God's calling: Faith plays a big role in starting a local businessBookmark this
There are key moments in our lives that can shape a person. Then there are a series of important events that make a significant impact on you that truly change your life forever. For Mark Christensen, founder and lead landscape artist of Texas Prayer Gardens, that is exactly his story.
Before settling in San Antonio 20 years ago, Mark was a successful business owner in Chicago. Years into his work, Mark’s business partner could no longer support his share of the company and Mark was left with the tough decision to go it alone. His experience and hard work through the years taught him important lessons that he would take to the Alamo City where he would grow his business as a landscape designer—namely find comfort in your faith and keep moving forward.
“I discovered Christ when I was at a low point in my career in Chicago a week before I left for Texas. My newfound faith is what gave me the confidence to change my life and I did not want to live a life of regret,” Mark says. “I had big dreams. I had to think outside the box if I wanted to be successful.”
His story is encouraging. During his company’s success in Chicago, he met a successful business woman, Jennifer. She shared her passion and love for Christ with him and told him about a new church she was attending. “She was so fired up about the Lord. I thought to myself. I want what she has,” Mark recalls. “I didn’t think much more about it until I was in my office, alone, having to deal with the tough parts of running my business by myself. It hit me then. I wanted that too, I needed it. I called Jennifer, got directions to her church, accepted Christ and was baptized all in the same night. It was then that God started to transform me."
A week later, Mark packed up his home and drove 20 hours south. Not wavering from his intent to honor God, Mark continued to work hard and landed a job in the oil industry. He found a new church that became like a family. He was a part of a community of believers that encouraged him. And so, he focused all his efforts into honoring Him.” It was then that he gained a lifelong friendship with someone who opened the door for him to start his landscaping business. “I got laid off from my job and was able to lean on some friends from church. Lavatra gave me a chance to serve him in his home doing some landscape work,” Mark remembers. “It gained momentum and turned into one referral after another, job after job, and client after client.” That door was the start of his new business Texas Prayer Gardens.
Established to bring traditional landscaping techniques and intentional aesthetic elements together, Texas Prayer Gardens focuses on offering creative landscaping solutions for residential spaces. “I create peaceful outdoor areas in a home that offer a serene place to hang out, pray and enjoy time with loved ones,” Mark says. “I also specialize in walking paths, seating areas, fire pits and garden elements that work together to create a beautiful space.”
Thus far, Mark’s business has been successful through his hard work, loyal customer base and of course, his faith. “Having God by my side has made me a stronger family man. There are times in my life that are really difficult. I’ve learned to pull up my bootstraps, work hard and trust in the Lord,” Mark says. “I’ve also been blessed to have many key people in my life give me advice, mentor me and help me along the way. In fact, prayer is the key ingredient that inspired me to start a business focused on helping my community.”