Roll the Gospel Chariot Along

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My husband Ray and I were grateful to be able to be at church yesterday morning for the first time since his surgery. How precious to hear his voice singing beside me. Before the service, I followed Ray to 99-year-old Miss Katherine’s pew to say hello. When I asked how she was, she smiled her wonderful and playful smile and said, “I thought when I got out of the car (which she had driven herself), ‘I feel like I’m 98.'”

Another joy of the morning was that five men, who work in the Gospel Chariot ministry, were there to show our church a brand new Gospel Chariot. High school students who have completed Ray’s Exploring World Geography curriculum learned about the Gospel Chariot ministry in Lesson 43, “Roll the Gospel Chariot Along” in the unit on Southern Africa. Gospel Chariots have been taking the gospel to several African countries since 2000. This new “chariot,” which is actually a specially-designed tractor trailer truck, is based in Benton, Arkansas. Its mission is to carry the gospel to Latin America.

Before church, Ray told me excitedly that one of the men who had come to show us the Chariot was Gospel Chariot ministry founder George Funk. George and his wife Ria founded the ministry in South Africa. The Funks quit their jobs in 1994 to share the gospel with their fellow South Africans. They began this ministry to both black and white South Africans shortly after apartheid had ended in the country. A few years later, they came up with an innovative way to take a sort of church building to remote places. To tell you more of the story, I will quote excerpts from Exploring World Geography:

To increase their outreach, George and Ria built their first Gospel Chariot in 2000. Now fifteen vehicles, from small trucks to large semis, travel to small towns and large cities in twenty countries across Africa . . . .

A Gospel Chariot on its way in Malawi

On each truck, one side opens to reveal a speaker’s platform. An awning pulls out from the top to provide a covered speaking and sitting area. A truck can carry up to one hundred chairs. The truck also carries a [large tent], PA system, an electrical generator, a baptistry, and beds for team members while they are traveling . . . .

Funk estimates that about two thousand people per year come to the Lord through the Gospel Chariots [ministry]. . . .

In Molepolole, Botswana, the Gospel Chariot team found a good location to set up the truck, but they had to obtain permission from the tribal chief to use the site since it was on tribal land. As the team was setting up the truck, local resident Robert Reid laid down—not his fishing nets [as Peter, Andrew, James, and John had done]—but his meat cleaver. He left his butcher shop and walked across the street to the Chariot. “I felt pulled to the Chariot,” he said later. “I was looking for truth.” Five days later, both Reid and his wife were Christians.

During the Ebola crisis in Liberia that began in 2013, Christians used the Chariots to distribute information about how to avoid contamination from the virus . . . .

The Funks later left Africa and moved to Australia. Machona Monyamane, a black South African who was one of the first people the Funks taught, took over the Gospel Chariot ministry in Africa.

George Funk has continued to work in the ministry worldwide, and now the first truck is ready to share the gospel in Latin America. While speaking briefly to our congregation on Sunday, he told us that at age 69, he is about to retire from the Gospel Chariot ministry and devote the rest of his life to traveling the world to work with and disciple young people. Bubbling with joy and excitement, he told us several times, “God is doing something big!”

After church, our congregation had the opportunity to go inside the new Gospel Chariot and to meet Fernando Toledo, who designed it.

Fernando Toledo

As you see, workers can use the large video screen that lies under a cover on the side of the truck.

Below the screen is a portable baptistry.

On top of the Chariot are solar panels which help to power the generator. These help reduce the amount of diesel fuel needed to run the Chariot. Inside are comfortable accommodations for team members . . .

. . . and a storage room for the tent and other supplies.

Ray and I enjoyed visiting with Gospel Chariot team members.

Ray and George Funk are on the left.

The presentation was very encouraging. It felt like the opposite of the dismal information the world dispenses to fill our minds. Satan wants us to despair, but the truth is that God is doing something big!

He is doing that in homeschooling, too. Thank you for being part of it.

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and the love which you have for all the saints; 
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven,
of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 
which has come to you, just as in all the world also
it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, 
even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it
and understood the grace of God in truth . . .
Colossians 1:3-6


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