By Braden Ochs | Echo
Joe on the Go, the new coffee shop for Upland, adds another option for bonding. The well-priced coffee, welcoming atmosphere and the close proximity to Taylor's campus are things to cherish.
Brian Blevins, general manager at Joe on the Go, loves to meet new people and share his story, a story including his ankle bracelet. While some feel shame toward house arrest, Blevins sees it as an opportunity to share his story.
Blevins grew up in Hartford City with good parents and a good family. His parents raised him Pentecostal. He didn't have with a relationship with Jesus. He did well in school and was class president at Blackford High School. Senior year, Blevins started to hang out with the wrong crowd. He experimented with marijuana, alcohol and over-the-counter medication. His grades started to slip, and he didn't do well on the SAT.
By age 19, Blevins was selling drugs and making more cash than his father, who worked at General Motors in Marion. He had been arrested many times, but never spent time in prison.
On Nov. 24, 2015, he experienced his last arrest. Instead of visiting family for Thanksgiving and his father's birthday, he went to Indianapolis to get drugs for the holidays. According to Blevins, it got to the point where he was physically dependent on drugs.
When he got back to Hartford City, he was caught and surrounded by 10 police officers. He sprinted out of his car, and he carried his drugs in a bottle. In order to get rid of the evidence, he threw the drug bottle at a tree 20 feet away. The drugs hit the top middle of the tree and bounced right back at him. The bottle landed next to him.
Blevins lied to the police about the ownership of the drugs, but they didn't believe him, as he had lied to them before. For 10 days in the jail cell, he didn't eat. He was so filled with shame and guilt that he couldn't even call his parents.
"I wanted to die," Blevins said.
While Blevins spent time in jail, his father contacted a man from their family church to meet with him. He asked Brian Blevins if he died right now, where would he go? That question hit him hard, and he started weeping. The man prayed for him, and Brian asked God for forgiveness. After that, he felt lighter.
When the man left, Blevins stepped in the shower for the first time in 10 days. He put his hands on the wall, closed his eyes and prayed.
"I know I always go to you whenever I get in trouble," Blevins said. "If you're real, I need you."
On Dec. 10, 2015, right there in the shower, Blevins was touched. Prior to his shower, he had anxiety disorder, carpal tunnel, back disease and all kinds of problems. And God healed him of everything. He hasn't been sick since that day.
With his court date in six months, Blevins went home. His family did not disown him, but welcomed him, but they were concerned for his health. On Jan. 3, 2016, he started going to a church program called "Thinking for a change," and they met everyday for 90 days. On March 6, 2016, he was baptized.
Soon after, Blevins accepted a challenge to read aloud John 14-17 everyday for 21 days. With this challenge, he formed a relationship with Jesus.
After six months of being clean, Blevins showed up for his court date. Before the session started, he found 50 people and five pastors came with him in court, laid their hands on him and prayed with him. His lawyer asked for house arrest in the state, but prosecution wanted him to go to prison for three years with an additional three years on house arrest.
After the judge reviewed his case, he allowed Blevins to write his own prescription for his recovery. He requested six years of house arrest, which the judge gave him. He started his house arrest sentence in June 2016, which means he is able to go to work, church, Bible study, recovery meetings and has two hours a week for errands.
After his court date, he began a ministry called Hope House, and their mission is to give hope to those who are struggling with life and addiction. They meet in the Grace United Methodist Church in Hartford City. Blevins has also shared his story for more than 20 different churches.
After Joe on the Go started, one of the business leaders contacted Blevins with a job offer. He happened to be a high school friend of Blevins', and this friend had been watching Blevins on Facebook for a year. He liked Blevins so much that eventually he made him manager of the new location in Upland.
"I'm here in this world for a minute," Blevins said. "I want to expand God's kingdom and give him all the glory as much as I can. I'm a vessel to be used by him."
Blevins is now the general manager of both locations in Upland and Portland, Indiana. Blevins loves to meet new people and share his story with his customers. Whenever you take a trip to Joe on the Go, ask if Brian Blevins is there. He eagerly awaits to tell you his story one coffee cup at a time.