Motorway Text Trust
Dennis Noon, Airedale, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
As a result of seeing secular adverts, two separate groups of believers became exercised about displaying the word of God by the side of motorways. One group attempted using fabric signs but without success. Then an approach was made to a commercial company about costs for using their hoardings, but the price was astronomical.
In the course of time, news spread amongst the saints of our exercise and soon a 40-foot-long trailer, devoid of an advert and situated by the side of the M62 Liverpool to Hull motorway was located. It was in a farmer’s field, previously used by a commercial company which had long since abandoned it. The farmer arranged for us to use it to display the scriptures at a cost of £175 per month which we thought to be reasonable, and a trust was formed taking the name of ‘Motorway Text Trust’.
The trailer was washed and, as it did not require painting, plastic letters supplied by Bowden Signs of Castleford and Kingston Signs, Peterborough, with much difficulty in breezy weather, were fixed in place. We were delighted with the result as now thousands of drivers passing by would read the words, ‘BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED’. Site Number 1 was ‘up and running’.
We decided to set up a web site and the address was added to our Number 1 site. Shortly after, we began to receive emails and whilst some were critical most were supportive.
Another 40-ft. trailer, situated in an excellent position by the side of the A1 roadway just north of Doncaster, was noticed. The believers who informed us have enthusiastically supported us, prayerfully, practically, and financially. With their practical help we were able to fix two texts on one side of the trailer. The top one said: ‘PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD’ and, underneath, ‘BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND YOU WILL BE SAVED’.
The problem of what text to put on the end of the trailer was solved when the wife of one of our Trust members suggested, ‘JESUS IS LORD’, which we thought provided a nice balance and so, along with our website address, this was put in position. When we discovered that the other side of our display could be seen from a road running at right angles to the A1 the word ‘ETERNITY’ in large letters was also put in place.
The inspiration for the word ‘eternity’ came from the example set by a believer in Sydney, Australia. Feeling he couldn’t do much for the Lord, he chalked on the pavements ETERNITY at strategic points and people were saved through it, praise God! Now site Number 2 was ‘up and running’.
A sample of some of the emails we began receiving are:-
1) ‘We were greatly encouraged yesterday to see one of your texts on the M62 when travelling home to Liverpool after our church weekend away’.
2) ‘Travelling recently on the M62 I was thinking how good it would be to see Bible texts on the many billboards; how pleasant it was later that day to see the text on a trailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”’.
3) Two backslidden Christians saw the text, went home and began reading the scriptures again.
4) We aso received many messages of encouragement from individuals and groups of Christians.
While sites 1 and 2 were operating we were approached by another farmer who had a 40-ft. trailer without an advert on it. He asked if we would like to use it. However, costs were now running at £350 per month – had we enough faith to go forward?
Negotiations commenced with the farmer and a price agreed, a little less than the others, so once again (but now with more experience behind us) we put on the large side of the trailer the text, ‘Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE, NO ONE COMES UNTO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME”’. Hallelujah! Site Number 3 was up and providing a further ‘Wayside Pulpit’.
This text can be seen on the M62 between junctions 31-30 travelling west. No web address was put on this trailer. Site No. 1 opened 1st October 2007; No. 2, 1st November 2007; No. 3, 22nd January 2008.
We decided to send a newsletter to make known the work and, as a result, the prayer support increased and our financial needs were met. The database of supporters that we hold now stands at 150. If you would like to receive our newsletters we would be more than pleased to add your mailing address to the list.
When a local bus company began offering space for advertising on the back of their buses at £2 per day we decided to use this channel also to spread God’s word. Therefore, since September 2008, people in West Yorkshire have been able to read the text Romans chapter 6 verse 23 on one bus, along with an email contact address.
Further development in the work of the Trust was that we arranged for the word of God to be displayed on the platforms of the railway stations in Leeds and Sheffield. The display panels (1.5 metres by 1 metre), of which there were five, were used to display a text for a period of two weeks. As this proved to be rather expensive, it has not been repeated.
Shortly after our first site was erected, various brethren began to say that displaying the word of God in such a way as we were doing by the side of motorways might be illegal. They also supplied us with sections of the law relative to the matter. At the end of October 2008 we were notified by the farmers owning sites 1 and 2 that they had been ordered by local authorities to remove the trailers or blot out the words. This order was complied with and we were left with just one site working and that was No. 3. This was the one without a website.
However, through a careful reading of the law, we noted that, following a law case in Derby, the judge stated that a display with only a message on it has yet to be decided if it constitutes an advert. It was under the heading ‘Illegal Advertising’ that our texts had to be removed. Eventually we got the farmers to permit the restoration of both sites minus the website so that once again all our motorway trailers are bearing witness to the love of God in providing a wonderful Saviour.