Experts may say the world is in the 11th hour and may be approaching apocalypse, because of the downturn in the environment due to man-made pollution. Others say that many animal species are in their 11th hour because of the threat of extinction. Then there is the threat and presence of war, division and discrimination which often makes us feel that humankind is approaching the 11th hour.
The truth is that we are in the 11th hour. The Bible clearly tells us that we are in the end times, and frankly, the worldâ€™s time clock might be a little slow. But whether or not it is 10 minutes to midnight or five, time is flying by and gospel trio, 11th Hour, desires to spread the knowledge of salvation through Jesus before the clock strikes 12.
Amber Eppinette has been the owner and soprano of the group since she began the trio 10 years ago, at the age of 16. This lady has more stage presence and ability to communicate than artists twice her age, yet that does not seem to have changed her attitude or her vision for the group.
This powerful soprano has seen the groupâ€™s songs rise in the charts and enjoyed award nominations and achievements. The music of 11th Hour is heard across the nation and the world, yet she is humble and respectful of her call from God.
â€œI truly believe itâ€™s everything from knowing what our call is and that is to minister, on and off the stage, to having a great team that supports and backs us,â€ says Eppinette. â€œOur families, the Crossroads label, Beckie Simmons Agency, the churches, and of course all of the D.J.s that believe in our music to play it.â€
The music of 11th Hour can be found on their seven recordings, which includes a recent Christmas album. One single released to radio that received a lot of attention was â€œPower in Prayer.â€ This song also brings positive response when performed live during a concert.
â€œOn the â€˜Silence the Stonesâ€™ project, â€˜Power in Prayerâ€™ is probably the most requested,â€ states alto vocalist, Jaquita Lindsey. â€œThereâ€™s not a person in the crowd that canâ€™t relate with the lyrics to that song. Every one of us have been through a trial and can testify that thereâ€™s power in prayer.â€Â
An 11th Hour song that is personally poignant to Lindsey still receives a lot of airplay.
â€œThe song that never gets old is a song that Amber wrote years ago with Joseph Habedank called, â€˜He Sees What We Donâ€™t.â€™ Thereâ€™s hardly a service that the altar doesnâ€™t flood during that song. I get a blessing watching God move in others.â€
In her fourth year with the trio, Lindsey has come into her own. This young lady assuredly presents her faith with a voice that will bring her more accolades in the future. As sweet and humble as her fellow singers, Lindsey knows that her life is in the hands of a loving God.
â€œThere are times that I realize how blessed 11th Hour is for our ages and the opportunities that we get,â€ the alto states. â€œI never thought I would enjoy working weekends. I love having Monday off. Although, I do miss out on some special events on the weekends. Itâ€™s hard being away from family and friends when theyâ€™re having special moments, while youâ€™re singing to a crowd that may not seem too excited to see you. I just have to remind myself that there may be one who needs to hear a song of ours.â€
Although the desire to share the love of Christ is still paramount, sometimes the routine can get difficult for full-time artists who are on the road.
â€œItâ€™s so difficult at times to remember why we do the late nights and early mornings,â€ Lindsey confesses. â€œLast year, I went through the most trying time personally. I just did as David did and encouraged myself in the Lord to the best of my ability. Also, I have some God-given, amazing friends and family who keep me going.â€Â
The third member of the trio, Logan Smith, also has a strong family base on which he leans.
â€œIâ€™ve been raised by incredible parents that taught us to stay surrounded by people that make better versions of ourselves,â€ Smith says. â€œIâ€™m grateful for that. In the crazy world we live in, itâ€™s so easy to get wrapped up in the wrong things. Iâ€™ve learned the hard way to keep folks around you that make you laugh, encourage you, and give you the hard truth when you need it. Itâ€™s important. I feel like all of that has played a huge role in making me who I am today.â€
Who Smith is today, is a well-rounded singer who many have watched grow up in gospel music. From a pre-teen to a 20-something, Smith has many years of vocal performance behind him, which gives him a great vocal range and diversity, as well as confidence and understanding of his call. Thatâ€™s not to say that he isnâ€™t still learning, however.
â€œI moved to Nashville last fall and itâ€™s been a tough adjustment,â€ admits Smith. â€œIâ€™m a homebody. Iâ€™m blessed to have three of my four grandparents living, and a niece and nephew all back home. Itâ€™s been hard not being 10 to 15 minutes down the road from everyone, but Iâ€™ve had so many dear friends in Nashville that have made me feel at home. Itâ€™s a good time in life right now. You really find out who you are when youâ€™re 300+ miles from any family and you start making your own routine.â€
Eppinette is thrilled that Smith made the move to 11th Hour and says the young vocalist is definitely an asset.
â€œThe blend is as if heâ€™s been with us for years,â€ says Eppinette. â€œHe also brings a new and fresh energy to the group. Iâ€™m thankful to have him.â€
Eppinette calls Smith an â€œold soul,â€ with a love of Country music, and Smith agrees.
â€œYou could give me a pot of coffee, a porch to sit on, sunshine, and good music and Iâ€™d be content all day,â€ says Smith.
â€œThereâ€™s never a serious or dull moment with Logan,â€ says Lindsey. â€œHe keeps us laughing.â€Â
The red-haired extrovert, Smith, calls Lindsey â€œcrafty,â€ because of her love of arts and handicrafts, including painting and restoration of old furniture. One thing he says people might not know about Eppinette is that, despite her confident stage presence and personality, she is actually an introvert. The leader says it makes life difficult at times.
â€œThe most challenging (part) for me is being around so many people at once,â€ says Eppinette. â€œI struggle a lot with anxiety, so crowds, though they are awesome, tend to scare me or trigger my anxiety at times. I work through that by prayer and of course, the group helps me as well by doing things at the table so I can breathe for a moment and get back out there.â€
Despite this, Eppinette loves her life. â€œI enjoy feeling the anointing of God upon myself but also in the unity of the group. Thereâ€™s nothing like the feeling of being in his will,â€ she says.
Smith agrees that there are both good times as well as challenging experiences as a gospel artist.Â
â€œI read a devotion the other day on Matthew 4 where Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil,â€ Smith says. â€œIt hit me that weâ€™re all tempted by evil, pleasures of the world, and itâ€™s so easy to fall into those traps. The devil loves to plant fear, depression, self doubt, and so many other things in our minds. He even tried to do so to the only sinless man thatâ€™s ever walked this earth.Â
â€œThereâ€™s been times in my life the devil has tried to tell me ministry isnâ€™t worth giving up 200+ days a year from your family, or tried to convince me that there’s no hope in this music we sing,â€ Smith admits. â€œBut I was also reminded that a lot of things in life are tests and weâ€™re bound to fail sometimes; weâ€™re human. Some days itâ€™s hard to keep our eyes on the prize. We all need Godâ€™s mercy and grace on a daily basis to make it through life. None of us are worthy of it, but Iâ€™m grateful His mercies are new every morning.â€
Lindsey also keeps her focus on the Lord through devotions. She says that her favorite scripture is Psalms 27:14: â€œWait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.â€
â€œEvery time in life where Iâ€™m demanding God to work (or) show me His will, I see this scripture pop up, what seems like everywhere. Iâ€™ve needed it so much over the last year and a half of my life,â€ Lindsey admits.
Waiting on the Lord is what Eppinette has needed to do in her life as well. She says her favorite scripture at the moment is: â€œBe still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.â€ Psalmsâ€¬ â€46:10â€¬.
â€œBeing still doesnâ€™t mean to be lazy and do nothing,â€ says Eppinette. â€œIt means to rest and know that He is God, while moving forward in your call.â€
The members of 11th Hour rely on the word of God for their foundation and on the people he has surrounded them with to keep getting on that stage, night after night. They are joyful, focused and assured that they are answering the call.
No no nocan say is that the Lord has truly blessed us,â€ says Lindsey. â€œItâ€™s been a privilege to watch God open doors. Weâ€™ve seen so many souls saved. Thatâ€™s what matters the most!â€
For more information on 11th Hour, visit 11thhourgg.com.
ByÂ Lorraine Walker
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in June 2019.
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