MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A Memphis pastor is practicing turning the other cheek by offering to help the person who stole his truck during a community food giveaway.
Pastor Ronnie King remembers the initial shock of realizing he was the latest victim of crime right outside Grace Baptist Church on North Manassas in the middle of a church food giveaway on September 12th.
“Between 10 and 10:30 one of my guys that was working with it, he said, ‘Hey, Pastor, somebody is driving down the road in your truck’ and I looked at him and I really burst out laughing because I thought he was joking. And he said it again ‘Pastor someone is driving down the road in your truck.'” King said.
It was no joke. Pastor King’s paid-off F-150 truck was gone. He said they used something to start the truck and took off.
It was a wake-up call for the pastor who has led Grace Baptist in finding new ways to help the New Chicago community. Just two years ago, WREG highlighted how they were remodeling abandoned property and giving people in need a place to live.
Pastor King said one thing this crime hasn’t done is make him give up on this community and the young people in it. One of the church members who saw the truck drive away said it seemed to be a teen behind the wheel.
Ironically, for the last 10 months, Grace Baptist has opened its doors to juveniles in trouble by providing a place for Juvenile Court to hold its Cease Fire Prevention Program that mentors teens caught with guns and their parents.
“I will not allow one incident to happen to me personally to discourage me. So actually what they’ve done, they have energized me They motivated me,” King said.
Now, he has an offer for the teen who stole his truck.
“So I will say this to the young person who stole my truck. I’ll give you no less than $1,000 but no more than $2000 if you bring my truck back, but even if you got rid of my truck, but you want to repent I’ll help you. I will help you. I will make referrals for you. I’m not interested in locking you up. I’m interested in you knowing that you have other alternatives,” King said.
The pastor said the person who stole the truck must agree to go to counseling and work to turn his life around to get the money. It’s his way of showing there is still hope.
“I will never give up on our young people,” he said.
Pastor King did file a police report on his stolen truck but, so far, it hasn’t been found.