Though he’s always been a man of faith, it wasn’t until later in life that Joey Zagar truly formed his relationship with God — thanks in large part to his family, notably his children.
As one of seven children, Zagar, a native and resident of New Iberia, credits his parents for two points in his life: his strong work ethic and his faith in God.
“I was raised by a mother and father that basically raised us in the Catholic faith,” Zagar said.
Throughout his life, he’s always enjoyed working. Zagar, 68, calls himself semi-retired but still works every now and again.
Zagar serves as one of the owners of Bayou Welding Technologies in New Iberia but he got his start in 1976 working out of the Port of New Iberia in the oil and gas business.
“That’s been my career path,” Zagar said. “I like working, but I’m getting to that point where it’s full retirement coming sooner than later.”
Zagar credits his father more than anyone, a man he respects a great deal, for instilling that work ethic.
“I was raised with very strong work ethics,” Zagar said.
And while he has raised Catholic his entire life, Zagar said he and his wife of 46 years, Vicky, said the two weren’t as involved in the church as they would have liked.
“We did the typical holiday routines of Christmas and Easter,” Zagar said.
After nine years together, the two welcomed their first child. Zagar said his wife took the initiative to take the family to a Baptist church soon after.
“She wanted them to start going to a Bible-teaching church,” Zagar said. “The children were still going to Catechism, and a Bible-teaching church and a Bible-teaching school.”
Zagar said he was at a crossroads with his children at one point in his life about their faith. His children said they were experiencing some confusion when it came to their studies and the differences between the Catholic and Baptist walks of faith they were learning.
After conversations with their children, both the couple agreed that if their children preferred going to the Bible-teaching church, then that’s what they were going to do as a family.
But that wasn’t the only new thing Zagar decided to bring into his life, because after seeing his wife and children’s dedication to their faith, he soon realized that there was something missing in his life.
“There was something missing in my life and that was a relationship with Jesus,” Zagar said. “It became at that time it wasn’t so much a religion but rather a relationship.”
Zagar wasn’t concerned if it was the Catholic or Baptist faith, it was more important just to have that relationship with God.
“It was that hope and joy I was missing,” Zagar said. “So once I made that decision to follow Jesus, I started to realize things weren’t going to be perfect but at least I saw some hope and joy in my life.”
After making that decision, Zagar became more involved with his church, participating in weekly Bible studies and eventually being called to discipleship training. His faith journey didn’t end there.
“My progression in my faith grows every day,” Zagar said. “It grew when I first became a Christian and it still grows today.”
Zagar said one of his proudest moments in being a husband, father and follower of Christ is that his wife and children are all believers of Christ. And Zagar said their personal relationships all grew stronger because of it.
“One thing it showed me is that the only way I can love people the way I need to love them is to first know the love Christ has for everybody,” Zagar said. “Once you see that, and determine that, it’s a lot easier to have the love you need to love.”