She made swing choir the next fall as she entered high school and soon after began to sing for the Lord. Her first concert was in 1991 at the age of 15 for the Edgar County Right to Life Youth Rally. Pro-life was a very important cause for her and wanting to do something special for the event, she wrote a special song for the occasion, which would go on to cross the nation to save babies' lives and become the anthem for many pro-life organizations. That song, "A Baby's Cry," is still requested to this day.
There have been many times Fessant has been in a concert and had a mother come to her to request that she have her picture taken with a child that was saved as a result of that song, a song from the heart of a young child driven by a dream to sing for the Lord.
Now what to name this ministry? She searched her heart and said, "this is not my ministry, it cannot be called by my name because it is about Him, it is His Ministry." Her mother said, "Yes! It is HIS Ministry." Fessant responded, "that is what I said." It began to sound like a comedy routine from the past, like "who's on first!" So HIS Ministry got its name, because as Fessant states, its not about her, its about Him, all about Him, and serving Him by serving others.
So what shall we say it stands for if someone asks, for our Lord and Savior, was Amanda's reply, but this young girl came up with what she felt was a good message in the name. HIS: Hope - Inspire - Serve, that is what she feels the ministry is all about.
She wanted to sing, but there had to be more of a purpose for the ministry. She felt a need to be of service, not fulfill a dream or desire of a personal nature. She worked for the pro-life movement, and then she became involved in issues such as self-esteem. She wrote a program, and then began to conduct seminars and classes on the topic of "God-esteem," which is copyrighted. This program is to help people to learn to love the person who God created them to be, not what society tries to make them feel they must be.
Fessant feels strongly about missions here in the United States, our own backyard so to speak. She was invited to join forces with other groups in the efforts to bring trust and peace to the Apache Indian Reservation after an unfortunate incident which had created many hard feelings toward those in the Arizona region. Fessant took up the challenge and has now, for the past four years, been very active in mission work with the Apache Tribe and has made many long lasting friendships there. She has been asked to participate in events that most outsiders are never privileged to observe. This has been a most rewarding experience for her and the young girls that travel with her.
Which brings us to another of her ministry endeavors-the youth. Fessant, about eight years ago, brought on board a group of young ladies that travel with her called "HIS Dance Troupe." These young ladies would and do go to events that are mainly youth oriented. They traveled to Arizona, where they have been a very integral part of the mission work. They have made videos, which are used for promotion and for youth events. They do camps and seminars with Fessant. She has younger groups of girls that do events in Paris that are also very talented. This is a thrill to all that see them and are blessed by their talent, but also is a great opportunity for them to be of service.
HIS Ministry reached out to the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As soon as Fessant heard of the catastrophe, she called down to see what the ministry could do to help. Soon the board and Fessant began to put all their efforts into action. The first trip down, she and her mother, Marion Pate, took baby supplies, cleaning supplies, and some clothing. Fessant did concerts to help relieve stress and tension, bring joy and comfort. Fessant and her mother were among the first that were allowed into New Orleans that day that the city was open.
Two subsequent trips follo9wed. A Christmas trip that delivered over 2,000 gifts to children in Slidell, Robert, New Orleans and the surrounding areas, this is all due to the wonderful contributions of the people of Paris. They were able to visit five FEMA camps, a Christian school where they distributed 340+ gifts to children, and several area churches. Fessant did a benefit concert to raise funds for a Christian radio station to help it get back on the air. The last trip was the following spring to take positive books and Christian material for the libraries that had been destroyed in many of the churches and the Christian school. At the time, Fessant gave talks to seven different school classes and did concerts at some of the surrounding churches.
Fessant has taken an interest in the Freedom Transition Center in Springfield and goes there to do fundraising. The center is a place where recently released prisoners may go to transition back into society. It helps them find jobs, get enrolled in college, and have a place to call home, and also to have someone to be accountable to for their actions. This has proven to be very successful in changing lives.
Fessant's activities have grown extensively in the Arizona area. The work there is very heart breaking and heart warming at the same time. She spends a day at the UMC Pediatric Ward, where she is allowed to do a concert for the patients and their parents. She is able to visit with them and comfort them, and then she and the girls are allowed to go tot he rooms of those unable to attend the concert and visit. Fessant always leaves pictures of the girls and herself and a CD for each child. The hospital personnel always seem to enjoy the day and are all so excited to see the group come. They tell them it is good for the morale of the kids and parents alike.
The ministry spends Saturday while in Arizona, with the children of the TMM Children Home in Tucson. There the girls from the ministry teach the teens how to do the praise dances to Fessant's music and they are then allowed to perform with the dance troupe and Fessant for the evening concert. This day is spent making the group of young children feel good about themselves. Fessant says that it is hard not to bring some of them home with her. She has some of them cling to her and ask her to be their mother. "That is heart breaking, you want to bring them all home, but you know you can't!" says Fessant.
This year, added to Fessant's work schedule in Arizona will be the "Festival of Hope" to be held in a park in Tucson. It is an outreach to those that are written-off by most of society. Fessant was called and asked to headline this event a month or so ago.
"What a great opportunity to do what I feel this ministry is truly called to do and that is Go and Tell!" said Fessant. "Also, they will come to a park to a concert that is free, more likely than enter a church door where they feel they are being judged. I want to do a concert where they are being shown the Love of Christ and no strings attached, just come hear what God has to offer."
Fessant does many concerts in the Paris area. One of her pleasures is the HIS and Friends concerts she holds at Lake Ridge Christian Church three times a year. This is a time that she can showcase other talent and allows the area churches to see what is available for them to bring in to bless their congregations. She feels Edgar County and the area has loads of talent that needs to be heard. She feels it is part of her ministry to promote others for the cause of Christ.
What is the greatest concern and portion of efforts being used in the ministry at this time?
"Well, that would be CHRISTMAS for KIDS!" exclaimed Fessant. " I know it seems early, but it is necessary as it has grown so much. It has taken first priority as it has grown so big that we now have to bring in more help and I am glad to say that Dawn Kirby and Patty Brewington are what we call our purchasing agents! They have already hit the sales for this coming Christmas and we have secured a storage area for the gifts. Patty has a spread sheet and we are trying to get ahead of the game this year as we know that it is to be even bigger this year and I am grateful for the help of so many in the Paris area that care so much."
Fessant and Pate want to assure everyone that the ministry will continue to grow. Pate says that Fessant will still do CDs as long as the Lord allows, there will be radio releases, and concerts, tec., but she states the main focus will always be service to others and "Go and Tell." Pate is the administrative director for the ministry.
Fessant has, as many know, several CDs to her credit and has several songs that have charted. Recently, she was featured on a series of interviews that are now on CD for sale called "Woman of Faith Facing Adversity." She is one of four in this collection being interviewed by Glorya Wilson. One may obtain any of the above mentioned CDs by contacting the office of HIS Ministry at 217-466-9825 or write HIS Ministry, P.O. Box 1025, Paris, IL 61944.
Fessant is grateful that she is being recognized for her efforts by the fans in the Agape Fest Fan Appreciation Awards. She made the finals in three categories: Female Horizon, Female Songwriter, and Outstanding Achievement for 2007. She looks forward to many more years in the Christian Country Music field and is so grateful for all the new friends she has made in this genre. She said she is particularly excited about last years top five nomination for Female Horizon for the ICM Awards. What a total blessing and honor.
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