Missouri Baptists refurbish 18-wheeler; cargo to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Bob BaysingerManaging Editor
July 20, 2004
EDGERTON – Pastor Rick Lumm and some men at Mt. Zion Baptist Church have decided to take the Gospel “out into the highways.”
Mt. Zion – a mission-minded, smaller Missouri Baptist church located midway between Kansas City and St. Joseph in this quiet, little Missouri town – thought it was a good idea when Lumm shared what he had learned in a meeting with Glen Cope, head of the Christian Trucker’s Ministry.
Cope told Lumm about a Tennessee man’s offer to donate used trailers to the ministry if churches would convert them to chapels.
Lumm and Mt. Zion accepted the challenge.
And now work on the 18-wheel unit has been completed. The trailer is painted sky blue with a big cross on both sides and Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord,” painted in a script text.
“That thing has really taken a lot of time,” Lumm said. “I had to build a frame to hold the air conditioning compressor, and the entire back end floor had to be rebuilt. The truck previously had a lift in the back. We had to take that thing off and build a floor in there. We also had to build new frames for the two doors we had to convert to people-sized doors.”
Russ Denham, Mt. Zion member, is retired from the military and the Kansas Department of Corrections. He led the trailer-conversion effort.
“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to do something that will help people come to know the Lord,” Denham said. “It doesn’t take a large church to do this … just three or four determined and dedicated people.”
James Robinson, retired from Trans World Airlines (TWA), did the electrical work.
“I get a good feeling being able to use my talents for the Lord,” Robinson said.
Herb Montgomery, also retired from TWA, said he learned a lot and did some things during the trailer project he didn’t know he could do. “It has been a blessing to spend my time doing a physical task that helps build God’s Kingdom,” he said.
Lumm has developed a heart for truckers. He describes them as “a sub-culture” in the United States.
“On any given day more than three million truckers are on America’s interstates and highways,” Lumm said. “Many are away from families for extended periods of time, placing great pressures on marriages and families.
“Driving a truck is a lonely job. I was once visiting with a driver who told me his wife called to report a discipline issue with their teen-age boys. She told him to take care of it. He was in Missouri and his family was in California.
“He wept and said, ‘I felt completely helpless,’” Lumm said. “He was very thankful to have a chaplain there for some spiritual support.”
Lumm encourages other Missouri Baptist churches to get involved in the trucker’s ministry.
“The Trucker’s Chapel is one of the best possible ways to reach out to these men and women,” Lumm said. “The chapels and chaplains are available right where they are needed. The drivers don’t need to search for a church or how to get their trucks – usually not welcomed – into a hard-to-park church parking area.”
Lumm said almost any church in Missouri could convert one of the semi-trailers into a chapel.
“It’s like taking a mission trip without leaving home,” he said. “Many people who were not able to work on the conversion themselves donated items or money to get the project completed.”
Lumm said members of neighboring churches also helped with the project.
“When needs arose, God provided,” Lumm said. “Terry Moore, former pastor of Lewis and Clark Baptist Church, Rushville, and an electrical engineer, gave needed wiring advice. Ken Richardson, pastor of Little Platte Baptist Church near Edgerton, installed the carpet.
“Some church networking made ceiling tiles and heating and air conditioning equipment available. The Lord put together a cooperative team to pull this together. The need is great and the opportunity is available for Missouri Baptists to make a great impact for God’s Kingdom.”
Cope is anxious to get the refurbished trailer to its future home — a Wyoming truck stop.
“A Christian driver from Tennessee has agreed to pull the trailer to Wyoming,” Cope said. “We’ll be using it seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 at night.”