From Restoring Cars to Restoring Hearts


Orange County local Todd Hesford had been attending Saddleback Church for five years when he first learned about the Daring Faith campaign. Although he and his family often lived paycheck to paycheck, he felt God tugging at his heart to take a gigantic step of faith.

Todd recalls the day when he and his wife Erin made the decision to commit to Daring Faith. "All four of our kids had come down with colds," says Todd, "so we were watching the service online as a family. As Pastor Rick challenged the church, my wife turned toward me and said, "I've been praying about this, and I finally want to start tithing.'"

Recognizing that the commitment wouldn't be easy, Todd said he immediately asked God for direction. For nearly 40 years, two generations of the Hesford family had been in the auto-collision repair business. Eventually, Todd took over the Mission Viejo location. Never did he imagine that God would use his repair shop as an instrument of spiritual growth.

When Todd called out for direction about Daring Faith, the Lord gave him clarity to use his gifts and talents to bless others. "I made a decision to recondition three cars over three years and donate them to the Daring Faith campaign," says Todd. "I know that desire came straight from God. He had called me to step out and grow in faith."

Once Todd and Erin agreed to the commitment, reality set in. Finding three cars to restore would be a challenge. But just three days later, Todd's phone rang during a company meeting. On the other line was a man who Todd had blessed years before by repairing his car at no charge. Now, this same man had financially recovered and wanted to give the car back to Todd.

"I didn't get goose bumps," says Todd, "I got gator bumps! I pointed to the sky and just wanted to burst out and cry. God was showing me that he is faithful. He kept proving that the one thing he put on my heart, he would help me achieve."

Todd admits the car was a disaster, and calls it the "most expensive 1999 Nissan on the road today." Dedicated to the mission, Todd and his team poured their time into restoring the salvaged vehicle, viewing it as an act of worship to make the car like new.

Just one week later, Todd received a second call, this time from a customer whose mom had become too frail to drive. The customer asked Todd if he had any use for the vehicle. Again, Todd knew God was moving. He even shared with the customer how God was performing miracles through his gift.

Less than three months after God first challenged Todd, he had restored two cars and was given a third one to rebuild. The latest came from a father who was donating his son's damaged vehicle.

What Todd believed would take three years to complete was done in a few months. Since that day when Todd and Erin committed to give, they have seen an overflow of blessings with their business. On March 1, Mission Viejo Auto Collision opened a second location in Rancho Santa Margarita, which Todd appropriately named Community Collision Center.

"It's not just what is happening now," says Todd. "It's about what is going to happen in the future. If I can be an example to my team, my community, my wife, and my kids—not just for the church, but for God—I'll do it wholeheartedly and ask for nothing in return."

Todd says their decision to listen to God has equally blessed their family and their small group with a deep love and fellowship. They focus on giving—not getting—and credit their act of obedience as the impetus that strengthened their faith.

"God put the desire, the dream, and prayer on my heart," Todd says. "I answered it blindly, not knowing if there were answers. God proved that if I follow and trust him, he will respond."

In a posture of humility, Todd says he is just a small speck of sand in the desert of believers. But by reaching one more for Christ, it's worth everything.

"I want to spread God's Word to the unreached people groups," he says. "I want to fill God's house. I want to grow in faith. The fact I get to see him working in me, and through me, my faith has been stretched 10 fold."

As far as meeting his own Daring Faith commitment, Todd has no intention of stopping with just three cars. With a smile he adds, "I need to do more because I can't outgive God."