Turning a Truck Repair into a Church Experience

Redemption can happen in many ways. We redeemed a day helping a church redeem a building.

It all started with a puddle under the truck.

Parked at pretty Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida I found that our truck radiator was leaking badly.


Another truck repair?

Getting Repairs Lined Up

Yes, I was bummed. Add the radiator to the fuel pump and brake line we’ve blown this year.

I didn’t have much time. I found the leak on Wednesday and we were due out of the park on Friday.

No chance to extend.

I started calling around to find a shop to get us in quickly. The shops in Destin were helpful - providing phone numbers for their competitors when they couldn’t get me in.

I ended up on the line with D’luxe Automotive. They understood our situation and could get us in on Friday. We booked a time and hung up so they could check on parts availability.

They called back saying there were two possible radiators. I put on grubbies and crawled under the truck to measure the part that was different between the two. I called back and they put the part on order.

Parking Lot Too Small

Friday morning we hitched up the fifth wheel and headed over to D’Luxe.

We found that they didn’t have room for the fifth wheel as expected. I asked where the closest lot was where we could set the trailer while they worked on the truck.

The mechanic pointed towards the corner and said something about a church that was moving into a former nightclub building.

Any Weekend But This One

We pulled into the lot and I went inside to see if we could put the trailer there.

The building was mid-renovation, mostly pulled down to the bones with some new walls up. I dodged hanging wires and hopped over skids of lumber to ask one of the construction workers if we could park the trailer in the lot for a few hours.

He called the Project Manager (Matt) whose first response was “Man, any weekend but this one.”

Turns out they were setting up for a parking lot sale where they hoped to liquidate many of the fixtures and supplies from the nightclub in order to fund the building renovations.

Called to Help

In spite of the weekend plans Matt found us a place in the corner. We unhitched the trailer, drove the truck back to the repair shop, and walked back to the church.

I told the girls that I was feeling called to see if we could help the church prep for their sale. It was obvious they had a ton of stuff to move and I didn’t see much help there yet.

I found Matt again and I said “There are three of us and we’ll have a couple hours till our truck is done, what can we do?”

Inside the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL

Inside the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL

Inside the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL

Inside the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL

Stockpiling swag from the former Nightown club.

Stockpiling swag from the former Nightown club.

I think they are carrying a Christmas spider.

I think they are carrying a Christmas spider.

Our rig in the corner of the parking lot.

Our rig in the corner of the parking lot.

Shoreline Church moving into the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL.

Shoreline Church moving into the former Nightown Club in Destin, FL.

Our reward included a tasty BBQ lunch.

Our reward included a tasty BBQ lunch.

Carrying Stuff

We could carry stuff.

That’s what we did for the next 4 hours.

We carried seats. Bar stools. Office chairs.

We carried glassware - boxes and boxes of unopened promotional glassware.

We met some of the church members. We told them our story.

We dropped glassware. Just a couple.

We carried seasonal decorations. Posters. Neon lights. Paintings.

Boxes of tickets. Tables.

Truck Done

Just after noon our truck was done. Miranda and I walked over, picked up the truck, paid the bill, and went to gas up.

By the time we were back there was food. Cold soda, fresh BBQ, and fries.

We ate.

We hitched back up. Said our goodbyes. Promised to return on our way back through.

And hit the road, headed towards our winter WWOOFing gig.

Cool Story Bro?

I haven’t documented stories like this in the past. It felt too self-congratulatory. We didn’t carry all that stuff so we could write a blog post about it. 

We did because, for one moment, for one morning, we felt obedient to the calling of the Spirit.

And we wanted to show others what that can look like on the road. Our church life is no longer going to a building on Sundays. It’s looking for moments like these and then fighting the reluctance that kicks in when God puts them in front of us.

I could have done other work. We could have sat in the trailer and waited.

But we didn’t.

We Benefit Too

You might think we got the short end of the stick. We had both an expensive truck repair and a day of sweaty physical work.

But God’s funny.

By being able to help the church he redeemed this day in a different way. We made connections. Planted some seeds.

We’ll pay off that repair bill eventually and forget about it.

But those connections and memories we’ll carry forever.

More About Shoreline

If you want to see more of what the club looked like inside when Shoreline got ahold of it check out their website http://churchatnightown.com/.

We think it’s pretty cool they are incorporating the club name into their church branding.

Another redemption story.

5 Comments Turning a Truck Repair into a Church Experience

  1. Picture of Jessica Krauel Jessica Krauel November 09, 2016

    I enjoyed your post. I know it’s sometimes hard to write about things you’ve done because you aren’t looking to be praised, but it’s helpful for others to post this. It’s encouraging and contagious.  We will be hitting the road full time in January and I’ve wondered what church and ministry will look like on the road. I’ve not wanted this amazing change in our lives to be a selfish pursuit of happiness and I’ve been praying that we will find opportunities to love others.  So thanks for sharing. It’s a real life experience that reminds me that ministry is available where you are and wherever you go. God will place people in your path for a purpose.

  2. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink November 10, 2016

    Thanks for the comment Jessica - and good luck on the prep work!

  3. Picture of Eric Partin Eric Partin November 10, 2016

    Thanks for your help. And thanks for the kind words. We have people in our church that live in their RV full time and follow your blog. Imagine their surprise when they read this. Keep living the dream.

  4. Picture of Patty Elliott Patty Elliott December 09, 2016

    This is a great story. It’s people loving people. You all were blessed. You were able to park your RV when you needed to and they got the extra help they needed. I love seeing God work in every day situations.

  5. Picture of Michael Boyink Michael Boyink December 09, 2016

    Thanks for the comments Eric and Patty!

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