More than 20 years ago, chaplain Tim Sackett decided to stop driving a truck and do something much different, but no less important. He decided to convert a semi tractor trailer into a house of worship that caters to long haul truckers.
It wasn’t easy at first. Most church leaders found the idea silly and too costly. Some said it just wouldn’t reach enough followers. But Sackett was determined to see his vision through. Today, his chapel houses 8 chaplains and serves truck drivers every day during two services. It was vindicating for him, and brings him long distances daily to keep up the divine work.
“This was just a natural fit for me,” said Sackett, who drove truck for six years and whose father was a truck driver. “There are just the burdens of the trucking job; the loneliness of the job, being gone from home and needing to talk with someone who doesn’t have the same answers all the time.
“Truckers hear so much criticism and negativity, whether being gone too long, not making enough money or being pulled over too often by authorities,” Sackett said. “Here, I and the (eight) volunteer chaplains try to give them support, basically by listening and focusing the discussion on their relationship with God.”
Sackett and almost all of the chaplains have truck driving experience, enabling them to empathize with other drivers.
“Truckers have physical, emotional and spiritual fatigue out there, and all we try to do is help them deal with that,” Sackett said. “We try and show them the big picture, that there are those who don’t know the Lord at all or are saved; and truckers, like most of us, want to know if they can be forgiven.”
“You can’t really pull your rig into a church parking lot and go in, but here, we understand what they’re going through,” he said.