As I think back on my personal narrative, I find that black GM cars played a role in my identity. Here is a bit of nostalgic folklore…
1976 Black Oldsmobile
In high school, I got to drive our family car, an awesome ’76 black Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. I remember washing and waxing it repeatedly, and recalling the Karate Kid classic line as I did, “wax on, wax off”. The fastest I ever went in it was 117. The picture to the right is me in 1987 in front of the actual car.
1990 Black GMC Sonoma
In 1990, after going to college, I became convinced that I should sacrifice everything for UBF mission. So after my father’s death in 1989, I sold the black Oldsmobile, used my inheritance money, and bought a brand new 1990 GMC Sonoma truck because a truck was far better suited to help carry massive amounts of materials needed to build a new UBF center. The picture to the right is not my truck, but it is the exact style/color of my truck.
I used that truck almost every day for over two years to carry 2×4’s, nails, insulation, shingles and all types of wood– all sacrificing my time, my gas and my truck to build “God’s house”. My truck was damaged in the process, but I didn’t care because I was “sacrificing for God.”
But then I decided to go to Russia as a short-term UBF missionary, and to take a Russian language class. Suddenly my sacrifice of my new truck was not enough.
Driving a brand new truck, even a truck damaged by carrying materials for the UBF center, was unacceptable to UBF people because I was about to go to Russia as a short-term UBF missionary. After several meetings and several rebukes, I decided to sell this truck so I would not look like a hypocrite when going to Russia as a short-term missionary.
While this did give me money to go to Russia as a UBF short-term missionary, it also kicked off 20 years of car problems. I let myself become convinced that driving old, junk cars was a sign of holiness. No one could drive a new car and be a Christian, I used to think.
Everywhere I visited in UBF, I was identified by this one act: the boy who sold his new truck. The story became UBF folklore. I am ashamed that my story was used countless times to convict guilt upon other young people to sacrifice good things for UBF mission. I heard the story in all 6 countries where I visited UBF chapters, including Russia, Europe and Korea. They all knew about this story before I even told it in my testimony.
2012 Black Chevy Impala
For the past 20 years, I never bought a new car. I kept buying old cars thinking it was the “holy thing to do”.
In 2012 I decided this was foolish. I think it is better to buy a new car and maintain it so that I can reliably serve my family and friends. So we bought a new black Chevy. The picture to the right is the actual car. And I have no regrets about purchasing it.