In May of 1999, Randy and Terry Johnson attended a worship service at the River Oak Church of God in Danville, Virginia. Randy felt really challenged to make his life count for God’s work. He was convicted in that service of worship and prayed, “God whatever You want me to do, I am willing to do it.”
That is a dangerous prayer. Randy was a truck driver. He didn’t have much education. That afternoon he learned about the largest tornado in recorded history in Oklahoma City, OK. He borrowed a truck and trailer and helped deliver supplies. Little did he know how God was going to use that in his life.
Randy and Terry came home and decided to commit their lives to helping people in need. They started a non-profit crisis response organization known as God’s Pit Crew. I had an opportunity to visit God’s Pit Crew when I was preaching in Danville, Virginia recently. Randy is a very humble man. He describes himself as “an ordinary man who was just willing to be used by God.”
And God has really used him! God’s Pit Crew today has over 300 volunteers. The annual average of volunteerism is over 45,000 hours. They have delivered and helped distribute tens of millions of pounds of relief supplies (water, hygiene items, cleaning supplies, diapers, etc.) into disaster areas. They cut thousands of trees off peoples’ homes, gutted houses, patched roofs, totally rebuilt homes and churches, and always pray with people and give them a sense of hope in time of need.
Today they have 5 road tractors – 6 box trailers – one fully equipped tool tractor trailer – one lowboy trailer – 2 refrigerated trailers – 1 250K diesel powered generator – 3 gooseneck trailers and one mobile shower/laundry trailer.
God’s Pit Crew has responded to 71 disasters in 23 states in 5 countries. It has built or rebuilt 21 homes, 5 churches, and one school. In the last 3 years they have distributed over 20 million pounds of relief supplies to people in need.
Many organizations give them thousands of pounds of supplies that they distribute to 25 non-profit groups in Southern Virginia. I visited the 200,000 square foot warehouse. It is an amazing thing to see these huge 18-wheelers unloading the food and supplies that have been donated. Every truckload of supplies and food that comes into the distribution warehouse is prayed over. These items are organized for distribution. Every week God’s Pit Crew helps over 21,000 people in Southern Virginia through distribution programs to local non-profit organizations!
There are only six paid staff members and these became necessary because of the coordination efforts. Of the money that comes into them only 1% goes to administration, 1% to fundraising, and 98% goes to the disaster relief programs of local distribution projects.
I was so impressed with the volunteers. They pray together for their ministry. They feel they are there because God placed them there and it is an honor to serve Him. They come from many different churches. They see that they are a vital part of bringing hope to people who have experienced a disaster.
One man in church on a Sunday morning felt God’s call. Most people reading this article have far more education and talents than Randy Johnson. He will tell you that. His life is a demonstration of what God can do with someone who is totally committed to doing God’s will.
One day God used a little boy to feed 5,000 people. Today He is using God’s Pit Crew to feed thousands and make a difference.
Where does God want to use you?