When Bryan Elliott isn’t delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service, he devotes his time to delivering what he believes is the most important message of all.
Words by Terrell Manasco | Images by Blakeney Clouse
I’m a messenger by trade, but I’m a messenger by calling also. The message is very important to me, even more so than the messenger.
As a boy, the specter of death haunted him.
When Bryan Elliott was nine years old, he was terrified of death. He could not bear the thought of dying or losing a family member. That fear stalked him like a predator. He would often ask others, “What happens to you when you die?”
The answers were typically the same: if you’re good, you go to Heaven. If you’re not good, you end up in a horrible place where you really don’t want to go.
Life seemed pointless. Grow up, fall in love, get married, find a job, have kids. Then you die. It didn’t make sense.
One night at New Canaan Baptist Church on Walston Bridge Road, the pieces fell into place. In a soft, mellow voice, Bryan recalls the moment his life changed. “My dad went up the aisle and said he would give his life to Christ,” he says. “It was like a light bulb went off in my head. I understood for the first time that if I died that night, I would spend eternity in Hell because of my sins.”
During my conversion experience, I remember going behind the church to pray, I confessed to God that I am a sinner. I confessed Jesus as my Lord. I told God that I believed Jesus died for my sins on that cross, was buried, and rose again. I trusted in what Jesus has done for me and that alone, to save me from my sins. Then, I asked him to save me like He saved my daddy.
Perhaps you have seen Bryan hiking through a Jasper neighborhood, a mailbag hanging off the shoulderof his blue United States Postal Service uniform. For the last 23 years, he’s been a letter carrier with the Jasper Post Office. He says he enjoys his job because it allows him to get to know people better. “I love people and I try see them the way Jesus sees them,” Bryan says. “I enjoy being a part of people’s lives. I see a lot of them outside of work and develop those relationships. Later I get to share my faith with them. I see this whole city as my mission field.”
The Gospel is defined for us in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, ‘that Christ died for our sins according to scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the scriptures.’ This is a simple message, but it is ‘the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.’ Romans 1:16.
Bryan and his wife, Jessica, (“She’s a precious jewel to me”) have been happily married for 15 years and have five children: Emery, Claudia, Brynley, Sarah, and Josiah. Experience has taught him a great deal about being a father, but Bryan says the standard of truth in the Elliott home is the King James Bible. “I think the most important thing is getting your priorities in order,” he says. “The top three things should be the Lord Jesus Christ, your spouse, then your children. If you can get those three things right, it goes a long way in being a good dad.”
It is hard to conceive how that a holy, righteous, and just God could ever allow sinners into His presence in Heaven. I wish that I could make people understand the seriousness of sin against God. Repentance is a change of mind about sin in which one turns from sin to God.
Teaching young people is something Bryan feels strongly about, so much that he does not limit it to his own five children. On Sundays, he also teaches Bible classes for 1stto 6th grade children at Jasper’s First Baptist Church. “My main goal is to share the gospel with them until they’ve heard it so much that they can share their faith with other people,” he says. “We try to do that through memorizing Scriptures and Bible drill competitions. It’s a fun way of teaching them about Jesus.”
The journey has not always been a smooth one. The road is often fraught with potholes. There have been missed exits and unexpected detours. Some days are diamonds, as John Denver once sang, and some days are stones. Yet, even on the darkest of days, the fear of death no longer haunts Bryan.
Jesus Christ my Lord, and His gospel, is what I’m passionate about, and that’s what I want this article to be about.
“The Christian life is not an easy life,” he says simply. “There is persecution in it and rejection from the world, but there is no greater joy and no greater peace than living for Jesus.” 78