The driver of the popular Barbarian Monster Truck, Devin Jones, and his wife Samantha, are offering a Free Family Fun night for the public at their church, Liberty Baptist Church.
MIAMI – It's been said many times that God works in mysterious ways, and now even a Monster Truck can be used as a testimony to faith.
The driver of the popular Barbarian Monster Truck, Devin Jones, and his wife Samantha, are offering a Free Family Fun night for the public starting at 4 p.m. on June 4 at their church, Liberty Baptist Church, which is located at 116 B Street SE in Miami next to the Boys and Girls Club.
Jones built his trucks from the ground up, working as his own crew, and has made his name and the Barbarian well known in the monster truck industry through his hard work and dedication which has lead to great winning performances.
In 2013 Jones won the acclaimed Monster Truck Throwdown tour championship, and he competes annually in the Monster Jam World Finals, the largest and most prestigious event in the sport, and is touring the country in a jam-packed season of shows. He's won many events and fans with his skilled racing, freestyles, wheelies, donuts and crowd-pleasing backflips.
At the Free Family Fun Night event, the Miami couple will be sharing their own personal testimonies on how God took them from “Barbarians to Family.”
The Barbarian Monster Truck will be on display after the Jones give their testimonies, and Devin will sign free one-of-a kind autograph sheets given only to those who attend the event. Samantha sings beautifully and will share some special songs.
“Everybody's invited. We're going to have those who come sign up because we're giving away four packs of tickets in a drawing to the Monster Truck Show in Miami the next weekend,” Samantha said. “When we're done we're going to have bounce houses, we're going to serve free hot dogs, popcorn, and snow cones. We want it to be fun and not preaching at people, and we want to fellowship and hang out.”
The husband and wife both admit this event is outside their own comfort zone. Samantha works as a Bailiff/Secretary for the Ottawa County District Court's Associate Judge.
“I've had this in my head for a couple of years and had this all planned out. Devin doesn't really speak in front of people, and it's funny when he's at a Monster Jams show there could be 10,000 people there and they will shove a mic in his face, and he'll sit there and talk and do a really good job,” Samantha said.
In recent years as they have both grown in their Christian faith and relationship with God the desire to share their experience and stories with others has grown.
Samantha has been on several mission trips with her church to South Dakota, and in her career, she sees many people in situations where she wishes she could offer the support, love, and hope she has found in her own life.
“I see the criminal side, and I see the juvenile and the child support side, and every side of it. A lot of it is the kids are now adults that I saw in the juvenile end of it, and they just repeat what their parents have taught them,” Samantha said. “When I was a barbarian I could have very well messed up and been in their shoes. I don't judge anyone. I try to encourage them as best I can. As Christians, we're supposed to tell people about Jesus. I've gone and given my testimony and seen God work. Once you do it you want to do it more.”
Devin added symbols of his faith to his Barbarian truck. On the driver side door panel is a yellow logo with,"TGY John 3:16,” which stands for “Thank You God,” and the Bible verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“People will see this and recognize it or ask questions,” Devin said.
The roof of the Barbarian reveals a special image of a Bible, the Cross and American Flag designed by Colby Allen Signs when the truck is tilted up on its back wheels performing.
“This has given him opportunities to witness to people one on one on a more personal level with the truck,” Samantha said. “We felt like this was a way to reach people in Miami.”
Devin says he was raised in church and his family was heavily involved.
“But I didn't know what it all meant. They could preach to me all they wanted, but until I was wanting it and ready to do it...I mean I never made the change,” he said. “ I would leave church early to go go-cart racing. I never changed, and I went through a spell of drinking trying to be accepted ad all that. I never knew that all I needed was to find God and he would fill the voids.”
The Jones knew each other in school as friends, but were both on separate paths and one-of-a-kind the timing wasn't right because of lifestyles were too diverse at the time.
Both say they were overweight and shy as kids and experienced bullying, and as adults both had married and divorced.
“We would see each other at the bar. He traveled all the time, and it was never the right time, and we were just friends,” Samantha said. “I got saved and started living my life for the Lord, and putting God first and that was my priority, and He put everything into place. Devin had made that change in his life after driving in Europe.”
“I started reading the Bible every day,” Devin said. “ I saw her on Facebook and messaged her, and it went from there.”
Both say they were attracted to the new person each had become and each other's new devotion to their faith.
“That was always something I saw in other couples, and I wanted a relationship like that,” Samantha said. “It's absolutely night and day. We pray together every night even when he's on the road he'll call me.”
Devin says he hopes as a Monster Truck driver to provide a positive role model to kids and his fans.
“Some of the other drivers will tease at me, but I don't push my religion on them, “ Devin said. “ I kind of do it by showing them by my character and the way I live.”
Now secure in their faith the Jones want to share their story in hopes to inspire others.
“Our theme is 'Barbarian to Family' because in the Bible a barbarian is referred to us a foreigner or someone who doesn't speak the language, so in reality, if you don't know the Lord, you're kind of a foreigner to it, and so we all are really unless you've accepted Jesus, “Samantha said. “And I can tell you I was a barbarian before I was saved.”
Samantha said she grew up around a cowboy lifestyle and was drinking, smoking and hanging out in bars, and thought she was saved at church camp.
“I thought I was saved at 13, but I wasn't. I really got saved in 2013, seeds were planted, and people were watering those seeds all through my life, but it really came about then,” she said. “And no, you don't have to go to church to be a Christian but it enriches your Christian life when you do because you want to have closer relationships and you want to be there, and you want to learn more. So, that's what we want to do, plant the seed and let God water it.”
Her relationship with God has strengthened her relationship with her husband, according to Samantha.
“God brought us back together once we had both started living our life for the Lord,” she said.” I don't want to say our marriage is perfect because it's not, but our faith helps us through the rough times.”
Samantha says her faith has been put to the test and use many times in her life especially when her rodeo horse fell on her injuring her and she had to have seven back surgeries and when the couple found out they can't have children biologically.
“That's part of my testimony that God literally took me to the dirt to get hold of me,” she said.
The Jones are becoming foster parents and may adopt eventually and feel this too is in God's hands.
They have also sponsored bringing children from an orphanage to the Miami monster truck show, giving them tickets, and rang the red kettle bell for the local Salvation Army drive.
Sharing their own journey and walk in life is important despite their very busy lifestyles.
“I get a lot of messages before the hometown show from mom's with kids that love monster trucks but can't afford to come, and that's one of the reasons why we're giving away tickets and offering them a chance to see the truck. They can bring their kids, they can have fun, they could win some tickets, and then they can also see our church is real big about children's ministry,” Devin said. “We're always trying to give back to the community.”
“We don't want us preaching at people because that's not how it's going to be. We're just going to tell our story because ultimately that's how I came to the Lord, was by hearing other people's testimony,” Samantha said. “That's what our plan is and that's what our goal is.
Jones will be driving the Barbarian in the O'Reilly Outlaw National Monster Truck Show, June 9 and 10 at the Miami Fairgrounds Arena.
Melinda Stotts is the associate editor of the Miami News-Record. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MelindaStotts1.