The Gospel Arrives at the Truck Stop
I’m Michael DeBay and I am the lead Chaplain here at the Ontario, California Transport for Christ ministry. We are an international network with chapels all over the world. Our ministry is leading truck drivers, as well as the trucking community, to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith.
Most missionaries have to leave the comforts of their home, the comforts of their countries, but in our case the world comes to us. Truck drivers are all over the United States and they never know where they’re going to be from one day to the next. It’s not easy for them to just to pull up to a church and park and go because they never know where they’re going to be.
So for the last 60 years, we have taken a 53-foot trailer, converted it into a very unique chapel, and we have services every night and weekends. On this trailer we have a cross that sits on the top of it that lights up — it’s 8-foot high — and we also have a cross on the front of our trailer too. We try to be as visible as possible.
We’re open every day and basically we work with truck drivers and also work with a lot of homeless people because that’s the type of people that you’ll find inside a truck stop.
One of the things that we do is go through this 33-acre truck stop where there could be anywhere from 5 to 600 trucks. We’ll just walk it or drive through it very carefully and we’ll get out and make contacts. We let the truckers know when we’re having services and we’ll ask them if they’d like to come.
You’d be surprised how somebody will say, “I’m a Muslim,” and let us know in a firm way they are Muslim. But we tell everyone in a very nice loving way, “God bless you, and we don’t care what you are, we’re just having a church service and you’re welcome to come.”
I was introduced to the Global Recordings Network (GRN) a couple of years ago and they have been such a help. GRN gives us the gospel stories on CDs in different languages.
Probably 70 percent of the drivers do not speak English, or if they do it’s very broken. Now when they come in, I’ll ask them, “What’s your native language?” And we’re able to give them the gospel in their language because of the GRN recordings and the resources they give us like the CDs. Every driver has a CD player. So it works out great.
Most of the languages that we have on CD are languages I’d never even heard of until now. We’re just so excited to be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people from another country where it may be against the law for them to even hear about Jesus. For example, we have a lot of people here from Saudi Arabia, believe it or not, and we have CDs in their language now.
I remember there were two black gentleman who I had met and in their broken English said, “Do you have anything in our language?” I asked them if they were Christians, and they said, “Yes, we believe in Jesus. Do you have something for us? Something in our language?”
I brought them back here to our trailer chapel and I let them go through all our CDs. They saw a CD that was labeled Good News – Swahili, Tanzania audio CD, and they were so excited. There were two of them and I gave them two CDs, one for each one of them.
Michael DeBay | Chaplain
Transport for Christ — Ontario, California