Hi everybody, nice to meet you! My name is Van #7140 and I have some amazing stories to share with you today. My story as a Righteous Rides van began 91,000 miles ago when I was purchased with money donated by Troy First Baptist Church. Since then, I have shuttled 5 missionary families from different parts of the world, enabling them to attend speaking engagements, see their relatives, visit friends, teach, and many other incredible things during their home assignments. The first missionary family that rode in me was the Lee family, working in Europe. They started in December 2010, and took me to some fun places. The Creation Museum near Ohio, learning about the history of creation and the Bible, then to the Hershey Museum in Pennsylvania, where they took a tour and ate lots of chocolate. At the end of December the Lees traveled to Albany, NY and visited the Baseball Hall of Fame, New York City, and West Point. From New York we traveled to Independence Hall in Philadelphia and saw the Liberty Bell, then to Washington D.C. to visit the Smithsonian museum and tour the Capitol Building. What adventures!
It was then on to more serious destinations like church speaking engagements, visiting a missionary learning center, and attending an annual Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) meeting. One interesting place we visited was the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama, which was great for the Lees to find items they needed at affordable prices! On June 30th the Lees returned me to my home at the Righteous Rides shop, and I got spiffed up for my next missionary family. I was so excited to meet them.
In July 2011 the Swanson family became my friends. They had been serving in Oceania. The Swansons had to travel to different speaking engagements at churches all over the U.S., in Indiana, Illinois, Arkansas, Idaho, Colorado, and many more. These missionaries never cut me a break! At the end of their log though they left a sweet note,
June 9th, 2012. “Thank you so much for your service to us and your care! Feeling greatly blessed! Love, the Swanson family.”
I had gotten kind of attached to them at that point. They had driven me for almost a full year, so a van is bound to get sentimental. I probably leaked a little windshield wiper fluid the day they climbed out for the last time.
The third family to ride in me was the Hildebrands, but they only used me for a couple months to visit with family. They had two new grandsons they wanted to see. These babies were precious and I was mighty proud that I got to be the one to drive the Hildebrands all the way to Colorado to see them. Towards the end of their time with me, we visited California together and that was an awesome adventure. It was blazing hot, and we could see the ocean as we were driving along.
Dee Anne Rearick was next to use me during her home assignment. She got the best van on the lot (yours truly) to take her around to all her contacts stateside in 2013. Dee Anne wrote about her journey in her log book,
July 31, 2013. “After picking up this van, I drove to meet a supporter! Praise the Lord! I was able to meet her in a convenient location for her, as she was traveling through Missouri.”
The rest of the furlough was spent with family and meeting ministry partners. Dee’s favorite part was seeing her grandchildren. She wrote about it in the logbook,
August 15, 2013. “Picked up Grandkids at school! Such a joy! It will be at least two years before I will have another opportunity.”
I really enjoyed meeting Dee’s grandchildren. They were cute and so well behaved! The women at Dee’s church seemed to boost her spirits. Like God says in Hebrews 3:13, “Encourage one another daily.” Dee’s friends certainly did this for her. Read for yourself what she put it in the logbook,
August 17, 2013. “Drove to St. Roberts, MO, to meet some special lady friends who drove from Aurora, MO. I was so thankful to have my reliable van! Mimi is like a mom to me and we were able to have one last visit and hug as I am preparing to return to the mission field. These ladies are like an anchor, holding me fast to keep going and doing His service. Praise the Lord! What an encouragement! Thanks Righteous Rides for enabling me… I love my van!”
Sadly, our time together drew to a close, and after a few more stops to see supporters, Dee Anne returned me to Righteous Rides.
The Wos family had me for six days, and drove 622 miles around the U.S. to visit family and friends. They are doing the Lord’s work overseas through a sports ministry and have impacted so many people.
“Thank you, Paul and Team! This loaner vehicle was a blessing! You and your team keep the gospel running! Please accept this GO Mission soccer ball in Portuguese to honor our Lord. 2014 World Cup Soccer in Brazil! Love, Brad and Patty Wos.”
The last family that I drove around on furlough before I retired was the Chajons, who had me in June 2016. By this point I was getting old. I had some wrinkles in my seats and some age spots on my bumper and doors. I gotta say, 222,000 miles wears a van down. The Chajons serve in South America. They were very respectful for the whole month they had me, and took good care of my creaky old metal. They also went to the Embassy, which was fancy.
June 13, 2016. “Drove from St. Louis to Chicago to go to the Embassy. We were prepared to be there all day (as past experience has it) to get paperwork authenticated. It took 10 minutes! Praise God!”
They visited a few more churches like St. Charles River Church, and a church in Madison, WI, and then returned me home to Righteous Rides. In their final entry in my log book the Chajon family wrote, “God is a faithful provider!”
God is faithful to have brought me to Righteous Rides, let me see so many fun places, and given me a good retirement. I’ve been used to help so many missionaries with transportation. My prayer is that all the other vans on the lot can be blessings to missionaries that need them too!