Kori: Many of you are probably wondering how Andrew and I met! I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and Andrew was born in Nebraska. So what’s the connection?! Well, my dad’s side of the family is from Nebraska. My grandparents live there half of the year, and my family had been taking trips there once or twice a year since I was 4. However, we did not meet the Wissmann family in Nebraska, but in the sunny state of Florida! My grandparents heard them sing at the Seward County fair [NE] and were so impressed they invited them to Florida to stay with our family and sing.
So in February of 2002, the Wissmanns came to Florida for the first time… I remember the night so vividly. I didn’t know anything about this family except that they were from Seward and had 12 children. We met them at our friends -- the Johnston’s -- home, had a pizza party and hung out for the evening. I remember the first time I saw Andrew. Some of the girls and I were sitting at the kitchen table and he, Bethany, and my cousin were sitting at a little table outside near the window. The first thing I thought when I saw him was, “Wow, he’s CUTE!” …and at that point, I didn’t even know his name. (I did learn his name shortly after that.) And that’s when it all started.
At the time I was only 14, and truthfully, I found it kind of weird that I was so incredibly attracted to this boy that I hardly knew anything about! But little did I know that it was all part of God’s plan and he was preparing my heart, and guarding it for the future.
I’ll never forget our first night in Orlando, 2002. Being in Florida for the first time was exciting and some friends that we had met in Nebraska earlier that summer invited us over for pizza. Before Kori’s family had arrived, some of us were in a bedroom playing a game. Towards the end of the game, Kori and her cousin stepped in to say hello.
Now, some people say there is no such thing as love at first sight. But I definitely liked her at first sight! We had a wonderful evening playing games and I was completely taken by Kori and her gorgeous smile! That evening was when it all started for me. I began praying that if it was God’s plan, He would direct our lives together. And since her grandparents had farms in Nebraska, I was glad to hear that she would be visiting them over the summer.
Kori: We only saw each other twice a year, once in July, when I would visit my grandparents and once in February, when his family would come to Florida. I got to know Andrew through the years, watching him from a distance and getting to know him by hanging out with his family. I quickly noticed more than just how good-looking Andrew was. My heart was drawn to him in a different way. I noticed that he had a genuine love for the Lord and was very hard working, determined, funny and was a lot of fun to be around. And I loved watching him with his younger siblings! It melted my heart!
But at the same time, I was extra careful and prayed for strength to not to show even the slightest bit of favoritism towards Andrew because I didn’t want to take away from getting to know him as a friend. I wanted to seek God's will in this situation and not anything out of selfish desire.
As our families became friends, I began to see that Kori had a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ and my respect for her grew as I saw the choices she made through the years. My affection for her changed from thinking she was a really nice girl to praying regularly that she would some day be my wife. Looking back I’m grateful for the way God chose to prepare my heart for what He had in store.
In the summer of 2008 I was blessed with the opportunity to take a mission trip to Ukraine. I was 20 at the time and had been praying a lot about my future, specifically Kori. I knew that I wanted to be able to get to know her better and thought it would be good to talk to my parents about it, but I figured it would have to wait until after the summer.
The week before I left for Ukraine Mom, Dad and I went out for breakfast, and, amongst other things, they asked if I had been praying about the person that I would marry someday. I told them what I thought about Kori. They responded that they had been praying also and that she was whom they had been praying about. It was a confirmation for me that they were already praying for me in this and that she was on their heart.
During the time I would be in Ukraine, Kori was going with my sisters to China for summer missions. It was fun being able to experience being on oversea missions at the same time. I was also curious as to what my sisters would think of Kori after living with her for the summer! When they came back and said that I'd better marry her -- I heartily agreed.
Kori: My time in China with Rachel and Bethany was very special; We had so much fun that summer, and I loved getting to know them during our time there. And even though he was not there with us, Andrew was part of the majority of the conversations we had. The other member of our team, Noah, was constantly asking questions about him about everything, from his personality to what kind of food he liked and disliked to what kind of girl his sisters thought he should marry. I took in everything his sisters said about him, and loved getting to know him more from their perspective. During the week, Andrew would wake up really early and skype with all 4 of us. This was my favorite part of the week and I always looked forward to it! There were many prayers that summer asking for strength to keep my feelings all inside!
After an amazing summer, I flew home with Rachel and Bethany to and spent a couple days in Nebraska. We flew into Kansas City and the Wissmanns brought their bus down with my grandparents to pick us up. The very first thing I saw when I walked off the plane was a tan, handsome, brown-eyed boy -- he almost took my breath away. During the few days I had in Nebraska, I found myself praying constantly that God would still be guarding my heart, but would open the possibility of Andrew and I to be together someday.
My desire to get to know Andrew intensified. I wanted to know the real Andrew Wissmann, his hopes and dreams, his views on life and spiritual matters, things he liked and didn't like--I wanted to know everything. I wanted to be able to talk to him, more than just light-hearted conversations. I wanted to spend time with him I knew he was the one that I wanted to cherish, love, honor, respect and serve God with for the rest of my life! The only question now, was when?
The next February, we were once again heading to Florida. And this time I was nervous. After talking with Kori’s parents, I officially asked her out on our first date. We went to Olive Garden and stayed until they closed. We ended up getting in a habit of staying till closing time on our first couple dates! We had a lot to talk about. It was so fun to hear each others stories and see how God seemed to prepare us for each other.
We ended up being in Orlando for 2 weeks because of our bus breaking down. And I didn’t really mind not being able to leave! After 2 weeks, saying goodbye was hard and so began our relationship of lots of phone calls skyping and texting!
Kori: February 24, 2009 was the happiest day of my life, up to that point. Andrew took me on a walk, and asked to take me to dinner that night. I’d been praying for this for years and could not believe it was actually happening! All I thought about the whole day was my date with Andrew. I couldn’t wait! He took me to Olive Garden and we spent hours talking, getting to know each other, and comparing stories. I honestly don’t remember much of the details of what we talked about that night, but one thing I will never forget is when Andrew said “for me, it was kind of love at first sight.” Hearing him say that was amazing! To think, all those years I spent praying about him, he was praying about me, too! And how cool, that God had drawn both of our hearts to each other at such a young age! I still to this day believe that that was His was of preparing my heart for what was to come. So thus began what has been the most incredible year and a half of my life filled with lots of phone calls and text messages, special time together, and getting to know the man that I had always dreamed of marrying!
The next year and a half was a wonderful journey of getting to know the girl I had prayed and thought so much about. So many of the things that I had hoped for in a girl is exactly what Kori is and more. It was fun to share our dreams and hopes with each other, compare our growing up years, and seek God together for what he would have in our future. I already knew that I wanted to put a ring on her finger and ask her to marry me.
After talking to her father this past June, I began ring shopping for the perfect ring and planning how I would ask her to marry me. A special times for us both growing up was spending the 4th of July in Seward NE. The city puts on a wonderful celebration for Independence Day. Kori’s family would come in Seward to celebrate the 4th every year. This was always the highlight of my summer. Especially because I knew I would be seeing Kori! So I thought it would be a great day to ask her to be my wife.
We had a great day together enjoying the events of the day. To finish the day our family along with our home church did the musical ‘Let Freedom Sing’. After the musical I took Kori out to her Grandparents farm to “shoot some fireworks” and I asked her to marry me. She said yes! And I couldn’t be happier than to be marrying the girl of my dreams!
We’re so excited for what God has for us in the future. Thank you to everyone for praying for us as we enter this phase of life together. We are so thankful for all the wonderful people around us that God has placed in our lives!
This was the LORD's doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.