Dispatches

Finding Christ in a Pickup Truck

God found a lost sheep in the unlikeliest of places.

Have you ever led someone to Christ under unique circumstances? I am always amazed to find God working outside of our understanding and conventions. By the time you think you’ve got God figured out, He surprises you with something totally unconventional. 

It was Easter Sunday, and the crowd entering the corps at which we were stationed was growing at an exceptional rate. This was our first Easter Sunday, and we wondered where we would put all the people that we anticipated would be coming for the Holiness service. Sunrise service, breakfast and Sunday school were finished, and there was a large congregation waiting to celebrate the resurrection of our Savior.

During the service, I had included a children’s lesson, and on that particular morning, I left the platform and stood in front of the Holiness table to present that lesson.  Needing a child to help with my lesson, I called upon Billy, and he came forward. Billy was not always the best child in church, but he was my choice that morning.  

His mother had been attending the corps for a few months and had finally convinced her husband to come just for the morning worship.  

During the children’s lesson, I got down on one knee and put my arm around the young boy. I talked to him about how Christ had risen and how glad we should be for that. After I completed the lesson, I sent Billy back to his seat and continued the service.   

While sitting on the platform waiting to deliver the sermon, I noticed that Billy’s Dad seemed ill at ease. Not thinking too much about it, I took my place behind the pulpit and began speaking the word of truth and celebrating the risen Savior. Nearing the end of the sermon, I gave a call to repentance, and several came forward to pray. Billy’s Dad got up and went out the back door of the chapel. We finished the closing song (you know the one—“Up from the Grave He Arose”) and had the closing prayer.  

As I approached the rear of the chapel, my wife said that Billy’s Dad, Larry, had gone out into the parking lot. I went out and found him in his old pickup truck. Tears were streaming down his face, and he said to me, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I haven’t cried in years. When I saw you hug my son, I didn’t know what to do. No one hugs Billy, because they think he is a bad boy.”  

I let myself into the passenger side of the truck and asked Larry, “Do you know why you’re crying?” He said that all he knew was that I was the first person to care enough about his son to embrace him. I said, “Larry, I think there’s more to it than that. I think God wants you to accept Him as Lord of your life.” In that moment, in the front seat of his pickup truck, Larry accepted the Lord and became a new man. We prayed the Sinner’s Prayer, and I took the time to explain what that meant. Larry was saved and would spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven. 

I made an appointment to visit with him in his home that next week. What a change in Larry. He was clean-shaven and happy to see the captain and his wife. Larry’s wife was describing the change, as Larry was reading the Word every day and wanted us to start a Bible study at his home on a weekly basis.  

On the busiest church day of the year, God found a lost sheep in the front seat of a pickup truck, and I found a friend. Such a thing would seem out of the ordinary for us, but never for God. 

I was fortunate to be able to bring Larry to Christ, but it wasn’t just me. His wife and friends were praying for him. God’s people are powerful when they pray, and I was fortunate enough to find a true brother in Christ.

1 Peter 4:11

If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 

McKinney Dove is a retired Corps officer of 32 years. Now living with his wife, Debi, in Yakima, Washington, and Rockaway Beach, Oregon. He was a professional musician before hearing the call to Officership in 1975. He and Debi serve as soldiers in the Yakima Corps and remain grateful that God continues to bless them.

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