Jesse: I gave my life to Jesus in December or 2008. Since then I have not stopped pursuing God and living for Him in every way I know how. As I was getting more involved in Campus Crusade for Christ on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee campus, God began giving me the desire to go into full time ministry. Soon after Cornerstone Church Milwaukee was planted I joined the church staff as a missionary to the campus.
Our church was planning a mission trip to Haiti for the Spring Break of 2010. I really wanted to go on the trip but I had signed up for a Habitat for Humanity trip prior to the announcement of the Haiti trip. Then in January 2010 Haiti was hit with a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that brought the eyes of the world on the nation. There were many warnings from the government and others not to go to Haiti during that recovery time but we knew The Lord had called us there for that very purpose. The church is to be the recovery plan for Haiti! As I watched the news and saw the devastation that Haiti was experiencing my heart was filled with compassion like many others. The Spirit of God came over me and led me in intercession like I had never experienced before. Since I couldn’t go on the trip The Lord told me to give money to help the team that was going. The next Sunday I put a check in the offering with ‘Haiti’ in the memo and continued to pray. A couple weeks later Michael, my pastor, asked if I was coming on the mission trip to Haiti. I told him no and then he let me know that he had bought me a non-transferable, non-refundable plane ticket because he thought that my offering check was a deposit on the trip cost! Since God had built up such a love in my heart for the Haitians I immediately knew that the circumstances were not coincidence but divinely set up by God to get me to go with our team! Once I was in Haiti the Lord spoke very clearly that I would be a missionary in that country.
Kirsten: Ever since high school, I have felt the pull of God toward being a full-time missionary in another country. During college, that call was explicitly confirmed in my heart through mission trips to Haiti and Argentina. The only thing unclear was just exactly where I would go and when.
After graduating from Olivet Nazarene University, School of Nursing in May of 2011, the Lord led me to move up to the Milwaukee, WI area with my oldest brother, Jonathan, and his family. I had no idea why I was supposed to be in Milwaukee or for how long, but I made the move trusting that God would show me more of His plan as I continued to trust and obey. Through my mom and sister-in-law doing internet searches for churches in the Milwaukee area, they both found Cornerstone Church Milwaukee and suggested that I check it out since it seemed like a church that was on-fire for the Lord. And oh wow were they right! The Lord connected me to this body of believers like I had never experienced and God continued expanding my vision for living in the fullness of life that Jesus has for us! Then in March of 2012 I went on Cornerstone’s Haiti mission trip. While there, Michael shared the vision for all that God wanted to do in this nation through His church. My heart nearly exploded inside of my chest!
Back stateside I began seeking the Lord, asking for confirmation, and talking with those who knew me best to make sure I was hearing God right. I definitely was! God was calling me to full-time mission work in Haiti through Cornerstone Church!
Jesse: When Kirsten showed up at church the first thing I noticed about her was that she was passionately in love with Jesus! At that time in my life I had been keeping my eyes open for the bride that The Lord had in store for me. When I found out that Kirsten was called by God to go to Haiti it seemed so easy and obvious that we should get married. But…I had received no confirmation from the Holy Spirit about beginning a relationship with her, so I put it in the back of my mind and every once in a while I would pray about it again. We became good friends through different church activities, parties, and game nights. We went on two mission trips to Haiti together as well. I started to like her more and more and had tons of fun whenever we would hang out.
Kirsten: From the moment I met Jesse at church, the Lord began showing me the kind of man he was: humble, passionate, faithful, servant-hearted, mission-minded, and Spirit-filled. His character was that of Christ and my heart immediately was toward him. BUT I did not want anything in my life that would distract me from Jesus. Pursing Christ and living for Him was and is the main goal of my life. If God wanted me married, He would move on the heart of my future husband to pursue me. I did not want to manipulate anything; I wanted to trust my Heavenly Father. As the Lord continued to draw me closer to His heart, He showed me how to surrender my desire for marriage and my ever-increasing affections for Jesse to Him.
Jesse: One night after celebrating her birthday with tons of people, fun and karaoke, I was walking home and The Lord released it in my heart that He really did want me to marry her!!! I was so excited and overcome with joy that I finally knew who my wife would be. After that I began praying for more confirmation from God so I would know that it wasn’t just an emotional response of mine. Over the next couple weeks He gave me two dreams about Kirsten, one where she was meeting my mom and another of us walking, holding hands and having ridiculous fun together!
After another week of talking with my brothers in church and building up courage I asked Kirsten if she would begin a relationship with me heading towards marriage.
Kirsten: November 19th Jesse texted me while I was at work, asking if I had time that evening to get together for a “Team Haiti” meeting. This was nothing out of the ordinary since we had been talking more about Haiti and how God was leading us individually in ministry there. At this point my heart was fully surrendered to Lord in my friendship with Jesse. Even though relationship with him was still something my heart desired, I was fully prepared to be happy for him whoever God wanted him marry. Little did I know what that night was going to bring! Jesse came over and after patiently listening to a story I had to tell him (praise God he is such a good listener!), he got very serious and told me there were “big changes for team Haiti.” Then he proceeded to tell me that he wanted to pursue me for marriage and asked me to be in a relationship with him. My heart almost stopped and all I could say was “Are you serious?” “Is this for real?” over and over again. He kept saying “yes” to my questioning and my heart was flooded with everything I had been surrendering to the Lord over the past year and a half. I was over-whelmed by joy and love and said “yes” to Jesse! It was like a dream, but praise God its real!
Jesse: God had been working things out in us for so long that there was immediate peace and trust in our hearts from God towards each other. We were confident that we would get married soon. Two days later I took her to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and asked her to marry me! Again, she said yes!!