DeWitt Powell, of the Hagerstown, Maryland, Maranatha Brethren Church (Jay Fretz, pastor), has found a perfect way to combine his love of cars and body work with a way to share Christ with others.
Powell and his wife, Caroline, have a heavy schedule of touring car shows and “Cruise-ins” with their unique “witnessing vehicle,” a polyglot car named “Born Again II.”
“Born Again II,” is so named because it is comprised of parts from more than seven different vehicles. The motor is from a 74 Chevy Malibu, and it has a 74 Chevy Nova subframe, a grille from a 54 Pontiac, half-a-hood from a 57 Chevy, two tops from 67 Fords, Chrysler fins, taillights from a 56 Chevy, a trunk from a 75 Lincoln Continental, and additional parts from Buicks and more.
Powell says cars have been his hobby for years, and he’s been building and re-building them for more than 20 years. It took about four years to complete “Born Again II.” Intricate and artistic paintings display Scripture verses and a representation of “The Passion of the Christ” on the trunk.
Powell always distributes gospel tracts when he displays the car, including one entitled “Born Again II,” which was written with the help of Maranatha pastor Jay Fretz. “It says that if your life is all mixed up–like this car,” Powell points out, “and if you want to be put back together again, the answer is in Jesus Christ.”
Powell, who lives just several blocks from the Maranatha building, is a Hagerstown native and has been part of the church “since it opened.” He was not a believer then, but came to know the Lord “about 35 years ago” as a result of the ministry of Maranatha’s founding pastor, Jack Peters.
Powell believes he has distributed about 125,000 tracts as part of the car’s ministry thus far. He attends car shows “as far north as Lafayette, Indiana, and as far south as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.” The car has been displayed at Myrtle Beach, SC and at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. It’s been part of the James Dean Run in Fairmont, Indiana, five different years, where the Powells distribute about 5,000-6,000 tracts every time.
At the York, Pennsylvania, National Street Rodders gathering they distributed 3,000 tracts in one day. Recently the Maranatha church had a free car wash as a neighborhood outreach, and Born Again II was on display in the church parking lot. Everyone attending received a tract.
Pastor Jay Fretz says, “This is a terrific way to be involved in something you love to do, and to share the Lord with other people” In recognition of their efforts, the Powells were awarded the “2004 Outreach of the Year Award” by CE National.
Powell is occasionally asked to speak, and his eyes light up when he tells of recently speaking at the Hagerstown Rescue Mission and seeing a young man give his heart to the Lord there.
He says he really enjoys putting the tract in the hands of wide-eyed children who view the car, and he always tells them, “Have your daddy read this to you tonight.”
“It’s a grand tool for witnessing, and we have a lot of fun doing it,” he says. Powell is currently working on restoring a 1958 Studebaker.