McALISTERVILLE-- Twenty-year-old Isaac Hassinger is being used by God to pull on heart strings.
Hassinger, a singer, rapper, songwriter and all-around musician also known as Appollo J, is using his skills to get to Baja, Mexico, and further present the Gospel.
The McAlisterville man, who released his first album "Heartstrings" earlier this year on iTunes and other online music outlets, is getting ready to embark on a trip with Global Expedition which will allow him to provide worship music for a vacation Bible school program, take part in street evangelism and help assemble a home. Two hundred teens and college-aged young adults from across the Unites States are signed up to go on the trip Dec. 28 to Jan. 4.
Isaac Hassinger is shown on the cover of his new album, ‘Heartstrings,’ released earlier this year online.
Hassinger has been raising money over the last few months via concerts in churches and the Fayette Lion's Den, presenting his new musical style which is comparable to nationally known recording artist Toby Mac. Over $500 has been raised. He is short $177 for the trip and close to another $500 needed for the airfare.
There are no events booked currently, though Hassinger is hoping to do some Christmas programs for groups and churches who are interested.
Raising the money for the trip is only a very small part of why he does what he does musically.
"I have really just wanted to minister to young adults and teenagers and change how people see a Christian. There are a lot of issues young Christians face that get swept under the rug and you don't hear churches talk about," he said.
Hassinger's poetic spoken word and songs with a hip hop vibe touch on subjects like insecurity, emotional pain, relationships and how God can intercede in those areas.
The sound may not be one that everyone is used to, he said, except for the secular market.
"I have seen and heard a lot of negative things in secular music. This kind of (secular) music is all about drugs, girls and money. I want to make the music sound similar but bring an uplifting message," Hassinger said.
The heart of the music he creates centers around Jesus Christ and what he has done for Hassinger and other people in his life.
Hassinger shares his testimony during performances, declaring he was a "baby" Christian with struggles of self -worth. He speaks openly about the fact he is adopted and that he has medical problems.
Hassinger plays multiple instruments including the piano, various guitars, drums and cello. Music helps him connect with God and speak to others about that relationship, now with lyrics.
He also gives musical lessons on the side as a small business venture.
"It's not about making a lot of money," he stressed. While going on the trip to Baja is important to him, he noted he does not want to make his ministry about supplying funds for anything other than to continue to spread the gospel. The music ministry and the missions ministry has become a full circle helping him to use one to do the other and still impact people in each effort.
Even his stage name, Appollo J, opens doors to minister.
Hassinger was adopted by Mia and Brian Hassinger at age 2 and given the name Isaac and the middle name Jacob. His original name, Appollo was kept as his middle name as well, making his birth certificate read Isaac Appollo Jacob Hassinger.
He tells the story in his concerts of how he was born in the back of an ambulance to a drug addicted, alcoholic mother in Philadelphia.
"So I was born a drug baby weighing only a pound and a half." He was told his birth mother got out of the ambulance and walked away after she gave birth. Hassinger was hospitalized for many weeks to come. The nurses in the Philadelphia hospital took a liking to the little "fighter."
"It was 1992 and another Rocky movie came out. There was this guy in the movie, Rocky's big, black opponent named Apollo" So the nurses gave their tiny fighter a big name.
Hassinger said it made sense to him to keep that name when he performs and liken it to how God gave him a new family and a new name just like when Jesus enters the heart and believers are given a new family in Christ and are made new.
"It's very humbling," he said of the testimony.
Churches and groups interested in booking Hassinger for an event can contact him at 717-463-2875 or "like" Appollo J on Facebook and send a private message.