The priest of Ghost Town

October 28, 2015 - accent chair

  • In this print taken on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, Marvin Christensen sits in his common mark with his lectern during a church use in a trucker's loll during Ghost Town Truck Stop in Casper, Wyo. Christensen, himself a lorry driver, has been behaving church services during a lorry stop for over 5 years. (Dan Cepeda/The Casper Star-Tribune around AP) MANDATORY CREDIT Photo: Dan Cepeda, AP / The Casper Star-Tribune



CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The clouds were a watercolor of pinks, blues and purples when Marvin Christensen walked a parking lot of Ghost Town Fuel Shop Restaurant on a breezy Sunday morning in Casper.

The 76-year-old changed slowly, streamer during 7:45 a.m. toward 10 parked trucks.

He wore a gray nap fit coupler with beige leather rags on a elbows. His bolo tie was homemade, a cranky insignia on top, and tiny, hand-carved deer antlers swinging from a bottom. His round top was black, a vast white trademark of hands holding a lorry printed above a bill.

“Trucker’s Christian Chapel,” a trademark said. “Reaching Truckers For Jesus Christ.”

Marvin had his ball card-sized pamphlets promotion a Bible during a ready, prepared to discharge to any lorry motorist meddlesome in attending his lorry stop church use set to start in 45 minutes.

“I don’t know when they came in,” Marvin said, his difference fighting opposite a wind. “I don’t wish to strike on a doors. They might’ve come in during 3 a.m.”

He faced any lorry and squinted during a windshields, saying if anyone was awake.

“They’d be sitting adult in a front. Some of them wouldn’t wish to speak to me anyways. (Some) don’t trust in a Bible.”

Marvin finished his travel down a line of trucks yet pity a pamphlet.

This is his slight any Sunday morning. For some-more than 5 years, a slow-talking male with silky white hair and thick eyeglasses has been a proffer priest during Ghost Town, holding 30-minute services from a truckers’ loll subsequent to showering 1 and showering 2.

Marvin is a lorry motorist himself. He’s been pushing given a early 90s. He works 4 days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., yet years back, his hours were some-more sporadic.

Finding a church use while on a highway was difficult.

“You don’t find many of these places,” he said, walking toward his automobile to squeeze a mount from a trunk. “(The first) lorry stop church we went to was along a highway. When we got to a church and started singing, tears came to my eyes. Because it was good, man.”

Over a years, Marvin has attended services during lorry stops in Oklahoma City and Las Vegas. During his childhood, Marvin frequency went to church. It wasn’t until he was 23, 3 years after he married his wife, when he started to frequently attend.

He changed to Casper in 1981 and, shortly after, taught classes during Mountain View Baptist Church in his gangling time. Around 5 years ago, his crony Gary approached with a request.

Gary was starting a lorry stop church during Eastgate Travel Plaza in Evansville, and he wanted Marvin to start one during Ghost Town.

“And we said, ‘Well, it’s God’s will. So OK.'”

Marvin walked with his mount by a doors of Ghost Town, past a register and a candy aisle, down a corridor toward a showers and a truckers’ lounge. When he arrived, a male in sweatpants was sitting on a cot examination TV.

“How are you?” Marvin pronounced in a soft, bashful voice.

“Good,” a male replied. “Do we need to go somewhere else?”

“Well, customarily we (get ready) around 8 a.m.,” Marvin said, motioning toward a pointer on a wall that announced church services would start in this room during 8:30. “But we can stay?”

“No, that’s fine.”

The male walked away. Marvin incited off a radio and headed for a closet in a corner. He retrieved 7 chairs, even yet a largest throng he’s ever preached to was 3 or 4 people.

“I customarily have one male (named Dale) that comes on a unchanging basis. He’s a male who goes to church with me (after my lorry stop service),” Marvin said, creation dual rows of 3 on a white linoleum floor, withdrawal one chair during a front for himself.

“I unequivocally occasionally have a lorry driver. There’s not that many of them that wish to hear a word, we guess.”

Marvin placed a Bible on any chair, afterwards popped a CD in a circuitously stereo. Sometimes, he said, a songs on this CD attract wandering visitors. With 30 mins to gangling and a white cleared walls now colored with hymns, he left a trucker’s loll to recruit.

“Hey, Marvin,” Jon Willard said, chopping crush browns on a griddle in a lorry stop’s kitchen. “How are we doing?”

“Well, OK,” Marvin said, holding behind a smile. “How are you?”

“Doing good.”

Willard has been a prepare during Ghost Town for a year and a half. His change always coincides with Marvin’s services, so he’s never attended.

“Sometimes (Marvin) doesn’t get (a lot of people), infrequently it’s packed,” Willard said. “It’s only strike and miss, time of year and day.”

After services, Willard frequently sees Marvin assisting a homeless business who strut into Ghost Town. Sometimes it’s shopping a meal. Other days it’s a train ticket, or even a night during a motel.

“He buys food for people who don’t have any money, puts gas in your vehicles when they don’t have gas to get to work. He’s like a unequivocally good guy,” pronounced Christenne Elliott, who’s worked a money register during Ghost Town for 8 months.

“I consider he competence be too compassionate sometimes. He helps some of a same people a lot.”

For a subsequent 20 minutes, Marvin sensitively circled a griddle while locals and truckers ate breakfast. He done his approach toward a front of a gas station, station nearby a prepackaged doughnuts and cinnamon rolls.

At 8:25 a.m., Marvin checked his watch.

“Well, Dale competence not be coming. He customarily comes about now.”

It’s sincerely singular that nobody attends Marvin’s service. When that’s a case, he plays a opposite CD from a Trucker’s Christian Chapel, and waits a 30 mins underneath prolonged fluorescent tubes in box someone walks in.

“I only lay there, and hopefully we don’t go to sleep. we can go to nap flattering fast.”

Five mins later, Marvin walked toward a lounge. He substituted CDs, a rushes of H2O from an assigned showering 1 violation a silence. He pulpy play and sat in his chair behind a mount with his handwritten records for a day’s service.

“We during Trucker’s Christian Chapel Ministries done this fasten generally for you, a trucker,” a male with a Southern accent pronounced on a CD. “Why? Well that’s a judicious question. we myself have been a motorist for 11 years. we know that trucking is some-more than a job, it’s a approach of life.

“If we don’t mind, driver, I’d like to only float down a highway with we and arrange of explain one unequivocally critical hymn of a Bible.”

Marvin sat and waited. He stared during a black TV shade on a wall. A few people upheld in a hallway, especially to use a shower. He sensitively listened to a tape, his Bible non-stop to page 203.

Thirty mins passed. At 9 a.m., Marvin stood and pulpy stop. He packaged divided a Bibles and chairs, and grabbed his stand.

He headed toward a front doors and waved goodbye to Christenne, pushing divided from Ghost Town on his approach to church.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

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