While in the Air Force, Jim Knakal was saved at the age of 18 through the faithful witness of a fellow airman. Nearly 1300 miles away Carol was led to the Lord by a fellow student at Northern Michigan University. The Knakals met at a college and career Bible study while Jim was stationed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Shortly after marriage, Jim and Carol moved to Soldotna, AK, where Jim was the program director and announcer for a Christian radio station. Jim became aware of his need for Bible training after being asked to speak in local churches. The Knakals returned to Michigan in 1979 for Jim to attend the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music. During the next four years, Jim and Carol actively served the Lord in local church ministries. In 1986 the Knakals moved to metro- Detroit and began a career in the retail bicycle business which continued for the next 21 years.
In January 2004 an opportunity arose to sell the bicycle shop. The Knakals prayed much about what the Lord would have them do and pursued the sale. When the sale fell through six months later, two things had changed.
First, they now realized that simply leaving the bike shop was not all that simple. Second, their attitude had changed from "Lord, if you send, we will go" to "Lord, if you insist, we will stay."
They determined to free themselves of the bike shop in order to be truly available to serve the Lord. By December of 2006, Jim and Carol were in the position to go wherever the Lord led, but where?
Through his friendship with Brad McKenzie, Jim was well aware of the Germans' desire to establish a physical camp ministry base within Germany itself. For many years, the Impact ministry has used rented facilities to operate summer camps. In 2007, Jim and Carol were able to attend summer camp at a rented facility in Spain. Soon discussions began with Gospel Fellowship Association for Jim and Carol to consider serving the Lord full-time with Impact as soon as the Lord would provide property. In December 2008, the 11-year search ended as our great God provided a 14-acre former East German military training center in the very center of the country. The Knakals began the process of applying to GFA and today they are on deputation full-time, hoping to be in Germany shortly after the last of the permissions are granted by the German government.
The Knakal family includes Mike and Melanie (Mechling), who are both BJU grads serving the Lord in full-time Christian education at Faith Baptist School, Davison, MI. Richard and his wife, Ana, are also a graduates of BJU and live in Greenville, SC. Patti and Julie, the twins, are currently BJU students. If you are interested in learning more about the Knakal's ministry, you can access their website at knakalsingermany.wordpress.com
To view Jim and Carol Knakal's photo gallery, click the picture below.