From a young age Kenny Gill knew he had a gift to fix cars. Even as an almost toddler, he was repairing the family car. It was something he didn't understand, but did not ignore.
"I had to struggle with school, but when it came to mechanical things, I did extremely well with it," said Grace Auto Works Owner Kenny Gill. "I just worked on cars at a young age, then started doing it for a living." Through his life and professional career, Gill admits there have been a lot of ups and downs. There were times he knew he wasn't living in the way he felt God wanted him to live. One of the lowest, as he would call it, came in 1999. Still in church, Gill decided to go on a mission trip to Guatemala. It was there he felt God began to speak.
"He told me he wanted me to work for him," said Gill. It would be there Gill's gift for repair began. While on that trip, Gill believes God put some Guatemala men in his path. It was again, a broken car the men were trying to repair when Gill stepped in.
"My Spanish is A's and O's and God allowed me to communicate with them enough to let me have it, and I put it back together," said Gill. "As I put it back together, I had these young men watching me. Right then God pierced my heart, and I realized our lives are like this master cylinder. It's got a lot of pieces, a lot of broken pieces, but when those pieces come back together, and they fit where they are supposed to fit, it works. We started it in 1999 with kids from our church and kids from other churches coming to my house. We had a two car garage and we had 35-40 cars, working on cars, and it was great, and we loved it." Gill continued to pray that God give him all the talents he needed to go out on his own. To start a ministry that would assist people in the critical area of transportation, a prayer that lasted for eight years. Finally, he heard a message one day at church that changed his perspective.
"I started praying different then that day," said Gill. "I started praying okay God if your not going to give it to me, then equip other people to do what I can't for the ministry, for Chariots of Grace. That's what he started doing. He started putting people in my path that would take care of. Business needs, my lawyer, my CPA's, all this stuff started falling together. All these pieces of the puzzle, I had been trying to force in there that wasn't fitting, was all of a sudden fitting, so I knew God was putting the plan together. He was putting the hands and feet to the ministry." In a short time, Gill left his "job" as a mechanic with the city and opened Grace Auto Works. It was here his prayer to minister to people was realized. He quickly began a group called Chariots of Grace. Working after hours and using volunteers Chariots of Grace began to help people in a place so critical to existence. Like the work on a truck. It belonged to a man Gill knew from a local church. Disabled from an accident, the man was facing mounting financial difficulties. Gill and Chariots of Grace did an extreme makeover, from motor to body to upholstery.
"We see people all that time that will get a job, and then they don't have transportation," said Gill. "Or, they have a job and their transportation breaks. They don't have a lot of funds to start with and whenever they have a car that breaks every other day, or the motor goes out, or something major goes wrong with it, it devastates them, it takes a seemingly bad situation and make it terrible." It's this kind of work Gill hopes he can turn into a full time ministry. By the end of the year, it is his hope to become a non-profit organization that works through relief organizations and churches to provide this kind of service.
"We knew at that moment what God had done in that hotel room in Guatemala has finally come full circle and had come back," said Gill. "We are excited what's going to happen in this year."