Jim & Janet A. – Couple Resident Spotlight
Jim & Janet A.’s love story is such a testament to how the Lord is faithful. Read this couple resident spotlight’s story below.
Growing Up In Texas
Jim A. was born on September 18, 1931. He had four brothers and four sisters. They lived in Kilgore, Texas, and his father worked for Gulf Oil Company. The family all helped grow fruits, vegetables, and various cattle every year. He played football in high school, and then at half-time, he’d grab his band uniform. After Jim graduated, he went to Kilgore College before joining the Air Force due to the impending draft for the Korean War.
As a boy, Jim went forward in a church service and got baptized. However, it was in the Air Force at Langley Field Virginia, that he was witnessed to by a Christian serviceman and taken to a Youth for Christ meeting when he came to understand what it meant to accept Christ as his Savior. Jim served in a combat training group for B-26 bombers. He was a crew chief and flight engineer in Korea and Germany. In Germany, he met missionaries and helped start a Christian Servicemen’s Center.
The Moody Bible Institute
Janet M. was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 30, 1936. She had two brothers and a sister. Her mother led her to accept Christ as a child, and in high school, she dedicated her life to serving God wherever He wanted her to go. She heard about the Moody Bible Institute all her life because of her father’s involvement with the organization. He was a pastor, began the ministry of Sermon’s from Science, and founded Moody Institute of Science. Janet remembers collecting interesting things with her brothers for their dad to photograph, as he made the first Moody Science film, “God of Creation.”
In 1954, Janet started attending Moody Bible Institute. She helped with the new student orientation during her second year, which is where she heard Jim’s testimony. Jim served in the Air Force for over four years and focused on making good grades in his studies. Near the end of that year, they found themselves seated across from each other at a formal school banquet. Her date asked Jim to see that she got a seat for the play he was in. However, Jim and Janet ended up talking to each other more than their dates. That summer, Janet stayed to direct Vacation Bible School at a local church, while Jim attended summer school. They played ping-pong with some students one evening, and the rest is history.
Living on Thin Air & Love
After Janet graduated, she taught the women’s physical education classes at Moody while Jim finished his senior year. He proposed at Thanksgiving, and they announced their engagement at Christmas. Janet learned to budget, cook, and sew during the year leading up to their wedding. After Jim graduated, he served as the assistant pastor and youth minister at Salem Baptist Church. They committed their lives to serve the Lord together in a dedication service given by her father on August 2, 1958. When they returned, the church requested Jim continue serving while he finished his undergraduate work.
The two describe their first year of marriage as “living on thin air and love.” After returning from their honeymoon, they had just enough money to establish their pantry. Jim’s savings bought a 1954 blue Ford and their trip to California. They used Janet’s savings for the down payment on their 8×36 trailer home. With bills and everyday expenses, it would appear that there was no way they could make it. However, they chose to trust God with it all.
The Faithfulness of God
Their daughter, Elaine, was born in 1960, followed by Elise in 1961. Both girls were born with a dislocated hip, which required years of orthopedic treatment. In 1962, Jim had outpatient surgery to remove a cyst on his right wrist but went into anaphylactic shock. Had he not been at the hospital, they couldn’t have saved him. In 1967, Jim had a cervical disc collapse from an old football injury that paralyzed his arms. He needed a spinal fusion, and over time, regained the use of his hands and arms. In addition, the loss of much of his stomach due to a bleeding ulcer, kidney cancer, and normal pressure hydrocephalus are all examples of how God intervened to get the proper diagnosis and treatment for Jim.
After Jim graduated from Elmhurst College and worked full time at the church for a year, he went to Northern Baptist Seminary. They sold their trailer and moved into the student apartments. Jim served at a church in Evanston, Illinois, and also serviced vending machines during early mornings. They anticipated Jim pastoring a church in a small town when he graduated, but God had other plans. Moody Bible Institute called and asked Jim to serve as an Assistant Dean of Students. From 1963 to 1972, Jim also taught psychology, and was a Chaplain in the National Guard, while finishing his Master’s in Education. In 1964, they bought their first house in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. On the day of Jim’s ordination service in 1965, their daughter, Janine, was born.
After Janet’s father retired from the Moody Bible Institute of Science, the Trustees asked Jim to head
the program. As a result, the family moved to California. Before retiring in 1996, Jim was the advisor for 50 students going to Munich to show Moody Films during the 1972 Olympics. Janet advised the female students. They brought their girls and saw many of the places Jim was during his time in the Air Force, met missionaries, ministered to service members, and worked with students to showcase the films at the Peterhof Theater. Following his retirement and the closing of the Moody Institute of Science, Jim and several others started Discovery Media Productions, which later became Illustra Media. When Elaine went to college, Janet worked in Special Education. She retired after 24 years to help Jim with the new ministry.
Moving to Murrieta & Growing the Family
In 1990, they bought a home in Murrieta, California, before moving to a one-story house at the Oasis in Menifee in 2001. However, in January of 2018, Jim suffered a stroke, and after rehab, returned home to life in a wheelchair. Janet soon realized keeping up the house, shopping, cooking, and caring for Jim was too much for her. When Janet saw Renaissance Village Murrieta, she knew it was the place for them. On August 2, 2020, the two celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. Life has not been easy the past couple of months because of COVID-19, but they appreciate the care they receive to keep them well.
In addition to their three daughters, they have four grandsons and four granddaughters, as well as 11 great-grandchildren plus their husbands and wives, which brings the family to 34. Jim and Janet credit their lasting marriage to a deep commitment to seeking God’s will for their lives. They always put the other first, stayed out of debt, and surrounded their family with a good church and wonderful Christian friends. God saw them through each challenge and experience and blessed them far beyond their dreams.