We are a family of five — two grownups and three kids. We’ve moved around quite a bit in our 8.5 years of marriage, and don’t anticipate this stopping any time in the near future. God is good, and He’s taken us on quite a ride.
How we met
Kyle and Tsh (that’s us) met in August 2000 on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, Kosovo (part of former Yugoslavia). Tsh was there on a short-term trip helping long-termers make connections with the young people in the village. Kyle originally went on a two-week trip to help with construction needs. Two days into the trip, he called his parents to tell them he’d be a year and a half late. He was offered a gig refurbishing and running a building for retreats in a tiny lake town of about 500 people. It happened to be the same town where Tsh was working.
One particularly hot afternoon (August 1, to be exact), Tsh and her teammates were inside their host family’s living room, taking a break from the scorching heat. Someone heard that a new American guy just arrived, and was now working down the street. Considering the size of this town, a new foreigner was quite the front-page news. But no one felt like moving, so sticky and exhausted were their bodies. So the group drew straws to see who had to put on their shoes, go outside, find the new guy, and invite him to dinner with the group.
Tsh drew the short straw. And as Kyle likes to say, she’s been inviting him to dinner ever since.
Hanging out at the local village café in Kosovo.
We did the “just friends” dance for a little over a year, but when we started officially dating on January 1, 2002 (just past midnight), it didn’t take us long to seal the deal. We were engaged on June 1; married on November 2.
A common heart
From the start of our relationship, we both knew we wanted to play a part in cross-cultural work. During our engagement, we went on a round-the-world survey trip to research potential landing pads. A week after returning, we went to candidate orientation school with our sending agency (we don’t recommend doing that).
Between flights in China.
After deciding where God was leading us to serve, we prepared for almost five years to move there. It was a lot of work — learning, reading, choosing, becoming. And then once we were there, we rode the ride of our lives. God taught us so much about Himself, using ourselves and the world around us as His primary curriculum. Head here to read more about our time.
Tate making friends in Greece.
So from Day 1 of our marriage, we’ve planned to work and live overseas. It’s actually taken a heart’s surrender to happily return to the States for a season and trust that if God wants us to live in the U.S. for the rest of our lives, that’d be okay.
The kids make their debut
Tate was born in February 2005, wide awake and ready to take over the world. She’s our firecracker. Loves people, loves talking, loves reading and writing, and says the absolutely funniest things on the planet (we’re tempted to start the Twitter hashtag #stufftatesays). She thinks nothing of travel, and still gets confused about the differences between countries and states (when her grandparents visited us in Texas from Oregon, she asked us, “Do you think they’re enjoying their time here in America?”). So far she’s been on 49 airplanes and set foot in nine countries. We wish we had her childhood.
Reed came along in December 2007; born overseas in a hospital that gave Tsh two souvenirs – a surprise tummy tuck and a three-square-inch patch of complete numbness on her abdomen. He’s the sweetheart among us — the sweet but silent type. In 2010, we came to the States to learn why he wasn’t babbling yet as a two-year-old. Long story short… his ears had been clogged for a really long time — so long that he missed that crucial window of soaking up language. He then had tubes placed in his ears one morning at 10 a.m., and by lunchtime, he was babbling. He’s now about a year behind schedule, but with regular speech therapy, we hope to have him up to speed by school time. He’s also our engineer.
Finn is the baby — born in June 2010 via a delightfully uneventful birth in the States. So far, his personality is similar to his sister’s — loud, happy, and hungry. We hope his teeth come in soon so we can take him on his obligatory pilgrimage to Rudy’s and sample his first sacred bite of meat. We’re also praying he’ll hurry up and sleep through the night already. He’s almost there.
Together, we are a typical family with total chaos in the minivan, jelly stickiness on the table, and bits of Lego everywhere. But we are honored and humbled God has brought us together, and that He’s calling the five of us to do life together, serving Him wherever He takes us.
Learn more about Tsh’s writing and how it fits in with everything.