RED WING -- George Gabrielson and his wife Amber run Jesus Driven, a nonprofit car repair ministry offering services to low-income individuals and families in Goodhue County.
Gabrielson -- a mechanical engineer -- does most of the repairs himself at no-cost labor charges.
The Republican Eagle spoke with Gabrielson about Jesus Driven, client stories and more.
How did Jesus Driven get started?
After a couple years of God pushing me to start helping people with car repair, I finally approached my wife and told her I thought it was time to start a car repair ministry. At the time, neither of us had ever heard of a similar ministry. We had no idea what we were doing or where to start, but we decided that if God wanted us to do it, He would help us along the way.
We officially started Jesus Driven in June of 2018, out of our garage. We were both working full-time and doing Jesus Driven on the side. I was working on cars in our garage after work and my wife (Amber) was meeting with clients on her lunch break and after work. In November of 2019, I left my engineering job and started working for Jesus Driven full-time.
What services does Jesus Driven offer?
Our labor is free and our clients are expected to pay for their own parts. We also offer limited towing services, occasionally help clients move, pray with them, share Jesus with them as they are interested and try to help them with whatever else we can while we are working with them. We meet every Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. in our shop for prayer night, which we invite our clients, supporters and anyone who wants to join us to pray.
Why did you start it?
We started this ministry because we saw the need for transportation and car repair assistance in the community, and we believed that God called us to do something about it. We are able to help people with their vehicles, but more importantly we are able to share Jesus with our clients. A working vehicle is temporary, but the life change that Jesus offers is eternal.
What are your future goals?
Future goals can be tricky. Our ultimate goal is to serve the Lord, wherever He leads us. Currently, we are working on expanding our repair capacity so that we can reach more people. We also hope to expand to Hastings sometime in the next six months and we are always working to build closer relationships with our clients. Many of our clients need a solid support system and we would very much like to be a part of that.
What client stories would you like to share?
All stories below have been altered to hide the identity of the clients.
Client A: We met A shortly after her children had been placed in foster care and her husband was being sent to prison. She was struggling with addiction and her vehicle was broken again. She had just lost her job due to pending charges related to her children being placed in foster care. Her vehicle needed a fairly expensive part that was going to be difficult for her to afford, even used. Shortly after meeting her, she came to our very first prayer night and met another client who had a vehicle that was going to the junkyard. This vehicle had the part that A's vehicle needed. She was able to get the parts she needed for free. The day she picked up her fixed vehicle was her first day of sobriety. She has now been sober for almost a year and a half, she has full custody of her children again and has a full-time job. Her husband has been sober for a year and a half, has been released from prison and is working full-time. They are now working on being married and sober together while they raise their children. They have both placed their faith in Jesus and He has drastically changed both of their lives. We are still in close contact with them and we see them in person at prayer night almost every week.
Client B: When I met B, she was fighting to get her kids back from her ex-husband, who had fabricated a child protection case against her and was a perpetrator of emotional abuse. She had struggled for a long time to leave him and her trouble with him seemed like it would never end. Her vehicle was also badly broken and 180 miles away. It had broken down on one of her long treks to visit her kids who were now in the temporary custody of her ex-husband. As it turned out, we were headed to that very town in a couple weeks for another event, so we were able to tow her vehicle back to our shop for her and repair it. We were able to pray with her and offer her encouragement and advice as she struggled to have her children returned, even after the court ordered that they be returned to her. She now has custody of her children again and her vehicle is doing great.
Does Jesus Driven have any events coming up?
We are having an open house -- Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in our garage located at 111 Hill St. -- to mainly share what we have seen God do in the last year. We like to share about the ministry with people who are not familiar with us and chat with all of our supporters that we don't see as often as we would like. We also will be taking t-shirt and sweatshirt orders as a part of a fundraising effort. We hope to find more volunteers to help us with vehicle repair.