Jess Garcia and wife, Emily, with the "Holy Roller"
"We use Chick tracts because they get read!" says Jess Garcia
They get food for body and spirit from the "Holy Roller."
Gospel Trailer dubbed the "Holy Roller"
Jess Garcia has used Chick tracts most of his life. Born into a Bible-believing family, he early committed his life to Christ and understood the obligation of the Great Commission. When he discovered the effectiveness of tracts, he knew he had found a way to "give back to the Lord for the wonderful gift of salvation."
For years he ran a cold storage facility and repaired farm equipment in the central California agricultural area. But whenever he left a job site, he left the gospel behind in the form of a tract or two on the seat of the tractor he had repaired.
He remembers many incidents over the years where the tracts opened a door to share the gospel. In one dental office, he attempted to hand a tract to a burly-looking man who immediately reacted with belligerence, demanding that Jess "step outside" and discuss it.
Jess agreed, prepared to dodge a flying fist. Instead, the man melted into tears, cried for a while on Jess`s shoulder and gratefully allowed Jess to pray and minister to him. Burdened for the spiritual and physical needs of the people in his rural community, he began to pray for a way to expand his ministry. The Lord called his attention to a small, used, travel trailer that he could buy for $100.
With his mechanical ingenuity, Jess could see it as a mobile base for outreach. He bought it, hauled it home, christened it the "Holy Roller" and began modifying it with signs and openings where tracts, hotdogs and clothing could be given away.
Jess grew up in church and knew that a successful outreach had to involve local churches where converts could be discipled to spiritual maturity, not just led in a "sinner`s prayer."
When the Holy Roller was ready, he contacted local churches who held frequent food giveaways to the community and arranged to park the trailer nearby.
Jess says that the very first time he had the trailer out, a young man came to the Lord and is now being discipled in one of the churches.
When no special event is scheduled, Jess and his wife, Emily, and sometimes other members of their family will just take it out to a park, shopping center or other high-foot-traffic area.
His grown children and even grandchildren often help get the tracts to the people walking by.
He says that his 5-year-old granddaughter has learned to read the tracts and she will gather younger children around and read one of the tracts to them. "I especially enjoy seeing a youngster with a hotdog in one hand and a Chick tract in the other," says Jess.
The area has many Roman Catholic migrant workers, so Jess uses a lot of the Chick tracts designed to open their eyes to the truth.
When the tract raises questions, Jess will give them a King James Bible and encourage them to compare it with their Bible, using the tracts for a guide. Many of the people are also more comfortable with the Spanish language so Jess keeps a stock of tracts in both languages.
He also works closely with both English and Spanish churches for follow up of converts and inquirers.
As Jess has used the trailer around the community, people are beginning to come and ask for more tracts for friends and family. "I make sure they get a handful because I know that they will get read and passed around. We never have to worry about litter when we hand out the tracts, because no one throws them away," says Jess.