HOLLAND, MICH. —  For Jack and Julie Love, life has been one great adventure since they have learned to follow God.

  Growing up, faith in God played a very small part in Jack’s life. Jack remembers attending church twice a year with his family.  Julie, who graduated from Grayling High School in 1978, says she first gave her life over to Jesus Christ at age 8 at a Baptist church. Later she switched to Methodist so she would be allowed to go to school dances and play cards.

  When they met after high school, their lives seemed about as compatible as a cactus and and a porcupine.  She was working at a restaurant, trying to save money for college. He would come in drunk to order a meal. To Julie, Jack was simply an annoyance.

  What changed her feelings for him was one night he drove her home because she became sick. Jack’s underlying compassion came through, allowing her to see deeper inside of him.

  Eventually they married. 

  It was in the early 1990s, the spiritual seeds planted in them from childhood began to bud.

  “I was working with a guy who was a lay pastor,” says  Jack. “I got talking to him a little bit. I had questions.”

  The lay pastor asked to come over to their house and do a bible study. Jack reluctantly agreed, not sure he wanted to get that serious about God. 

  “So, he started coming over. I started asking more questions, more questions. I don’t like playing games. Either stuff is real or its not.” 

  The bible study piqued his interest. Jack began talking to other pastors also. This study also changed the way Julie understood God. She began to realize Christianity wasn’t just a belief system, but actually a lifestyle based on a relationship with Jesus Christ.

  Still thirsting for more knowledge, Jack decided to go to a bible college to get more answers. And Julie took some classes as well.

  “I came out of bible school after two years and still felt like I had more questions. I felt like we had barely scratched the top of what’s in there (the Bible). But that’s when I also understood the relationship part [of faith]. That’s when faith became real.”

  “What God does inside of you to change you, you don’t even see it coming,” says Jack. “It is not like you have to qualify for Him to accept you. He just does.”

  Personal bible study and prayer on a regular basis brought both Jack and Julie closer to God. It was through these activities they learned to approach life in a different way.

  Another lesson which turned their life around was tithing. In the Old Testament, the Bible talks about giving 10 percent of one’s income/assets to God’s use. Again in the New Testament, a precedent is set for giving to those in need in Acts 2:45.

  At first Jack was not sure about using 10 percent of their income for God’s work. It was Julie who wanted to. So, Jack gave in, thinking she would realize it was a waste of time.

  To his shock, their family became blessed by helping others. The changes in people’s lives because of their giving proved Jack to be wrong and proved giving was part of a lifestyle of living for Jesus Christ.

  Jack had assumed after bible college, he would go into the ministry. However God never seemed to arrange for that opportunity to come up. Instead, out of a need for income,  Jack ended up owning a successful trailer-making company he would call Genesis Trailers. 

  Each year that business has continued to grow. They considered its success proof from God they were going in the right direction. Jack used its success to hire former inmates, giving them a second chance at life. 

  While their business has grown tremendously, money was never the driving force behind their goals.

  Based on biblical principles,  Julie says, “We decided when we started though, all we want is enough to afford our house, to pay our expenses and whatever, and maybe enough to help someone else. That way they can work and afford theirs too.”

  Their giving attitude also created a side business called Terrainables. A friend had a ministry to teach children about life after becoming handicapped. This friend asked Jack to create some little cars out of barrells for his ministry.  So Jack agreed and created some.

  While attending one of the man’s ministry picnics,  Jack noted a small train they had running was very popular among the kids. An idea popped into his head about creating train sections out of barrels which could be ridden.

  So, Jack hired a man to create a mold for his idea, but making sure his barrel trains were made sturdier than a typical barrel. The Terrainables made a nice complimentary hobby to the trailer business. They began selling them to kids camps, campgrounds, agritourism farms and other locations where kids spend a lot of time.

  This business took off also, though it didn’t become as big as the trailer business. Now, as the couple is looking to slow a bit and down-size, they have sold their trailer business and decided to go into the Terrainables business full time. 

  Jack gives full credit to God for everything which has happened to them over the years. He notes their lives changed completely after they turned their lives over to Jesus Christ and began a life of serving Him. Jack sees each experience in life since then as building upon the previous and leading them where God wants them to go next.

  Julie agrees with Jack’s assessment of how their lives have gone. “It’s kind of funny how God prepares you way before you even know what you’re to do [when you’re following Him]. I worked in a factory for while and then I went to corporate. So I did accounting, accounts receivable, payroll, all that stuff. It was after that we started the company. Then it all made sense.”

  Even now, as they start a new chapter in their lives, they are content to wait on God and discover where God is leading them each day.

  For more information about the Terrainables, visit their Facebook page,  www.facebook.com/Terrainables/.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.
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