A Man with a Mission
By Jennifer Bates Hughes
Picture this… Raleigh, February 2019. Torrey Bates sits in his new home surrounded by 6 of his children, his wife and their 2 dogs. Gunshots reign in the background as just the noise of life. There is no reaction from Torrey. No quick head turn, no pause in everyday activities, not even a flinch of the eye. After all, Torrey and his family have been here a whole month and those sounds are now “normal.”
Now fast forward 3 years to February 2022. Same scenario in which Torrey sits in his home with his family, still 6 kids in the house, his wife, and now 4 dogs. The sound of gunshots reign but today they’re not just background noise. Today, Torrey stops, turns his head up, then falls to his knees in prayer.
From the outside looking in, you may ask, what’s the difference? What must have happened in the last 3 years to change this man’s reaction? To be honest it wasn’t the three-year span of time. It was one night. It was one incident. It was one random act in which Torrey found himself within the walls of Methodist South after his truck took 16 bullets. Only one of those bullets made it through the windshield and into his cheek finally settling in his neck. Now I could take the time to tell you the story of that night, but that’s not why we’re here today. Today we will begin the journey to find out why Torrey was saved that night.
Torrey was raised in the church. He knew the words to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” before he even knew what a true friend was. As he got older, he heard God calling him to study the Word even deeper. He began preaching at the young age of 18. He spoke to crowds of youth every Wednesday and even more so on Sundays. He was walking with God, or at least that’s what he would have told you back then. Of course, our story never ends at 18 years old. Eventually, his walk would guide him down his own path with God close behind. That’s right. God was still on his mind, yet He became an afterthought rather than the first instinct. Torrey prayed regularly and thanked God for all he had. However, God knew that there was so much more awaiting Torrey and He needed to get his attention in a drastic way. This brings us back to that one fateful night in which God literally yelled at Torrey and then pulled him by the arm and led him to Methodist South. God took over the hands of the doctors and nurses and guided them through the care that Torrey needed that night. God took over the tongue of his wife who told him over and over again to keep his eyes open while he was being cared for in the hospital. God took the bullet and slid it through Torrey’s cheek and rested it in his neck for a constant reminder of His goodness.
Torrey was saved on Saturday, December 18, 2021, for something much greater than himself. He was rescued from an inevitable death for the glory of God and today he sees this clearer than ever before. Torrey has a new vision for this world and it begins in Raleigh. Hearing from the Lord during the pandemic, Torrey and his fellow employees began a program called Feed the Block in which they began to feed about 50 children a day. This quickly grew and at the height of the program, they were feeding upwards of 1400 people daily. However, Torrey understands that this is just like plugging the dam. This is not a long-term fix of the food insecurity found in Raleigh. With this said, Torrey is currently working on a project to bring an agrihood to the Raleigh community that will provide sustainable living, employment and nutrition to the residents. Torrey sees a future in which the people of Raleigh are once again the main attraction to visitors. Where the springs run clean and where the hills roll along filled with fruits and vegetables as well as herbs and spices. Torrey sees a place in which those with no address can finally have an address. Torrey sees a community in which we are all as one, working together and living amongst each other as God intended for His people. As I said, Torrey was saved on Saturday, December 18, 2021, for something much greater than himself. He was saved to fight against gun violence and to help end food insecurity in his own backyard.
If you would like to know more about Torrey Bates' story and what happened on December 18, 2021, you can find his book: RISE, 5 Hours That Changed My Life on Amazon. This will explain the night in detail and highlight the miracles God performed that night. Torrey, who will call himself Yahweh's Walking Miracle, took a bullet, drove himself to the hospital, and 5 hours later walked out of the hospital heading home to his family.
Torrey Bates: A Man with a Mission