199: Trucking with a Higher Purpose: John Noel’s Mission to Spread Good News

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, hosts Jeremy Kellett and Megan Cummings are joined by John Noel of Good News Distribution. John shares his near 50-year trucking journey and his mission in distributing Christian materials to truckers. He discusses the significance of faith on the road and his commitment to helping others join his distribution efforts. The conversation also covers the role of various ministries in supporting truckers, ways truckers can get help or get involved, and more. 

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • John’s background in Trucking and Work with Good News Distribution (2:58)
  • The ministry of GND (4:47)
  • Distribution of needed materials to Truckers (5:54)
  • Distribution Networks and Partnerships (7:26)
  • The impact of Bible distribution on Truckers (9:34)
  • Collaboration with Cry Mission (11:05)
  • Partnership with Gideons and Bible App Cards (14:06)
  • Supporting Good News Distribution (15:54)
  • Challenges in Material Distribution (17:33)
  • Evolution of Trucker Communication (20:19)
  • John’s personal impact in the distribution work (21:31)
  • Offering prayers and support for Truckers (23:03)
  • Connecting with Good News Distributors and Final Takeaways (23:35)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


John Noel  00:12

Back in the day, we didn’t talk to anybody all day and let me put quarters in a payphone at the end of the day to call our family or whatever. But now you’re on a headset all day listening to audio podcasts, having fellowship, you know, you got group calls, we have prayer lines and Bible studies going down the road. So you have a lot of communication, which you didn’t have back in the day. So when they got out of the truck, they wanted to go talk. Listen, I know God’s Word doesn’t refer to boys. He does it closer to God. I just do the plan and he’ll bring it to fruition.

Jeremy Kellett  00:43

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family. Hey, welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business and family. We are still coming to you from the Mid America truck show here in Louisville, Kentucky. And I tell you, it’s just a great place. We’ve met a lot of good people. A lot of people that know a lot about trucking, which you know, always got to throw in something different a little bit of a curve here today. We’re gonna sit down with John Knoll, he is with good news distribution. And he’s gonna tell us what all he is doing. First before we get to John, Megan is sitting in with Megan Cummings out of the Oakley office helping us in recruiting now and at her first truck show. So it’s been interesting to watch that too. Yeah. But, you know, I want to thank everybody for listening and tuning in to the Oakley podcast as always, I mean, it’s just great to know we got a lot of listeners out there. YouTube is big for subscribers. I mean, please keep doing that. Keep spreading the word we really do appreciate it out there.

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Jeremy Kellett  02:54

How about it, John? No, I appreciate you joining me. Let’s talk about good news distribution.

John Noel  02:58

I will thank you for having me, Lucky Oakley and the trucking company and the drivers out there that will hear this either today or at a later time.

Jeremy Kellett  03:06

I tell you, you know not to cut you off. But Introduce yourself. You know, let’s hear a little bit about John No. Okay.

John Noel  03:13

Well, John is almost 65 years old. I’ve been trucking for almost 5050 years 4040 Some years on and off, but full time for the last 20 as a company driver. Prior to that I was an owner operator. We had our own equipment for years. But now I distribute materials for the truckers. I found Jesus out here on the road. And I’ve been looking for materials to help me grow in my walk at trucker chapels and trucking ministries and have found some good stuff that I wanted to share with others. And it got into the distribution of truckers, Bibles, Christian materials for the trucking community, or you live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Okay, then born and grew up there. Yeah, I grew up there. Born and raised. Okay. So, I got a family. I have a wife, a daughter. That’s 23 in the Navy. Overseas right now. Listen to her. I have two boys from my first marriage as trucking truckers, no trucking industries, hired out of the family but I have grandkids from my oldest son. So a lot of them are up around Michigan. Everybody’s missing except my daughter’s out in Okinawa serving in the Navy.

Jeremy Kellett  04:29

Oh, wow. That’s impressive. That’s good. Yeah, I’m very thankful my

John Noel  04:33

oldest son served in the Iraq war as a paratrooper. And so it’s and my family has always been about serving.

Jeremy Kellett  04:43

What’s John Doe do when he got his for some free time at home up in Michigan ministry

John Noel  04:48

That is by Hobby, my passion, like everything. We do vacations around our ministers, and

Megan Cummings  04:55

you said you got saved on the road.

John Noel  04:57

I did. Listen to an audio from I just forgot the date now for Focus on the Family years ago.

Jeremy Kellett  05:08

Wow. Oh, I know you’re talking about I used to listen to him

John Noel  05:13

a lot. He actually has all these to get older now. Yes, yes. Yes. Separated.

Jeremy Kellett  05:20

You can tell Yeah. I can’t think of his name. I used to listen to him all the time driving to work and back, but I know exactly Focus on the Family, who you’re talking about. They’re pulled

John Noel  05:31

to the side of the road and got on my knees. But it’s been a progression since then you’ll

Megan Cummings  05:37

Do you remember? Do you remember how old you were when you got saved? I was 33. Wow. So that’s a good age to get saved. Yeah.

John Noel  05:43

As long as you’re still breathing. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  05:48

Any age will tell us about good news distribution and how you got started that well,

John Noel  05:54

out on the road. Again, I was looking for good resources. For me it started with CDs and podcasts, or was a podcast said that it was cassettes actually that I started picking up materials for to help me grow in my walk. And then I started sharing them with others. Good stuff I found. And this guy kept opening doors for CDs. 1000s of them that people needed distributing and I knew they were good. I checked them out before I passed them out myself. And then some New Testament Bibles, me and my wife started buying Bibles. And they got pretty costly and a ministry right in their hometown had three Bibles available in the New Testaments, and needed a way to distribute them. And I thought I could help them.

Jeremy Kellett  06:42

So you felt like the trucking community needed that that they didn’t? There just wasn’t enough resources there?

John Noel  06:51

Yes, that’s it. I know I did. And I was looking for good ones out there. A lot of the Bibles were small print. We could read them, especially as we get older. So I found ones with larger print. We produce the Bible now the past five years that has larger print, and is more geared towards truckers with help for them when they’re out there on the highway.

Jeremy Kellett  07:16

How many locations? I mean, do you distribute it? So how does it work? I mean, do you do you have a group of people that

John Noel  07:26

many many chaplains wrote chaplains, they call themselves or are individuals that helped me fill Bible racks, several retirees in our home town that filled Bible racks. We partner with ministries in the trucking industry. And they fell racks. I have about 135 that I know of that keep somebody filling them at all times when there’s a group of at least 30 of us, plus all the different ministries. That’s a full time deal to keep track of all that and you’re working full time. Yep. Then a company drove the past 13 years for a company that was crushed and owned and supported everything I do. They love to use the truck as a rolling warehouse. While I’m hauling freight. I also haul Bibles in my storage compartments in the cab and so they even route me to different areas if I need to get to a chapel or get to a ministry. We have distribution hubs, we call them around the country. They’ll find me a load out with me a little back so they pay me to read the gospel.

Megan Cummings  09:29

How many Bibles Do you think you send out just on average? Well,

John Noel  09:34

It’s been amazing that one of the Bibles I’ve been working with for 12 years we put 50,000 NASB New Testaments through truckers friends that work. And I’m one of their main distributors of those I store them in our warehouse. We partnered together and then my wife and I started pregnant with King James plus. Because of coming here to Louisville the past 10 years everybody out here likes King James and I’m actually not a kitchen guy, but I wanted to give them something that they wanted. And we did it in larger print, but chapter headings, paragraph breaks trucker commentaries in there. So it’s like studying the Bible. Yeah, kinda like a, it’s got a memorization area. It’s geared towards truckers, and it’s large enough where you can read it. And we’ve produced 110,000 In five years. So we’re very thankful for that.

Jeremy Kellett  10:25

Are you seeing a bunch of them? I mean, that getting picked up and used and, yeah, we hear your feedback. We don’t

John Noel  10:32

get a lot. We like to hear more. But we get to have a WordPress plan out here. There are quite a few of them. But yeah, everybody enjoys him. The distributors that distributed them like him, and, and they came out of being finding all the complaints and excuses people have for not reading the Bible. And so we made it easier for him to

Jeremy Kellett  10:54

come up with all kinds of excuses. Yeah, we do.

Megan Cummings  10:57

Guilty. Absolutely. How

Jeremy Kellett  11:01

about you? What

Megan Cummings  11:02

about your partnership with CRM, mission? CRI.

John Noel  11:05

CRI has been great, we had some surplus materials, we distributed dated materials, like kids have keys for kids, and so T days of that are dated by month or year, our daily bread is just devotion and we didn’t want to throw them away. And so I was looking for a place to use them. And I happened to call them and they were looking for somebody to pick up Bibles around the country, and get them back to their warehouse located in Fowlerville, Michigan. And Nia, my wife became part of their ministry. Right now we have a warehouse, we have a 24 hour drop off location. Like somebody here just gave me three cases of Bibles that we send to them, they sort through them, make sure they’re readable and not marked up. And they sorted them by theological training materials, next library of Christian books, or study Bibles. And they send them around the world about 20 to 25 Containers per year. Gold, all different countries over 176 nations, send them to just a great ministry. But what they use are dated materials for us to fill the boxes. Because when they palletize these things and containers up to the ceiling, they don’t want the boxes to crush it. All the Bibles are different sizes. So it’s really quite an art to fill a box so it won’t be crushed right. And so they use those devotionals and dated materials to fill the boxes. And we’ve had people call the contact and say that that one little devotional is all they had to preach from a pastor at a church for six months. And it’s only a three month devotional they want another one because that’s the only word of God they have. So

Megan Cummings  12:58

That’s pretty exciting. Is this something that they reach out to you guys for? Do you guys hand them out on foot? Is there a website?

John Noel  13:05

Here? I bet Shukra has a website. But they’re primarily focused on reaching out to nations. They don’t do a lot in the States, although they supply me now. Our ministry was Spanish New Testaments, they’re printing their own. They couldn’t get enough bibles to supply their ministries all around the world. And so they started recording their own New Testaments, both in English and Spanish. And I use their Spanish New Testament, right in West Michigan and through our other ministries, because there’s a lot of Hispanics coming into our nation, and they’re hungry for God’s word. So GRI has supplied me with probably four pallets this last fall and two more so probably five pallets now in the past eight months to distribute.

Jeremy Kellett  13:55

Have you ever made me think? Because we had a guy come speak at our church about a month ago. Have y’all ever worked with the Gideons? Yeah, yep,

John Noel  14:06

I distributed that partnership or I just just distributed their cards. Then we get surplus Gideon stuff that Gideon passes away like my uncle was a Gideon, and that he had a lot of resources that he’s been handing out. But when he passed, we took his resources and suddenly CRI and they sent them around the world. But I hand out their Bible app cards. Because most truck drivers aren’t real readers. They’re more audio. So I’ve distributed probably 20,000 of their Bible app cards. Now I print my own business card with 15 of the top mobile apps for the kids to Blue Thor. I swords, blue letters and all these different Bible apps that are free, and we share these with truck drivers to listen to Audible Li You know, Megan, the

Jeremy Kellett  15:02

you probably know this but you go to a hotel room and you pull out the drawer and there’s a Bible within there. Yeah, that’s from the Gideons. Yep. Yes.

Megan Cummings  15:14

You’re taking them out now. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  15:15

They probably are Yeah. Yeah. So it’s a scene

Megan Cummings  15:20

many many Gideon Bibles in my day.

John Noel  15:23

Because you know you open up and if you need a topic if your depression or addiction or whatever, it’ll tell you what Chapter verse to go to, to get some help. And we got to put that topical in our Bibles to Yeah, Gideons is an amazing ministry. But we’re nowhere near that. We’re not competition. We have one boss. There’s no need for all these ministries out there.

Megan Cummings  15:48

So for good news distribution, do you guys have any specific needs right now?

John Noel  15:53

We always have, the laborers are few. We’re always looking for more partners to help deliver Bibles and distribute them. financially. Of course, it does cost money to print Bibles live.

Megan Cummings  16:08

How does somebody get involved? They reach out to you directly? Yeah,

John Noel  16:10

We have a phone number of 616-262-6081. We have a website called Good news distribution.com. We have a Facebook page, but this distribution,

Jeremy Kellett  16:24

what’s the requirements? What do they need? They need to

John Noel  16:28

know Jesus and be willing to share the garden, you know, handout materials, we are looking for drivers to help relocate materials like CRI pastures pass away, or churches clothes or churches switch their Bible version. And we need to pick up, you know, three or four cases here. You know, they

Jeremy Kellett  16:47

need some room on their truck to open their

John Noel  16:50

trucks up can do it in their cab. I carry plenty of my cab . I have some drivers that carry 3040 cases in their cab books.

Megan Cummings  16:57

Do you guys ever do hands on like from truck stops handing out Bibles that way? I

John Noel  17:03

do. And some of our chaplains do. Yes, we even set up tables and sometimes in front of our trucks period this summer when it’s out or walk the lot and ask anybody if they have a Bible in their trucker. We have real life stories from step by step ministries, a trucker book that has 26 testimonies and truck drivers and a lot of drivers will listen or just pray with no talk. Just listen to

Jeremy Kellett  17:30

John, do you run into much controversy? Oh, yeah. I guess I mean, that is a you know, can’t do that here. Yeah, that’s

John Noel  17:41

That’s been happening more and more. Is it really Yeah, the locations are afraid to offend some of the other religions or, you know, if they allow one to do the allow another one. So a lot of materials have been removed from locations over the years. Some of the mentorships our partner has been doing for 28 years, 30 years. And these racks have been in these truck stops with, you know, they get bought out or the truck shop changes their policy or doesn’t want to offend some of their customers. Or don’t want to let in other materials. I’ll put our Bible next to the crowd or any other book any day of the week. Good or Yeah, but they just don’t want to have the cup, you know, the title for that. So do they remove the racks? Do

Megan Cummings  18:27

you find that there’s a lot of people who do what you guys do or you’re kind of a lone wolf?

John Noel  18:35

No, there’s actually about 20 to 30 of us that I know of, you know, and I just regional was, you know, from West Michigan, I get out to four or five states. I don’t really go far. But I have guys that go out nationally around the country drivers that are involved. I wish there were more there probably is more I just don’t know about them. Or people that have a heart and that’s a calling. I’ve had a lot of people help for a short period of time and then it’s just not what God’s called us to do. And I’m not called to do a lot of things either. So it’s what got to have a heart for

Jeremy Kellett  19:09

Oakley Trucking is a 100% Owner Operator company. We specialize in Hopper, bottom and dump and pneumatic trailers. We provide the trailer free of charge and you provide the truck. We have a large customer base that reaches the whole United States as well as parts of Canada. Our owner operators live anywhere from Texas to North Carolina to Pennsylvania to Wisconsin and everywhere in between and we get them home weekends. We take it seriously when you join Oakley trucking because we need you to be successful. Oakley offers great benefits and a competitive knowledge base so you know that when your wheels are turning, you’re generating money no matter if you’re loaded or empty. We understand that you want to make a good living and that you make our living. We only take on independent contractors and to be honest with you we’re very particular on who we lease on. You must have a good driving record, good work history, and a clean, dependable truck. So if you’re interested in Oakley trucking or just want some more information You can go to Oakley trucking.com. Listen to our weekly podcast, the Oakley podcast and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Before we got on here, I mean, you were talking for a second about the chapels. And not many of those as there used to be around how

John Noel  20:19

they closed them down. Drivers don’t have wealth. Back in the day, we didn’t talk to anybody all day and we put quarters in a payphone at the end of the day to call our family or whatever. But now you’re on a headset all day you’re watching, listening to audio podcasts, having fellowship, you know, you got group calls, we have prayer lines and Bible studies going down the road. So you have a lot of communication, which you didn’t have back in the day. So when they got out of the truck, they wanted to go talk to them, and you don’t see as much and the new le or ELD, the logging. Your fourteens up, you’re tired. But you couldn’t stop all day. You’ve been rushed during the day. So you run hard the 14th and 11 drive and everybody knows, yeah, the hours but by the end of the day you’re which so you really don’t have a lot of time to go to chapel. But there are some good ones out there. But it’s just not anywhere near what it was years ago.

Jeremy Kellett  21:18

Well, I got a feeling you’re making a difference.

John Noel  21:21

Absolutely. Oh, so I noticed Oh my that I’ve heard from a few and I know God’s Word doesn’t return boy. Well,

Jeremy Kellett  21:29

you’re not you’re not looking for? No, it’s not my record. Yeah,

John Noel  21:33

he does. He does good. I just do the plan and he brings it up to fruition.

Megan Cummings  21:38

Do you keep in contact with a lot of people that you meet? Or do you hear from them after?

John Noel  21:42

I do? Yeah, we have. And we get to meet at events like this and chaplains come down here are partners and I have a lot of drivers that aren’t chaplains, they just I have a lot even non Christian drivers that it’s a good deed for them to haul pick up a case for us. We have printers in different parts of the country, Omaha, Nebraska. I’ve always tried to get resources out of Omaha. I’ve had drivers pick them up at chaplains. A chaplain will meet them and load them in his truck. And then he brings them to me and I load him even though they’re not a Christian, they’re doing a good thing. And they get to be around matter. Yeah. And realize a Christian doesn’t have three eyes or something. That’s all crazy. Yeah.

Jeremy Kellett  22:32

Well, good. Well, anything else you’d like to add?

John Noel  22:35

Not really, again, good news distribution is here to serve others. And if anybody would like to get involved with helping distribute these materials or networking with us, give us a call.

Jeremy Kellett  22:49

And if they just want to talk to you, they can give you a call anytime.

John Noel  22:52

I carry myself all the time. And we’ll

Jeremy Kellett  22:55

we’ll definitely put the information up on the podcast and your website and your name. And so they can get phone numbers so they can get in touch. We

John Noel  23:03

I appreciate it. Yeah. And if any driver needs prayer, you know, I’m available to Gary Rayburn from Loadsa road. I work with our guide trucking ministries, truckstop ministries, Association of Christian truckers, and good trucking angels for Christ’s for women. You know, we have a partnership with all these ministries, so we can direct them to somebody that can help them in their area.

Jeremy Kellett  23:26

Yeah, we’ll try to list all those might be on the on the episode so they can look, the woman can contact

John Noel  23:33

her LinkedIn. Awesome. Thank you very much. Thanks, John.

Jeremy Kellett  23:38

Appreciate you joining us. Thanks, everybody, for listening to the Oakland podcast. Once again. We appreciate it. And if you have questions about the good news distribution, we’ll talk to John, give us a call and we’ll get in touch with you. Once again. We appreciate it. We’ll talk to you next week. Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.