What ever you do, always dream big, dare to be different and never be afraid to take that next step you feel God is leading you to take. You may just be stepping in to the journey of a lifetime.
ILoveJesus.com – Est. 1997
A year after we got our first computer and joined the world wide web, in the middle of a sunny day in October 1997, we purchased ILoveJesus.com.
This is our story…
We had been looking for a place to put a website for our church and was having trouble finding something outside of “Geocities” (remember them?). We couldn’t find any good alternatives. As any child of a business owner would understand, I thought to myself “what if we could provide an alternative?” and I started looking for domain names and programs. I could not believe that ILoveJesus.com was available when I saw it. I walked outside to tell my husband, Lance, where he was talking to his father, and I said “hey, ILoveJesus.com is available” He looked at me and I continued. “It’s $100”
I was a stay at home mom to a hyperactive three year old (and soon to have another on the way). We lived in a two bedroom, one bath mobile home on a tight budget. There was something about it, though. There was a tug on our hearts. A string tying us to that domain name and this idea. We knew it was God leading us on a path that was so different than we ever thought we would walk.
He said “Let’s get it.” and that is how our adventure started.
With our own church in mind, we began to brainstorm how ILoveJesus.com could be best used on the web. We decided that providing a place for people to create free webpages for themselves, their churches, or ministries would be the best path to follow and it would help others talk about their faith. We found an awesome programmer that was willing to work with us and we had a small program made for people who needed a place to make a basic webpage.
Christian Web Host – Est. 1998
Our service was growing and little websites were popping up all over the place! It was great to see all the creativity people had with our program and all the things being shared.
It wasn’t long before one of our users said “can you host my personal website with my own domain?”.
We said “probably… let’s give it a shot!” And that is how Christian Web Host was born in 1998.
In order to accommodate the growing demand for website hosting, we registered ChristianWebHost.com. Christian Web Host, Inc. went on to become a thriving business! In the early 2000s there were many sleepless nights and stressful days but we were in the middle of God’s leading and that was good. In those days, there was a great deal of stretching and growing, failures and victories, learning and just trying to keep up. It seemed to be something new every minute. With two small children running around, you could never say our life was dull.
By 2002 our customer base spanned the globe and CWH had grown to be one of the largest web hosts of it’s kind. The incredible speed at which we had grown brought many blessings but with all of the good, it came with just as many challenges.
Our children were growing and with that came all of the amazing things we get to experience as parents. There were early morning baseball games, late night tae kwon do practices, fun days of fishing and all of the excitement that comes with parenting 2 high energy kids.
With all of the joy that provided, there was always the familiar sound of the phone beeping a support request in the background. A laptop or some sort of mobile device was always within reach and had just become a normal part of our lives. Every birthday, every game, every Christmas, every private moment, 24/7/365, not a moment went by that we weren’t connected. It was all our children had ever known and was just who we were.
As the decade wore on, the endless days and sleepless nights had begun to take their toll on us. The technology was increasing and companies abroad were driving the prices so low, it was becoming almost impossible to keep up. We knew we needed help.
In 2008 we reached an agreement with a much larger company where we were able to retain ownership of the company, Christian Web Host, Inc., while they took over the day to day operations. This allowed Christian Web Host to remain competitive on prices and our customers had the longevity and support that they needed.
God had another plan for our personal lives during the years after that. We were so honored to be able to finance the startup of a small private school in our area where we were deeply involved for many years. That is a long story on it’s own but we knew we were right where God wanted us.
ILoveJesus.net and Christian Fun Mail – Est. 1999
Let’s rewind to 1999 and talk about email again. We began to see the need for an email service so we started with ILoveJesus.net and from there it blossomed into Christian Fun Mail with many domains to choose from.
Back then you could provide free services and run ads on them without being looked at as evil because that was before the days of all the tracking and intrusive data harvesting. An ad was just an ad. Our free websites had ads on them and our email did as well. We had an outside company host the email service that allowed us to run ads along with theirs to help pay for it in addition to offering their upgraded services to our users for a fee. It was a good setup for many years.
As everyone knows, though, the one constant in life is change. Ads became less and less effective for paying the bills. People got tired of looking at them and sometimes they could cause issues with the websites. Visitors started using ad blockers so you either had to find other ways to make money (like google did with data harvesting) or you had to start charging for your services.
That is what happened with Christian Fun Mail. The service company we use for those domains needed to get away from the advertising model and could not offer the free accounts anymore. We didn’t have an alternative for our users at the time so we had to phase out the free email addresses and those who kept theirs transitioned to a pay model. This left just a few email domains in service but we still had users there. Because we wanted to be faithful to those using our domains for email, we allowed the other company to provide the service so our users would still have their email addresses. Now that we DO have an alternative, we plan to move those customers and domains to our new service as soon as we can.
ILJ Mail – Est. 2019
In 2018, with report after report coming out about companies stealing our privacy on the internet, it had become clear that there was a problem. After research we discovered the problem was much larger than we had imagined.
In the name of convenience and free services, companies have slipped things in to their policies that allowed them to spy on our every move on the web. This information is being used in ways that continue to become more invasive by the day.
Surveillance such as this has far reaching implications beyond that of just advertising. This type of overreach can affect things such as availability to healthcare and even head in to the dark regions of religious persecution (as they have in other countries already).
We knew we didn’t have the ability to fix everything, but we could begin to expose what was going on through the platform we had been given. With our background in hosting and email, we had the ability to create a private email service to help those wanting to move away from the surveillance society that is being created on the internet today.
After a little more than a year of planning, working and reworking, scrapping and rebuilding, we finalized a great combination of services to offer and opened ILJ Mail.
The privacy issues have grown so large to date that we knew we also needed your help to spread the word. We decided that incorporating an adjoining affiliate program to give back to those wanting to help would be the best way to make a difference.
We are really excited about what the future holds and look forward to at least the next 20 years working right along side you.
Here we are 22 years after it all started with an idea and a tug on our hearts that October day. Our 3 year old is now 25, helps teach Calculus at a nearby university while working hard toward his master’s degree. The child who was yet to be on the way is now 21 and thriving as a facilities manager at a local city art center. We couldn’t be prouder parents.
As for Lance and me?
We’re still here, along with the original ILoveJesus.com. We’ve all been through ups and downs, but our mission in life hasn’t changed: To love our neighbors and to light the way.
Many would say we made it but here we stand once again. That familiar voice saying. “Just take a step……”
Will You Join Us?
We would like to thank you for taking the time to read our story. Whether you decide to join us or not, we would like to encourage you.