Truck Stops: a Mission Field Nearby
Hal Larson knows trucking. He was a truck driver for 15 years. He also knows truckers and how they think and how they live —on the road, away from family, facing many temptations. But Hal also knows Jesus, and He put a burden on his heart for those truckers.
The home-away-from-home for the trucker is the truck stop. Thousands dot the off ramps of the interstate highways. Besides fuel and repair, most have hot showers, good food, space to park the sleepers, recreation rooms with TV and internet hookups.
What is lacking in most of them is spiritual food and support. Larson decided to pick out a stop near his home in Virginia and see what he could do about that. Oddly enough, the owners were Hindu, but agreed to let Larson set up the TV room as a chapel on Sunday mornings and invite the drivers to church.
For 7 years since he started Trucking for Christ, Hal and helpers from his church have been coming early and handing out flyers inviting the drivers to the chapel. Some who come are lone truckers but some travel with their families. Many of the drivers are women.
When they come, the truckers get a simple, no nonsense gospel. With a different congregation each week, Hal doesn’t need to vary his message much. But they include an astonishing range of beliefs. “We have had people from the cults, occults, Satanists, a couple of Hindus and a black Muslim all get saved here, including hookers,” Hal says. Hal has many stories of victory over the devil. One who came in to the chapel had a mother who had been praying for him for years. After Hal led him to the Lord, “He couldn’t wait to get on the phone to call his mother.”
Since he started, over 400 have been saved with someone receiving the Lord in almost every service. Many rededications happen and King James New Testaments are given to everyone who comes. In some services, every trucker takes a JESUS SAVES bumper sticker for his truck.
Hal often just wanders through the stop, praying for an opportunity to minster one-on-one. He can tell when a driver is down and discouraged. He will introduce himself as the truck stop chaplain and ask if he can help. Often the driver will pour out his heart about strained family relationships. Over-the-road drivers are often away from home for days or weeks at a time.
Hal will show them that submitting to the Lord Jesus Christ is the first step out of their dilemma. If they accept Jesus, Hal will give them further council, a KJV Bible if they need one, the beginning lessons of a correspondence course, some Chick tracts when he can afford them, and point them to a good, Bible-believing church near their home. He has developed a list of such churches all over the country where he can send them. Not all drivers need salvation. Some are Christians who need some fellowship and encouragement. Hal will pray for whatever they need, whether it is ill family members or a son in Iraq.
Hal’s vision is to have a permanent chapel on the grounds of the stop. He also prays that others would get the vision of this ministry. Every church near an interstate highway has the same opportunity to minister to this lonely crowd.
If you would like to know more about how to start such a ministry at a truck stop near your church or just want to send a note of encouragement, Hal invites you to contact him at Trucking for Christ, P.O. Box 14531, Norfolk, Va. 23518 or at 1-757-535-7423.
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