Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Bible Patrol Man

The Rev. Mark Hyde established himself as the Bible Patrol Man in 2003 and
travelled around in a Ford Crown Victoria to minister to people in the community.
(Courtesy photo by the Rev. Mark Hyde)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 (KJV)
The words that John wrote eons ago are crystal clear and evident to the Rev. Mark Hyde that God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and that His Word will live forever – and in man’s heart as well when man surrenders to God’s authority.
Hyde has done just that – surrendered it all. Now he’s exegeting the Word of God – as did John and other men of God in their day – trying to win souls for the “Kingdom.” And he’s doing all this and more as the “Bible Patrol Man,” a moniker that defines his ministry.
 “I explain the Word of God on a kindergarten level and try my best not to offer an opinion,” said Hyde, who came to the United States in 1987 from the Caribbean island of Jamaica. “Once you accept the truth, you find a church to go to.”
Hyde’s story began once he settled in the U.S. and acclimated himself to the culture here and a different kind of democracy, which differs from the parliamentary democracy of Jamaica. Ten years later, he married the former Angela Miller and bore a son, Joseph Hyde.
Hyde started his ministry after meeting his wife at a Bible retreat for singles. Afterward, he matriculated at South Dakota Mission College of Evangelism, a small, personal college for “those who want to be soul-winners for Christ.”
The direction Hyde was headed kept him focused on his mission: to win souls for Christ. After graduating from college, he served a stint in ministry in Colorado, where his mother-in-law, Annie Miller, touted his ministry to the Rev. Joe Crider, then the pastor of Mallory Heights SDA Church of Memphis.
Crider urged Hyde to come to Memphis. He explained that his innate talent for winning souls was greatly needed here. Shortly thereafter, Hyde relocated and picked up where he’d left off in Colorado – winning souls.  
With Bible in hand, Hyde started knocking on doors, determined to spread the same “Good News” that he’d been afforded. But his work in evangelism at the onset was anything but good news to those who saw him coming and going with some trepidation.
“I didn’t get a good response from anyone,” he said. “Someone would look out the window and say, ‘Mom…the police.’” That’s because Hyde was driving a Ford Crown Victoria, which was mistaken for a police cruiser.
Hyde was gifted the 4-door sedan in Colorado and used it daily to travel to and fro exegeting Scriptures. Then it dawned on him that the police cruiser that was widely used in law enforcement was seen as a threat to people in low-income communities where the police was unwelcomed.
“I prayed and asked God to show me what I could do to reach the people,” said Hyde, trying to find an unencumbered way to connect to the community. “That’s when it happened. The Lord gave me the name Bible Patrol Man.”
It had hit Hyde like a “Damascus Road” experience and suddenly his prayer was answer. He purchased a magnetic sign and placed it on the cruiser, and the problem of mistaken identity was solved. The sign read: “Got Questions? Who You Gonna Call? Bible Patrol Man.” A telephone number was imprinted as well.
“It’s a play on words,” said Hyde, referring to his moniker. “It’s still a patrol car, but a patrol car for a different reason.”
That was 12 years ago. Now the 48-year-old Hyde is making headway as the Bible Patrol Man, claiming since his arrival in Memphis in 2002 that as many as several hundred “souls” were baptized as a result of his ministry.
But it was Janis Fullilove’s talk show on radio station WLOK 1340 AM that rocketed Hyde as the affable Bible exegetist, which, he said matter-of-factly, endeared him and his mobile ministry to her listening audience.
“Janis Fullilove had invited me to come on the radio station around 2004 or 2005, and that thing took off,” he said. “[Afterward] when they saw the car, they would say, ‘That’s the guy on the Fullilove show.’” 
Since then, Hyde has ridden the crest of support from followers who look to the gospel preacher, teacher and evangelist to imbue them with the Word of God and point them in the direction leading to the “Kingdom.”
Pansy Ray noted her appreciation of Hyde’s ministry in a Q&A that was printed in a souvenir booklet honoring his 12th anniversary. She responded to all questions with frankness, but her response to one of them was affirmation that Hyde had made the right decision when he took on the moniker Bible Patrol Man.
“My faith in God became stronger once I met Pastor Mark Hyde. I became a bolder witness for Christ…I want to be more like Jesus just like the Bible Patrol Man,” said Ray, responding to the question What did you find as a result of having the Bible Patrol Man experience?
Hyde has traveled as far away as the West Coast to answer the call of ministry, including mission trips to other countries. He also has provided food, clothing, furniture and air conditioning – making sure one’s spiritual needs and physical needs are met – and lends a helping hand at times to charitable organizations.
“I travel all over the city whenever the need arrives,” he said. “I go out there and patrol. I visit people in the hospital, pray for them and anoint them. My main thing is small group Bible study, or one-on-one Bible study.”
The ultimate goal, he said, is for people to have a true understanding of the unadulterated truth of God. “I get satisfaction when I see someone accept the truth and go to a watery grave (baptism). I want to enlarge the kingdom, de-populate hell, and expose the devil for who he is.”
Sometimes Hyde’s wife and son go out on patrol with him. For the most part, Angela and Joseph take their cue from Hyde and patrol when their schedules permit. But not in the Ford Crown Victoria; the engine, he said, died in 2014.
“I’m deliberating on putting the magnetic sign on another car,” said Hyde. “If I put it on anything, it has to have that same look. I want it to look like a police car.”  

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