I own a body and fabrication shop in a small town in east-central Ohio. I feel blessed to be able to do what I love every day. But even more exciting than creating cool things out of metal and bringing old rust buckets back to life is the opportunity to share my faith with anyone who stops by. From the day I opened the shop, I let it be known my door is always open. While I can’t hire any full-time employees, I enjoy giving young people a chance to work for a day every so often. I’m able to use my skills to build relationships as we fashion metal and rebuild cars. ‘Don’t invite them to church, invite them to life’ is one of my favorite mantras. For several years, I offered classes to introduce myself to the community. Kids came to make snowmen out of bolts and metalwork flowers so they could have Christmas gifts for their parents. And I enjoy helping older kids discover the finer points of car care. I’ve shown some how to machine metal and repair vehicles. One year, we planted a community garden in the yard adjacent to the shop, and the outside wall facing the plot has become a display case for the children’s fence-sized artwork. Today, I experience the high point of this endeavor every time someone walks in the door to shoot the breeze. Most just need a listening ear, but many times, I have an opportunity to share Jesus. I remember the time in my life when I smoked, drank, partied, and lived for the things of this world. I’m glad I have the opportunity to share my experience and make a difference in the lives of the broken and addicted. Every year, I find myself with more friends than I had the year before. Some have called my humble shop a ministry, but I prefer to call it creating relationships.
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