Walking into the Yellow Rose Forge shop where Billy Salyers and his business partner/son Joseph Salyers are at work, a person immediately recognizes a sense of brotherly love and a cause.
Billy was working on a project for a friend, who was in the shop, and Joseph was making swords, another gift to complete before Christmas.
There are a lot of stories from the shop off Poors Ford Road, Shiloh, where the father/son work as full-time bladesmiths.
Yellow Rose began as a family working together five years ago.
"Every year my sons, my daughter, and I would build something new to learn new skills together, and more importantly to spend time with each other. One year we tried blacksmithing and it simply snowballed from there," Billy said. Today he and Joseph are full-time bladesmiths.
Recently, Joseph Salyers became one of the youngest Forged in Fire Champions (reality television show) and Joseph and Billy became the only Father and Son Forged in Fire Champions in the show's history.
"It's kind of odd for both of us when people know us from the show or who are interested in meeting us because of something we did on TV," Billy said. "This happens all over the world."
The television show opened avenues for them to expand their mission work in Guatemala. Because of Joseph's commitment at age 18 to serve as a missionary in Guatemala, the door swung open for Redeemed Steel to do the work Joseph was doing there.
Redeemed Steel is a network Billy began in 2019 and has grown to over 300 people in six or seven countries. Redeemed Steel is made up of craftspeople of all sorts, blacksmiths, bladesmiths, metalworkers, woodworkers and leatherworkers.
It is a Christian 501c3 non-profit organization that uses the works of hands and the words of lips to make a lasting impact as others are served.
Primarily blacksmiths and bladesmiths, the group builds homes for the homeless, provides food for the hungry, and shares the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the past two years, the network has built six homes, helped to build a church, fed a village of 500 people by providing over 3,000 pounds of food, and shared the gospel with thousands.
The Salyers and Redeemed Steel work in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and anywhere else they have an opportunity to go. They partner with ministries in the United States such as The River Ministries of Polk County, Zoweh, a men's ministry group from Durham, Reforged, a Texas based group that offers free forging classes and professional counseling to vets and first responders with PTSD, and The New Frontiers, a Montana group designed to reconnect fathers and their children.
Redeemed Steel also partners with Global Action ministries to provide training and education services all over the world to church leaders who can't afford to go to school, enabling them to serve the countries and communities to which they belong," Billy explained.
"Usually, when Joseph and I take a team, I will spend the first couple of days team building," Billy said.
A Redeemed Steel typical mission trip starts with a group of talented craftsmen and craftswomen dividing up huge quantities of bulk food into smaller 30 pound bags. The next day, the team will distribute the food to individual families in need. Over the next couple of days, the team might build a house or five, spending about a day framing and roofing, completing each build in approximately 10 hours. A team of 12 can easily build 5 houses in a week.
The mission trip concludes with a Redeemed Steel presentation, partnering with local churches and community centers to do a blacksmithing demonstration in which they forge a knife and share the gospel.
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"At the end of the presentation, we give away the knife and invite people to give their lives to Christ. There is always and amazing response. We try our best to get these people plugged into their local church community, who will follow up and continue to serve them after we leave," Billy said.
One of the best things about the mission trips are the Salyers go as a family.
Wife Sheila, a postmaster in Glen Alpine, travels on the mission trips and she helps in planning and building.
"Joseph and I run Yellow Rose Forge to help fund our mission work," Billy said.
"This is the reason for everything. The Lord provides. Everything we do is based on this one thing," he said.
"Orders for our knives typically take about six to eight months because we are in such high demand," Billy said. They recently completed making 1,000 knives for a buyer in Montana.
Their travel is also extremely busy.
"We are almost never more than a month away from our next trip to somewhere. But both of those are great problems to have. Having a high demand means people like what we make and are willing to wait for the quality they know they will get from us. And we love to travel, but we are finding that some of the places we want to serve are having to wait longer for us to get there than we would like," Billy said.
Yellow Rose Forge is expanding in the future to help meet the needs of their business and mission trips.
"Our hopes are to be able to offer more to our community in both goods and services, having a retail outlet for high quality handmade knives, and a school of metal working where we can teach smithing to people from all over the world and offer a place where locals can come learn the craft themselves," Billy said.
Classes are already taught on Saturdays, but they stay book up months in advance.
When the new shop is completed, there will be more space and certainly more accessibility.
Billy quickly says it is not about building a business.
"It's about building a kingdom. We are an unapologetically Christian company run by a Christian family. And we don't do what we do to make money. There are far easier ways to make a living," Billy said.
"For some reason God has seen fit to allow the Salyers to have a craft that is not only our job and our ministry, but it is also still our hobby," Billy said.
"When we're not working, you'll still often find us in the shop, making something cool just for the fun of it. And we'll be doing that together as a family. That's another reason why we're in Rutherford County. It's home. And this is a place where that still means something."
"This is our home, and we both love living beside and serving the people here," Billy said.
HammerIn 2023 in Polk County
Everyone will have an opportunity to meet the Yellow Forge Rose bladesmiths, family and others at the Hammer In 2023" at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The 5th Annual Redeemed Steel Hammer In will be July 15. There will also be a Custom Knife and Craft Show. Tables are available first to Redeemed Steel Network Members. Tables will only be $50 each and more than 2,000 people are estimated to attend the HammerIn.
Table reservations will be taken soon. Check the latest news on their Facebook post.
There will be a VIP Dinner on July 14 with the Hammer in and Show starting at 9am the 15.