CALEDONIA - John Kalashian was never really into cars. He doesn't like car shows, he says.
But somehow five years ago, Kalashian felt inspired to buy a black 1986 Corvette coupe. Then he started to attend car shows.
The way he goes about attending car shows, however, is different than your average car owner, Kalashian said.
He goes to the car shows armed with Bibles and the word of the Lord, he said.
"It's God's car," said Kalashian, a 60-year-old insurance agent from Caledonia. "It's on loan to me."
He calls his ministry Corvettes for Christ. It's not a club or a group, it's just the way he gets out the word, he said.
"The ministry is not about Corvettes. It's not about me," Kalashian said, "It's about Christ."
When he first started thinking about buying the car in 2005 - soon after he had bypass surgery - he knew God would have to open a few doors for him in order to get his car, he said.
"One of the doors was (that) I checked with my wife," Kalashian said.
She gave him the OK and was not surprised at all, said his wife, Jennifer. Still even with her support, Kalashian didn't know why he wanted the car, he said.
He normally drove a 1991 Buick and didn't really have a big interest in sports cars, he said.
The day he brought his Corvette home he found the answer, he said.
There in his garage was an old license plate with the words, "Jesus is the answer," Kalashian said.
"Once I put that license plate on the car I was raring to go," Kalashian said. "It was a marriage from the beginning."
That is how Corvettes for Christ started, he said.
He has been involved with ministry in the past at the Rescue Mission in Milwaukee, a homeless shelter, he said. Also as a boat owner he said he helped spread the word of God through the name of his boat, "Fisher of Men."
But he said typically people don't go to car shows to talk to people about Jesus.
He is that exception.
He doesn't go out with his Bible and "whack them over the head with it," Kalashian said. Instead he waits for them to go to him and then he starts the conversation.
For instance, people walk under his tent at car shows, ask him about his car and say things like "the Corvette is pretty shiny."
In return, he turns his answer toward God and Jesus, saying something like, "I'm the owner of the car and I know all its imperfections," he said. He then goes on to compare it to how God is looking over us on Earth and knows our imperfections but still loves us, he said.
Some people turn down the material he gives them, but others are very responsive, he said.
"I'm there to talk,"
Kalashian said. "The car is an icebreaker."
What's your story? is an occasional series highlighting the stories of people in Racine County. If you know someone whose story should be featured, write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or What's Your Story?; Local Editor Rob Golub; The Journal Times; 212 Fourth St.; Racine, WI 53403.