John is from Tulsa, Oklahoma (Jenks High School ’99), and received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Oklahoma State University in 2005. He served in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps from 2005-2010, and was stationed in Vicenza, Italy; Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois; and Joint Base Balad, Iraq. During his time in the Veterinary Corps, John conducted a number of missions throughout Eastern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. As a result of this work, his heart was drawn to the possibility of working in developing countries. John married Kristen, whom he met at the Church of Christ University Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in 2008. When he left the Veterinary Corps in 2010, John used the G.I. Bill to pursue a Master of Arts in Historical Theology and a Master of Arts in Biblical Exegesis from Wheaton College in Illinois. He joined the Orthodox Church on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, September 14, 2010. John currently works as a postdoc at Iowa State University on a project researching bovine digital dermatitis, and is pursuing a PhD in Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine.
Kristen grew up in Stillwater, Oklahoma where she attended cosmetology school and began working as a hairstylist. In 2006, she moved to Chicago to apprentice at a prestigious salon, eventually becoming a national educator for Kerastase and having the honor of working New York Fashion Week. In 2010, Kristen took her first trip to Haiti where she began to feel her heart being pulled towards overseas work; her second trip just over a year later confirmed that desire. Kristen joined the Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday of 2012. Shortly thereafter Kristen and John decided to direct their prayers and their thoughts towards Ethiopia. In 2014, a month before the birth of their son, Kristen and John moved to Ames, Iowa, for an opportunity they saw as a stepping stone on their path to Ethiopia.
Charlie was born in Ames, Iowa in July of 2014. Some of his (current) favorite things include trains (especially steam engines, but also diesels), Holy Communion, bunk beds, trucks and tractors, kissing the Cross, and running/jumping through puddles.
Judah was born in Ames in July of 2017. Some of his (current) favorite things include eating, sleeping, and riding in the Ergo.