...one day, just when it seemed that God didn’t want me to be married any time in the next 20 years, I received an e-mail from my mom. She wrote about a young lady that she and my sisters had met who was absolutley phenomenal. Her name was Kelsie...
Dear Kelsie, Although you do not know me, I have been corresponding with your parents for the past month or so in regards to a possible courtship with you. I have really enjoyed getting to know them, and in a way getting to know you through them...Your mother and father wrote to me recently, saying that they felt this would be a good time to let you know about all of this.
And so my purpose in writing you this letter, is to see if you would be willing to begin a courtship relationship, with the goal of marriage in mind should the Lord so direct us...
The Bible says in Proverbs, “A prudent wife is from the Lord.” It also says they are quite rare: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.” Having been a full time missionary overseas for nearly three years, I was beginning to wonder how and when I would ever find a wife. While I knew that I could trust God completely in this area, it seemed quite discouraging at times. There are not too many American girls in Ukraine, and I just didn’t feel right telling God that I was going home to the US to go “girl hunting.” After all, it was God who first noticed that it was not good for Adam to be alone. God put Adam to sleep, God did the operation, and God gave Adam his woman. Though it was often difficult for me to wait, I knew that it was best. God’s way is always best. And so I continued on, praying that God would bring the right girl at the right time.
And then one day, just when it seemed that God didn’t want me to be married any time in the next 20 years, I received an e-mail from my mom. (I get lots of those, but this one was particularly interesting!) She wrote about a young lady that she and my sisters had met who was absolutely phenomenal. Her name was Kelsie. She was currently living at home with her parents, but had quite a history of ministry both in the United States and abroad. She was fluent in Spanish, and could also speak Mandarin (Chinese) as well as some French. But best of all, my sister Jennifer assured me, Kelsie had been praying that she could marry a missionary!
Now here was something new. I had known many godly young ladies in my time, but I must confess I had wondered to myself what kind of a girl would want to give up life in America and move to Ukraine. And yet, here was a girl who seemed quite prepared for such a change.
So I wrote to her father and, after giving a brief explanation about myself and my ministry in Ukraine, I asked if he would be willing to consider allowing me to court his daughter, Kelsie. To my surprise, he wrote back and said, “Yes!”
During this time I was serving in Thailand, but already had plans to return to Ukraine and continue my ministry there. After a little over a month, Mr. Powell wrote me saying that he felt it was time to let Kelsie in on all that was going on. (Thus far, our correspondence had been quite secret, and Kelsie had no idea that any of this had transpired.)
We decided that I would write Kelsie a letter, introducing myself and asking her permission to court her with the goal of marriage in mind should God so direct. The Powells printed my letter on parchment paper, and during a family walk in the park, presented it to Kelsie.
The next day, I anxiously checked my e-mail and found her reply: “Dear Joshua,...As far as I can determine based on my parents’ clear direction, God’s apparent orchestration of these events, and the general concurrence of our life goals, I feel I may confidently answer “yes” to seeking God’s will for the two of us regarding marriage.”
That was March 13th. For nearly two months we corresponded via e-mail while I completed my work in Thailand, and then we continued as I returned to Ukraine. Finally, on May 7th, we saw each other for the first time in person when I flew to Fort Worth.
Our first meeting was quite a unique experience. Although we had never actually seen each other face to face, it felt like a reunion of life-long friends who had simply been apart for many years.
Kelsie and I began spending time together on dates or various other activities. The more we got to know each other, the more evident it was that this was the hand of God. Finally, I wrote again to her father and formally asked his blessing to marry Kelsie. He enthusiastically agreed!
Now all I needed was to plan the proposal. I guess it’s normal for guys to want to surprise their girlfriends, and I was no different. With the help of my family, I worked out a plan.
On May 19th, I invited her out to lunch at a nice little French cafe, and then to a park in Dallas “so we could take some pictures.” As we were driving over to Dallas, my mom had already placed a dozen white roses and a tiara in an antebellum mansion in the park. The whole experience promised to be very romantic, except for the fact that when we arrived at the mansion, it dawned on me that I had never been there before. I did not know which room the flowers were in! So, as calmly as I could I just led Kelsie around the mansion, looking at the different exhibits, as though this were just a leisurely tour. All the while I was frantically searching for the flowers! And then I spotted them. Thankfully, Kelsie was busy looking at an antique camera and hadn’t seen them yet. I called to her from across the hallway, and said, “Hey Kels, look at this.” Thinking it was another antique, she came strolling across, and then suddenly stopped when she spotted the flowers. I had placed a tag on them that said, “I love you, Princess Kelsie.” “Kelsie,” I said, “there is something I’ve been wanting to ask you.” As I got down on one knee, I pulled out the ring, presented it to her, and asked her to marry me. To my great delight, she said, “Yes!”
Kelsie is my first and last girlfriend. She is the only one I have ever dated, and she is the joy of my life. By God’s grace, Kelsie and I have saved our hearts for each other, and it is with great joy that we look forward to our wedding on September 18th, 2004. Following our honeymoon, we will be returning to Ukraine together where we will continue in the work to which God has called us.
In summary, I would like to share a verse of Scripture which Kels and I have quoted many times since the beginning of our relationship. I Corinthians 2:9 says, “...Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” God writes the best love stories. I know I speak for Kelsie as well when I say that we are grateful beyond words for His love towards us in saving our souls and in bringing us together. He has taught us what true love means, and it is only because of His love that we are His children: forgiven, cleansed, and now on the threshold of paradise.
Joshua Steel & Kelsie Powell