RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi Bureau of Investigation agent Bubba Holifield reflects on the day of a standoff in Tishomingo County. He was shot, along with two other MHP Troopers, and MBN Agent Lee Tartt was killed in the chaos. That was February of 2016.
“God changed everything,” Holifield said.
Even in the hospital, during his time healing, and as he and his wife pondered ways to honor Tartt’s sacrifice, little did he know how much different his life would be.
Holifield had been a youth pastor and he loved it. He said he never really thought of ever going into anything other than local ministry. But God was bringing Holifield through something in order to build something much bigger.
“When my incident happened and I was shot, my wife and I wanted to do something to show our honor for his memory, and one thing we did was dedicate our ministry in the memory of Lee Tartt,” Holifield said.
Tartt also inspired the name of the ministry: Warriors By Grace. “Warriors,” Holifield said, because Lee Tartt was a warrior to the end.
“By Grace” for the obvious reason, he said.
“Everything we do is because of God’s grace. Every gift that we have is because of God’s grace. Every joy that we have is only because of God’s grace and what he paid for us when he died on the cross.”
One thing was also clear: This life was no longer the same as it had been that day that Lee Tartt died. Holifield could no longer sit at home and be a simple youth pastor in his time away from Highway Patrol.
“My wife and I, we knew that something had changed. I’d been going on mission trips before that, but something was now different,” he said.
That difference, it would seem, would be the calling to places far and near. Costa Rica, Illinois, Alabama, New Orleans... but also Morton, Pelahatchie, Forest, and Lake in Mississippi. And just like that night in Tishomingo County, God has protected Bubba Holifield.
“We’ve had churches that have refused to go with us to certain areas because it was a more high crime area. But our team actually goes and we’ve never had any problems," he said. "We’ve gone there and been treated very well because we show that we care about the people there.”
While that Trooper training could come in handy, Holifield says he has learned to check his cop instincts at the door.
“I learned to put my badge down and not only look at the people just as human beings, but just also look at them with love,” he said.
There are roughly 30 members of Warriors By Grace, mostly here in Mississippi, but there are also some in Illinois and South America. The ministry is currently working on a diaper drive for a Christian women’s shelter in Alabama.
If you want more information on how to help or how to donate to Warriors By Grace, click here.