Following his father: Marty Haggard bringing his ministry to Southeast Missouri

Saturday, August 23, 2008

When Marty Haggard talks about doing his father's work, it's not country music legend Merle Haggard he's talking about, but his heavenly father.

Marty Haggard has had a successful career as a singer and songwriter in Nashville, Tenn. He has been an actor and has been a member of Merle Haggard's band for years. Now he is known solely for his ministry.

"It's a low-key ministry," said his agent, Jodie Barrilleaux, who also sings with Marty Haggard's band, and whose husband, Dwayne, is a guitarist. "It's very unique, very personal."

Marty Haggard will be in four locations in Southeast Missouri next week to spread the gospel. He'll sing some. He'll talk some about his life and about "doing his father's business," Barrilleaux said.

Dixie Troyer of Marquand, Mo., said she has heard Haggard's ministry before and worked to bring him to Southeast Missouri.

"He talked about following in his dad's footsteps and how God kept trying to bring him to his work," Troyer said. "Finally he said, 'OK, I'm ready.' He's been through a lot."

On Friday, the ministry will be at Whippoorwill Lake campground in Marble Hill, Mo. Admission may be charged to enter the campground.

The next day at 5 p.m., Haggard's ministry will be at The Bridge, at the corner of Frederick Street and Jefferson Avenue in Cape Girardeau. The Bridge and the House of Hope are ministries under the umbrella of Teen Challenge. There will be no admission charge, but a love offering will be collected.

At 10 a.m. Aug. 31, he will be at Sedgewickville Baptist Church and that evening at Moore's Chapel Baptist Church in Marquand, where love offerings will again be accepted.

Haggard, 50, became a Christian when he was about 25 years old, Barrilleaux said. His music and acting career was going along well for him until he was sidelined by a severe auto accident.

In 1995, in the middle of recording an album, he left the music industry and entered the ministry. He now sings music he has written that "shares the power of his own conversion and a desire to know the Lord. ... Marty's sound is soulful, drawing from his personal experience," according to the news release Barrilleaux sent.

Haggard and his wife, Tessa, operate the ministry. He has appeared in churches throughout the South and across the country and on television programs nationwide.

Last year he appeared in about 150 performances, Barrilleaux said. His ministry reaches people wherever he goes, but Barrilleaux said, "It's the Lord's business how many people he has reached and how he has affected them."

"We take care of spiritual matters," Barrilleaux said. "It's not a ministry of so many saved. Marty just shares what is given to him. He's a real humble man."

335-6611, extension 160

Want to go?

* What: Marty Haggard ministry

* When, where: 6 p.m. Friday, Whippoorwill Lake campground, Marble Hill, Mo.; 5 p.m. Aug. 30, The Bridge, Cape Girardeau; 10 a.m. Aug. 31, Sedgewickville Baptist Church; 6 p.m. Aug. 31, Moore's Chapel Baptist Church, Marquand, Mo.

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