MOSCOW MILLS – Righteous Rides meets a need for missionaries on furlough. Co-founders of the nonprofit organization, Bret Byus, member and deacon at First Baptist Church (FBC) Troy, and Mark Reighard, discovered this need through friendships from LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas.
“LeTourneau is a Christian school,” Byus, Righteous Rides president, said. “So, we had lots of friends going to the mission field. We’ve been involved in their lives over the years, and when the family returns on furlough they need a vehicle.”
Righteous Rides provides vehicles for returning missionaries. “Missionaries sell everything when they go on field,” Byus said. “Things we take for granted become a problem for missionaries living out of the country. They don’t own a house, a car, so insurance is difficult. ”
Byus and Reighard use skills from their careers to manage this ministry. “I’ve been in the automobile business all my life,” he said. “I’m a full-time field engineer for the Chrysler Company and Mark is in management with Boeing.”
Righteous Rides currently has 67 vehicles, mostly minivans, available for missionaries. The International Mission Board is one of the top mission organizations supported by Righteous Rides. When the missionaries use the vehicles, they pay only for the gas. All servicing and insurance is provided by Righteous Rides. “This is really the most cost efficient model for missionaries,” Byus said.
“Currently, we are booked through 2017,” Byus said. “We recently added some new 2014 vehicles and we are structured for growth to have 300-400 vehicles in our fleet.”
According to Byus, the ministry is financed with used cars. “We accept vehicles of all kinds that people don’t want,” he said. “We are given old cars, campers, boats and others that don’t run. We have a volunteer service department to refurbish and repair the vehicles for sale on our used lot.”
The repairs are done by an all-volunteer staff of mechanics. “We have about 40-50 volunteer mechanics,” Byus said. “We have numerous opportunities for volunteers in addition to mechanics. We need people for social networking, marketing and data inputting. Everyone who works for Righteous Rides is a volunteer or is raising support. Our comptroller is the only paid position.”
When Righteous Rides began, the nonprofit ministry leased space in a building, but they recently purchased a former Chrysler dealership. “It sits on 10 acres, and because it was a dealership it is equipped for all of our needs,” Byus said. “When the dealership first went up for sale, it was beyond our reach. But, after sitting vacant for three years, God made it available for us.”
Now, NorthRoad Community Church of Moscow Mills is leasing 40 percent of the building. “God brought them to us, and now the building is being used for Him,” Byus said. “This is totally God. It is fantastic to watch what He is doing. We are just holding on and going for the ride.”