Taking Jesus on the road
April 4 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

Taking Jesus on the road | Friday, April 5, 2002

Friday, April 5, 2002

Taking Jesus on the road

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

DUNN - Truckers often use the sleeper cab of their truck as their bedroom. A truck stop's television room is their living room, and the restaurant is their kitchen.

What many don't have while on the road is a church.

Mark Bordeaux is trying to change that.

Bordeaux runs a truck stop ministry for the Little River Baptist Association. He ministers out of a chapel at Sadler's Truck Stop on Interstate 95 between Dunn and Benson, where more than 300 trucks and hundreds of cars stop each day.

Bordeaux leads worship services at the truck stop on Sunday mornings and Bible studies on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. At least three people have made professions of faith through the ministry and others have received counseling and other help, he said.

The ministry has distributed about 1,900 New Testaments designed specifically for truckers.

In the fall, Coats Baptist Church in Coats helped sponsor a movie night for truckers in the truck stop's television room. About 15 truckers watched the "Jesus" video. Bordeaux and volunteers from the church distributed gift bags that included a copy of the video.

Highland Baptist Church in Raleigh, where Bordeaux is a member, held an "adopt-a-driver" emphasis in December. The event raised $300 for the ministry.

Herman Sadler, who owns the truck stop and another like it, paid a surprise visit to Bordeaux in February. He stopped in to tell Bordeaux that the company appreciates his efforts.

Sadler was on his way to Florida to see his son, Elliott, race in the Daytona 500. The younger Sadler finished second in the race.

The ministry started in May with Bordeaux looking for a supervised ministry project for his studies at Mount Olive College. At about the same time, Steve Reed, chairman of the Little River Baptist Association's Evangelism Committee, was talking with Little River Director of Missions Dan Deaton about starting a truck stop ministry similar to one in Columbia, S.C.

While looking for a project, Bordeaux talked with Kelton Hinton, the director of missions in the neighboring Johnston Baptist Association. Hinton called Deaton. A short while later, Bordeaux was called to work 10 hours a week on the truck stop ministry for the summer. He started the ministry after getting training from Ted Keller, of the North American Mission Board, and Transport for Christ, an international trucking ministry.

Mark Mitchell, the director of truck stop operations for Sadler's and manager of the Dunn truck stop at the time, said Bordeaux approached him about the ministry.

"I thought it was a great idea," Mitchell said.

Mitchell offered to convert an old television room into a chapel. The truck stop cleaned, painted and repaired the room; upgraded the lighting; and installed a telephone for Bordeaux to use.

Deaton said the association recognized the importance of the ministry and asked Bordeaux to keep working and increase his hours to 15 a week.

By January, the association had asked for and received financial assistance from the Baptist State Convention, allowing Bordeaux to increase his hours to 20.

The trucking industry is becoming more professional, Bordeaux said.

"Everything we eat and touch at one time came off a truck, because there's no train rails running to Wal-Mart," he said.

Bordeaux said he tries to respect the drivers' privacy but prays for "divine appointments" when he can share his faith.

Mitchell said the ministry has meant a lot to the truck stop.

"You don't have all truck drivers who are religious, but there are more than you think," he said.

Some truck drivers have told Mitchell that they make a point to stop at the Dunn truck stop because of the ministry.

"They make out their routes and stop at facilities like ours that have a ministry," he said. "We've actually put ourselves on their map."

Mitchell said the truck stop is planning to put up signs about the chapel and put decals about the ministry near the diesel pumps where truckers often spend 10 to 15 minutes filling their trucks.

"That's the perfect place to get the word out," he said.

Mitchell said Sadler's is including space for a chapel in plans to expand its other truck stop in Emporia, Va.

Deaton said the people at Sadler's have meant a lot to the ministry.

"We feel like it's a good partnership," he said.

Deaton and Bordeaux said they want the ministry in Dunn to expand. They're hoping to train members of nearby churches to work as volunteers in the chapel.

Bordeaux said he'd like for the chapel to have set hours.

"We've got to find a way to move it from part-time to full-time," Deaton said.

Deaton said he'd like to see similar ministries start near I-95 in the southern and northern parts of the state. More than 60,000 cars drive along the highway each day, he said.

"It's apparently something that's needed," he said.

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4/4/2002 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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