Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!
At Long Beach in April, one of our Miles of Smiles guests was a wonderful man named Richard with a servant’s heart full of Christ’s love. Not long ago, his grandson was brutally beaten by the child’s biological father leaving him with brain damage among other devastating physical injuries. We detailed part of his story in a previous article.
We quickly became friends with Richard and stayed in contact after the Grand Prix of Long Beach was well over, becoming friends on Facebook and exchanging many emails to find out how he and little Devin were doing.
As we have two race weekends in Southern California, Richard came out to the race at Fontana and was originally scheduled to bring Devin and his mother along. Sadly, due to what was thought to be a chest infection, Devin and his mother had to stay home. We later found out Devin had pneumonia and a partially collapsed lung, but has since recovered. Praise God!
Nevertheless, we had a fantastic reunion with Richard and sent him home with a race car blanket and No. 77 Simon Pagenaud toy car for Devin. The next day, Richard sent us photos of Devin wearing his Kingdom Racing hat while sitting on his new racing blanket, a precious and heartwarming image.
Richard has been so moved by his relationship with Kingdom Racing that he has volunteered to host one of our Southern California Miles of Smiles events for the foreseeable future. What an incredible blessing for building His kingdom! We spent some time together with Richard in prayer while out on the line as cars were rolling by to make their qualification run, praying for specific opportunities, individuals, and the weekend as a whole. God is so good and amazing!
Our Miles of Smiles Outreach Director, Tim Carrie, spent the day talking with Richard about the Lord, Kingdom Racing, Miles of Smiles, racing, their families, and many other subjects. Said Tim, “What a blessing it was to spend the day fellowshipping with him. We covered a lot of ground that day, literally and in learning about each other, as we watched qualifying from pit lane, watched the team work on the car in the garage, sat at the hospitality unit, watched practice from the grandstands, and found our way to the spotters stand on top of the main grandstands. While standing at the highest point of the racetrack, with mountains rising up in the background of the backstretch, I was reminded of the Glory of God. How amazing to think that God has been working in my life, for my entire life, preparing me for this day and reveling in His amazing creation, the amazing minds on display at the race track, and the incredible opportunities He has placed before us to reach souls in a lost world. God is so wonderful!”
In a nutshell, that is really what Kingdom Racing and Miles of Smiles is about, changing lives and reaching people for Christ. The way He has built this team, the people He has brought before us, and the opportunities He alone has provided have been nothing but jaw-dropping. Many times, you really do have to just stop and ponder the ways God has been working
in all of our lives for so long to place us where we are now. His love and preparation is truly unfathomable.
We look forward to our growing relationship with Richard and to the many souls who will be blessed as a result, including our own. Moreover, we especially look forward to the day when we get to meet Devin and show him Christ’s love in person.
Following the amazing reunion with Richard on Saturday’s schedule meant that we would be starting a frien
dship with a new Miles of Smiles family nominated by our good friend Matt Sperrazza of nearby Neighborhood Christian Fellowship Church.
We met Matt at the credentials office where we were introduced to Elmo, his daughter Gabby, and son Sammy. Each was presented with a Kingdom Racing hat and Sammy was given a credential holder. Their excitement was so great that they were already telling other people in line about being Kingdom Racing VIP guests. None of them had ever even seen an INDYCAR and had absolutely no idea of what to expect from the day, but the entire group headed off to the garage to begin the day’s festivities.
During the garage tour, one of the crewmembers took the time to show them the intricacies of the steering wheel used by the drivers, explaining to them in detail what each of the dials, buttons, and paddles did. They were amazed at the cost and the complexity of the wheel and very appreciative of the time taken to show and explain everything.
While showing them the two-seater
INDYCAR, the crewmember prepping it for use allowed Sammy to climb right inside, to which is father Elmo remarked, “See, this is what happens when you love Jesus. He takes care of you.” Right on.
It was so amazing to see Elmo and Gabby care for and interact with Sammy, who has learning and other social difficulties. They are an amazing, loving, and caring family, and Gabby works with special needs kids in the California schools.
The absolute highlight of the day, if not the year, was sitting in the hospitality unit talking with the family. Elmo started talking about how Sammy is the one that makes sure everyone is up every Sunday morning and ready for church, and started to explain how he loves praise and worship songs. At that moment, Sammy got very excited talking about singing and then began singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning we praise your name...” Everyone present joined him and sat in the conference room, praising God through song with Sammy leading the way. Sammy cannot read or write, but if he hears a song only a couple of times, he can remember it with incredible precision. If only there were more people followers of Christ with Sammy’s enthusiasm!
Throughout the day, Sammy and his family saw the cars on the starting grid, got pictures with the championship trophy, ate comfortably in the hospitality unit, met and chatted with Davey, rode the golf cart, and oh yeah, even saw their first INDYCAR race! We figured Sammy would likely tire out since it was a very long day, but Elmo, Gabby, and Sammy were all wide eyed and excited from the green flag to the checkered. Sammy would see the No. 77 or 55 cars go by on the track and say, “Is that our car?” and we’d answer with a yes and high five or knuckle bump. This happened many times throughout the night and never got old as his face would just light up each time.
The checkered flag flew and we left the stands being allowed to cross the track from the grandstands to pit road right across the start finish line! What an amazing end to a day where we saw God’s fingerprints over and over again.
Perhaps the best way to understand the full impact of the day is to hear it in the family’s own words. Said Elmo, “Thank you so much for everything!! Words cannot express how blessed we were and how grateful we feel to have been a part of Kingdom Racing.”
Actually Elmo, we are the ones blessed to be part of your family’s life. Each of you has inspired us all, but especially Sammy and his love of our Lord. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity and God bless. We’ll see you next year!
All for Him,