Martinsville: Above and Beyond Part 4

Church in the Garage

Sunday morning, we arrived back at the track and met with Steve’s cousin, Kenneth and two of his children. We had not seen Kenneth in so long and it was an added blessing to our trip.

Soon, we again got right on the track and headed toward Turn 3 and made our way into the garage. The garage was much more crowded than the day before. There were fans, officials, crew members, media and Motor Racing Outreach (MRO) volunteers everywhere. We made our way down to Jeff’s part of the garage and they were still working on his car. They were also inspecting the race cars to make sure no one was cheating and all the measurements were correct.

We noticed young women passing out “bulletins” for the church service that would start soon. We talked to them and they said we were welcome to join the drivers, officials and crew members for worship.

Because we had been reading FAITH IN THE FASTLANE, we were very interested in the MRO and the Driver’s Chapel service held after the Driver’s meetings every Sunday morning before the race. We weren’t sure we were allowed to participate so we had been very sheepish approaching the tent and asking if this was the Goodyear Tent where the service would be held. But they were so welcoming and you could tell they wanted us to come on in.

At first just a few crew members came in. Most of them had the M&M uniform on and worked for Kyle Busch, which we knew was Joe Gibbs’ influence. Kevin Harvick walked in with his wife and children and sat not too far from Korie and I. DeLana Harvick turned and smiled and waved at Korie and I which nice of her.

Then we saw Austin Dillion come in with his cowboy hat on. He sat right behind us and took his hat off. We saw Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica walk in together and sit near the front. A man got up with his guitar and we sang Leaning on the Everlasting Arms and My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less. I looked around and there were about 200 people under the tent and a host of fans outside listening in. I would estimate about 300 were within listening distance. There were some media, officials, drivers and owners all singing about Jesus together. I say owners because all of the sudden, Korie grabbed by arm and told me that Joe Gibbs was sitting behind her. And he was!

There won’t be pictures to go with this part of the story. I didn’t take any pictures. It wasn’t the time. It wasn’t even really drivers and fans anymore. It was just a group of people who loved Jesus singing about Him together and listening to someone talk to them about “Remembering” and reading from a passage from the Old Testament, the story of Joshua setting up stones of remembrance because of something great God did in their lives. And he encouraged them all to do the same. It was such an experience. Last week, I worshipped with disabled children and their parents and now with NASCAR drivers and workers. And we were all the same when we were praising Him or learning at His feet. It was an amazing experience.

As soon as chapel was over, everyone dispersed quicker than you could say “Jeff Gordon’s Drive for Five”. 🙂 Only one person seemed to be hanging around and I was thrilled because that person was Joe Gibbs.IMG_6072

He was looking around the tent as though he was looking for someone in particular but couldn’t see them. We said hello and he turned his attention to Korie. He asked her name as he pulled a gospel track out of his pocket. He wrote “Korie. Nice meeting you. Joe Gibbs” on the track and gave it to her. We asked if he had time for a picture. He said yes, then he took off his Super Bowl Championship ring from his finger and put it on Korie’s pinkie finger. Then he told her to hold it up for the camera to see and he posed with her.IMG_6071 What a moment! We told him how much we admired his stand for Christ and he was so humble. We thanked him over and over again before we turned to leave. We had just meet THE Joe Gibbs!!! And we had been at church in the garage!!

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