PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. – Folks in Shane Dixon’s life group at First Baptist Church in Peachtree City knew something was wrong because he and his wife, Jenny, weren’t showing up for their weekly get-togethers.
Turned out their nearly 20-year-old car had broken down again, and his government disability check just wasn’t enough to purchase a new one.
When their life group leader, Sabrina Frazier, and deaf interpreter, Barb Coffan, learned of the family’s plight, they told their executive pastor, Craig Hamlin, who discreetly spread the word that the family needed a car.
That’s all it took.
Friends gathered at Christian Brothers Automotive in nearby Sharpsburg on Thursday to present the Dixons with keys to a 2016 Ford Escape provided by an anonymous donor within the congregation.
“I love it,” said Shane Dixon, whose broad smile, along with a string of colorful balloons, gave a festive glow to the sitting room where he and his family celebrated with church friends.
Though Shane Dixon, a member of First Baptist’s growing deaf ministry, couldn’t hear it, cheers and happy laughter echoed from the walls.
Perhaps never before have automotive ministries been as crucial as they are now with inflation pushing the prices of new and even used cars beyond the reach of many fixed income families.
As car prices have risen, so have the costs of rent, food and other basic necessities, making it increasingly difficult for the Dixons and millions of other families across the country to make ends meet. Inflation had surged to a four-decade high in June and was showing no signs of slowing down.
“We love this family, and we wanted them to be able to come to church,” Coffan said. “We were brainstorming ideas. And all of a sudden it was as if God said, ‘Why not give them a car?’ So, I said told the group, ‘Somebody in this big church must have a car to give away.’”
Frazier remembers being skeptical at first, saying, “Good luck with that.”
Senior Pastor Joey Rodgers wasn’t at all surprised that one of his members stepped up with a vehicle.
“That’s been the nature of this church from Day 1,” he said. “It is the most generous, kind, loving church I’ve ever been a part of.”
In his sovereignty, the Lord had put Frazier, who spent most of her life as a teacher of deaf students, and Coffan, a longtime interpreter for the deaf, together at First Baptist where they serve as key leaders in the deaf ministry.
“They have a real vision for the deaf community, and a real heart for the deaf community,” Hamlin said. “Deaf people are one of the most unreached people groups in the world. They want to reach every member of this people group.”
If it means finding a car so a family can drive to church, they’ll see to that, too, Hamlin said.
“I was blown away by it,” he said.
Before delivering the car to the Dixons, the anonymous donor took it to Christian Brothers Automotive so that repairmen could make sure everything was in working order.
Mechanics went over every inch of the car, returning it to like-new condition. And the home office of Christian Brothers Automotive, which was founded in a Sunday school classroom in Texas, covered the entire cost.
Shane Dixon couldn’t be happier to have a replacement for his 2004 Ford Taurus. The odometer on the car had stopped working long ago, so he didn’t know how many miles it had been driven.
The odometer was the least of his concerns. He had used his family’s government stimulus check last year to get a new catalytic converter installed on the car. It had taken every penny, emptying his bank account and leaving him out of luck for the next round of repairs.
“We didn’t need luck,” his wife said. “We had God.”