By CHERIL VERNON
Rarely does a witnessing tool come in the form of a giant custom motorcycle — but for Timothy and Elaine Triplett of Palestine — it has.
The Tripletts were chosen to receive a custom bike made by War Eagle Motorcycles in Florida with a 127 cubic inch (2080cc) Ultima engine — worth close to $40,000 — from a ministry they have supported for more than 30 years.
The bike was originally donated to Canaan Land Ministries, based in Autaugaville, Ala.
“The leadership, led by ministry founder Mac Gober, prayed about it and felt God say ‘sow it to their partners’ — the people who give regular donations to their ministry,” Timothy said.
During the Canaan Land Ministries’ “8 Days of Glory” conference held in October 2012 — well-known evangelist and guest speaker Kenneth Copeland drew the Tripletts’ names from a fish bowl of partners’ names.
“It was exhilarating,” Timothy said when they learned they won the bike.
“We felt very touched — like we were chosen for a reason to receive it,” Elaine added.
Though the Tripletts won the bike in October 2012 — it just arrived in Palestine this week.
“They had separate titles for the engine, transmission and parts. They had to go through a lengthy process to get a VIN (vehicle identification number) assigned to the bike,” Timothy said.
About the Ministry
In 1981, Canaan Land Ministries was founded by Mac Gober, a Vietnam veteran and former motorcycle hoodlum. Since then, Gober has helped hundreds of men turn lost and broken lives into productive and fruitful lives.
“Mac came from a broken home and had a rough life. After the war when he came home, he wasn’t treated very well and was an outlaw biker — who wasn’t with the Hell’s Angels but associated with them,” Timothy said. “I think about his testimony and how changed he was by God. Jesus really turned him around in the right direction.”
Canaan Land is a non-profit, non-denominational, Christian home. Men 18 years and older can apply to become students in the one-year residential program. Some men come to Canaan Land as an alternative to prison.
Judges, district attorneys and probation officers work closely with the staff to help some men re-establish their good name. Some men come to Canaan Land as drifters or from broken homes, and others are recommended by pastors or friends. Most of them are battling substance abuse, alcohol or some other form of harmful addiction.
“I first heard Mac Gober speak in 1981 at Maranatha Church in Mont Belvieu. I really felt that God wanted me to support this ministry,” Elaine said, explaining how she first became involved with the ministry.
When Timothy and Elaine married, they agreed to continue supporting the ministry together.
“For 30 years we have been regular contributors,” Timothy said.
The entire program is totally free to the students and his family. The only responsibility the men have for one year is to get their life straightened out. Those who never graduated from high school can study to earn their G.E.D. Others learn skills to become carpenters, electricians, lawn maintenance, etc.
“It’s an isolated, Christ-centered environment away from the things in life that were sending them down the wrong path,” Timothy explained. “We’ve heard numerous success stories where after going through the program, wives got their husbands back serving God and children got their fathers back.
“We’ve heard graduates most commonly say that it saved their lives, restored their marriage or the relationship with their kids. It’s a wonderful ministry.”
Even from the beginning, the custom motorcycle they won has become a witnessing tool.
“After I heard the news that we won, I was going down Crockett Road. I stopped at O’Reilly’s (auto parts store) where I saw a guy with a similar bike. I pulled in and started talking to him,” Elaine said. “I showed him pictures of the bike and he was really impressed. I explained how God had given it to us through this ministry. He knew who Kenneth Copeland was so it got us in an open discussion about how good God is.”
The Tripletts are currently praying for their purpose with the bike.
“One answer is that this is an outstanding witnessing tool. Whenever I am asked about the bike, I can tell them how it came about and have the opportunity to show them the goodness of God.”
As Timothy explained, you can’t out-give God.
“We have given to a lot of ministries throughout our lives. The more you give, you reap a lot back in friendships, satisfaction in seeing lives changed and now we are seeing another return. We know God has a purpose in what he is doing,” Timothy said. “It shows us God’s willingness to meet all of our needs and desires and beyond.”
The Tripletts are members of Faith Community Church in the Harmony community.
Not only is it amazing how the Tripletts won the custom bike — it’s amazing the size of the machine that they won.
“I don’t know how fast it goes and I don’t want to find out,” Timothy joked.
The Tripletts see the bike as more of a “show bike.”
Since winning, they have taken a motorcycle class in Tyler to prepare for driving it.
Elaine has rode as a passenger on a Harley Sportster in the past and has rode a Kawasaki 125 dirt bike quite a bit.
“It was a lot of fun, especially going up the ramp — all wheels off the ground,” Elaine said. “I was lucky. I never got hurt or spilled.”
Timothy, on the other hand, has only ridden a Riverside 250cc bike made by Montgomery Ward years ago.
Strangely enough, last summer Timothy told someone, “I would never ride a motorcycle unless God told me to.”
“God doesn’t want us to be afraid of anything,” Timothy said about the irony of how God has provided a motorcycle to him. “We use wisdom to trust Him to do what He tells us to do. The safest place to be is in God’s will, doing what He told us to do.”
Around Palestine, the Tripletts are known for driving their American-made GEM electric cars around the neighborhood.
“Our electric cars only go 25 mph. Then we get this thing that has 30 times the amount of horsepower that the GEM has — quite an extreme from these conservative neighborhood vehicles that are very quiet compared to this very loud, high-powered motorcycle,” Timothy joked.