A special relationship has formed between Hephzibah62:4 and the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia.
The sale of the former Hephzibah property on Zebulon Road in Macon, Georgia, had become necessary to retain the organization’s assets and enable the ministry of Hephzibah to continue. It shouldn’t surprise us that our God, “…who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20) has provided beyond our expectations.
Sherry Gorveatte, who led the Hephzibah Ministries, Inc. board through the revisioning process and sale of the property, said, “When I received the call in December (2018) that the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia had just left the campus [following a tour for possible purchase], I felt such a sense of peace. It was unexplainable because they had not even made an offer. Only the Lord could have orchestrated this. Shortly afterward, an offer was made. Following negotiations, our boards came to an agreement and the closing date was set.”
Soon after, Gorveatte traveled to the property to visit with the staff and work through transitional business. She describes the providential moment when she met Pat Chastain, Rescue Mission CEO. “I told him I had done some study on the Rescue Mission and realized we both desired to impact the lives of vulnerable children. I told him that we were entrusting the property to them and partnering with them. As I said this, I held out my hands as though I was handing him something. He took my hands and said he received it. Once again, I sensed God’s peace in this process.”
The sale was finalized on March 14, 2019, and after renovations are complete, the property and its facilities will allow the Rescue Mission capacity to serve 200 men, women and children in the name of Christ.
With the funds from the sale of the property released and invested, God is leading Hephzibah62:4 into a bright new future. I began my role as Hephzibah62:4 director on March 18, 2019, to develop the new mission that had come into clear view during the revisioning process, to “equip and mobilize local Wesleyan churches to transform the lives of vulnerable children.” This new mission has the potential to reach many thousands of vulnerable children and families across North America, and we’re already seeing the fruit of this new mission, even throughout the work of transition.
The question remained of what would come of the historic Bettie Tyler home, the original Hephzibah Orphanage, that had been lovingly moved to the Zebulon Road property and restored in 2000. A thorough investigation of possibilities was conducted for moving the house to a Wesleyan property, but all options proved to be cost-prohibitive.
As the Rescue Mission was notified of the decision for the home to remain on the property, God again provided. Chastain said he views the home as an important piece of the property’s history and is overjoyed that the home will remain. He gave his assurance that this special building will be used to minister to vulnerable men, women and children.
In September, I had the opportunity to visit the former Hephzibah property, explore the Bettie Tyler home, have a special meeting and tour of some of the renovated facilities with Chastain.
This is a sacred place that has been set apart, an important piece of Hephzibah history as well as the future of the Rescue Mission. Our hearts will forever be connected because of God’s provision for both ministries.
Chastain expressed he was touched by the gift presented on behalf of Hephzibah62:4 to the Rescue Mission, a framed portrait of Bettie Tyler along with an inspired letter she wrote to the Wesleyans in 1922, as she passed the baton of the ministry of Hephzibah Orphanage near the end of her life. The gift includes this dedication:
Presented by Hephzibah62:4, a subsidiary of The Wesleyan Church, to the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia on September 11, 2019:
May the rich Hephzibah legacy that God birthed in Bettie Tyler in 1900 and entrusted to the Wesleyans in 1922 continue to be found on this special property and beyond! May God’s richest blessings be yours as you expand the vision given to Sergeant A.E. McGee in 1952, to proclaim and demonstrate to the vulnerable and hurting that “Jesus Cares!”
The letter ends with a sobering challenge that still speaks powerfully to The Wesleyan Church, Hephzibah62:4 and the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia today:
The thing most to be afraid of is grieving the Father of the fatherless by proving yourselves unequal to the momentous responsibly He has laid upon you ….
We feel this is only the beginning of Hephzibah’s prosperity. We feel that you Wesleyans are going to unite and make this a model Home, that you are going to labor and pray and sacrifice to that end. You shall have my prayers and cooperation as long as I live and when I am dead I have an idea that I will come back as a ministering spirit.
Yours to do and dare and suffer for the orphans,
Bettie Tyler (p. 37-38)
Metz, Alberta. Touching Tomorrow, The Story of Hephzibah Children’s Home. Second Edition Revision by Ronald R. Brannon. Wesleyan Publishing House, 1998.
Learn more about HEPHZIBAH62:4, a revisioned subsidiary organization of The Wesleyan Church dedicated to equipping and mobilizing local Wesleyan churches to transform the lives of vulnerable children.
Learn more about CAFO2020, the Christian Alliance for Orphans’ annual summit. Hephzibah62:4 will hold a shoulder event as an opportunity for Wesleyans to gather at this May 2020 event.