ST. LOUIS (BP)–Joe Boyd is making the biggest comeback of his life. After battling alcoholism, a gambling problem, unemployment and homelessness, the St. Louis mechanic has relied on God in launching his own business.
Boyd, a member of Bellefontaine Baptist Church in St. Louis, is the owner, the manager and one of three mechanics at Joe Boyd’s Brakes, Mufflers & More, at the corner of Chippewa and South Kingshighway. Boyd still can’t believe he’s made it this far.
The mechanic’s life was such a mess at one time that he still keeps track of the number of days since he turned his life over to Christ. “It’s been 851 days,” he said in mid-August.
Boyd openly discusses his past mistakes and how his faith has helped him through the tough times. The mechanic hopes he can make a difference in the lives of his customers. “God has given me so many things,” he said. “This is a gift from God. God sent me here, no doubt about it. Not only am I fixing cars, I’m fixing people. A lot of these people would never set foot in a church.”
Though Boyd goes from day to day not knowing how some of his shop’s expenses will be paid, he keeps a positive outlook. “I don’t have any problems. I may have concerns, but not problems,” he said. “I know God will provide. Every day God sends me someone that can either help me or I can help them.”
Bellefontaine Baptist Church — which Boyd, his wife, Joann, and their two sons attend — invested $30,000 in his new business. Other friends also have helped finance the project.
Pastor Leo Daugherty said, “We have seen such a change in Joe. We have invested a lot of money in this man, and we believe it is going to come back tenfold. He’s got his life on track.”
Daugherty remembers a time when Boyd had hit “rock bottom.” He had gambled all his money away and had lost his family’s home. He also was battling alcoholism.
“They came down to the point where they were almost street people,” Daugherty said.
At that point, Boyd knew he needed to change his life. He had been attending the church, but not regularly. With the help of the congregation, Boyd and his family moved into a church facility where missionaries often were allowed to stay.
A few months later, the Boyds moved into a small home in Maryland Heights, where they have lived for the past two years. “I told God, ‘Take me or save me,’ and he decided to save me,'” Boyd said.
After Boyd was saved and gave up alcohol and gambling, his family started to dig their way out of financial ruin. Then late last year, he was fired from a good-paying mechanic’s job.
Boyd said his employers grew tired of his unwillingness to sell automobile parts that customers didn’t need. He also was criticized for sharing his faith on the job. “They said my religion was getting in the way.”
After four months without a job, Boyd opened his own garage with the church’s help.
Daugherty said Boyd’s story is a classic tale of loss and redemption. “This man has had some good-paying jobs, and he blew it,” the pastor said. “And the Lord has been gracious enough to give him another opportunity. Joe is kind of our mission field.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: JOE BOYD.