by Thomas Kourkoulis & Elizabeth Kirk

About 2 years ago we fell in love, and we wanted to share our story with you. But this is more than a love story. It’s a testimony of a God who is faithful. It’s a testimony that the words He speaks are true and good!

Thomas: It was a crisp, clear day on May twenty-sixth in 1990, and I was a nine year old boy trying to grow into his glasses and his teeth. There was a wedding that day, and the ceremony had been held on a beautiful farm in Eden, Vermont.

As it often is with life changing moments, it has been hard to remember exactly what events happened next. Who said what, when, where and how.

But I remember exactly what happened inside my heart.

I had just sat down with a plate full of food. Me in my spiffy white button-up, blue slacks and yellow and green paisley tie. (that’s right, yellow and green). There were a group of kids, all about my age more or less, who were standing around and goofing off on the porch, about ten feet away from me. They were for the most part kids I knew. There where also some new kids from Springfield, Massachusetts.

As I finished up my meal, I turned to get up, and it seemed that the divine coordination of events that only the Lord could usher in fell on that very place. Because in the same instant that I got up and turned toward the group to leave, some girl, for some reason, somehow, managed to land a cup of water square in my lap.

She was this beautiful little girl in a blue denim dress about my age, obviously as embarrassed as I was. She said she was sorry and kind of laughed, and I probably mumbled “no problem” or something. The fact was that I was dumbfounded! I had genuinely fallen in love, and I was nine years old! It wasn’t that I had simply fallen in love, I knew for a fact that someday I was going to marry this girl and I didn’t even know her name!

About two years later after I was born again, I could look back and see that it was the Lord Jesus beginning to speak to my heart about this girl, who I finally found out to be Elizabeth Kirk.

Though, I don’t quite recall throwing a cup of water at Thomas that day, I am not surprised I did it. I do however, remember the wonderful day I had on May 26, 1990.

The weather was gorgeous. My family and some others from Springfield had been invited to spend the weekend in Vermont with Jubilee! Christian Fellowship.

It was the first time we had ever been up to Vermont, and I was having a wonderful time. When we first arrived I remember feeling very awkward. Especially, when my mom realized we had forgotten my suitcase at home, and I had to borrow a particular “denim dress” from one of the girls we were staying with. Before I knew it, though, I felt completely at home! There were what seemed like a hundred girls of all ages that I couldn’t wait to get to know. I was certainly enjoying myself, and I’m not surprised that the little boy with curly, black hair and glasses escaped my notice.

It wasn’t until five or six years later, when I was about 14, that the thought of actually marrying Thomas ever crossed my mind. I still barely knew him, I mean, I knew his name and I might have said “Hi” from time to time, but, pretty much, I knew nothing about him, and I didn’t really care to.

Late one night one of my girlfriends and I were dreaming about getting married and talking about weddings, when Thomas came up in the conversation. I remember her saying something like this,

“You know, I think Thomas kind of likes you. I was talking to him the other day and I asked him who the Lord said he was going to marry, and he said it was...oops, um, oh, never mind. ”

Now I had heard somewhere that the Lord had told Thomas who he was going to marry, but I didn’t know who it was, so I didn’t think much about it. It was one of those things that was just stuck in the back of my mind somewhere, and for some reason I never forgot about it. So when my friend said what she did, I was all ears. She didn’t need to say any more, I got the point. I just laughed at her and said,
“Oh, no way. That’s just... no way. Do you think? It couldn’t be. No, that’s impossible. It won’t happen...”

And that was it. She smiled and said nothing, while I told myself it wasn’t really true, I wasn’t the one for Thomas, she probably misunderstood, and that was the end of it. After that, we never said another word about it.

As much as I tried to brush it off, I never completely got rid of the idea. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Thomas, I just didn’t know him. It was another few years before the Lord made it clear that I would someday marry Thomas.

That day was in early 1998. I was talking to the Lord about how I just wanted who he wanted for me and I came to the place where I finally looked to the Lord, and said, “Ok Lord. This has been in the back of my mind and heart for a while now. You know I can’t deny it anymore. Is Thomas the one for me?”

Immediately the Lord said, “Yes, he is.”

I have to say, I never really expected a reply and I certainly didn’t expect one as quickly as that. His answer was clear as day. That was that. Thomas Kourkoulis was the one for me, now I knew. I was glad that I knew, but I also knew it wasn’t time to do anything with it, just hide it in my heart.

Thomas: I had always had a great relationship with my mother, and I found a very deep friend in her. I remember talking to her when I was a young teenager, about everything, especially Elizabeth. The thing that I always came away with whenever we talked was to “Hide it in my heart.” From the time the Lord first gave me that wisdom, I felt that anything I heard about my future wife should be guarded. I told almost no one about what the Lord told me.

In some ways, it felt like a very long nine years. I was in love with a girl who lived three hundred miles away and never knew I existed! The awesomeness of it all still blows my mind. But I know that the Lords timing in showing me who I was to marry was perfect. It kept me from making many mistakes as a teenager, as far as relationships are concerned. And that was very good.

Sometimes I also feel that those nine years seemed to fly right by. I began to seek the Lord and have a relationship with Jesus. Knowing who my wife would someday be never really ruled my life, although I had to learn to be patient, after all, I was only ten or eleven years old. I learned to wait on the Lord, and pray for Elizabeth

From 1990 on, I watched Elizabeth grow in her love for the Lord. She grew in her worship and I knew that that would be something that we would be able to share together someday.

Elizabeth: In the coming months of ‘98, I began to pray for Thomas. I wondered how the Lord would bring us together. I couldn’t understand it, because I was not attracted to him in anyway, and except for a few e-mails we may have exchanged, I still didn’t know him. I certainly did not want to start a relationship that wasn’t ready to begin. In response to all these questions the Lord gave me this scripture to ease my wondering heart.

“Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field: do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Song of Solomon 3:5

The Lord also told me to wait for summer camp and see what He would do. He would make time for us to become friends. Just trust Him and wait.

So I did, I waited. In the mean time, my family and I were in the midst of moving to Morrisville, Vermont. We moved here in July of 1998. One week later was summer camp.

Summer camp is a time we set aside, as a fellowship, each summer to camp, fellowship, and worship together! It was amazing! The Lord was true to His word, as he always is. Thomas and I became friends, wonderful friends. We talked about things that newly found friends talk about, from what’s your favorite color to what was it like growing up, and we laughed a lot! It was great. The more I spent time with him that week, the more I liked him.

Thomas: I remember summer camp of 1998 to be one of the most exciting times of my life. I felt a freedom to be myself around Elizabeth that I had never felt before. I was able to tell her about my life, and feel totally safe. I felt like she was listening to me. I remember being taken aback by that, because I had always struggled with rejection.

As I became close to Elizabeth, I also got to know her family. Especially RC, Elizabeth’s father. I remember a conversation I had with RC that was significant to me. He and I were just coming back from a long drive in which he asked me what I thought of my relationship with Elizabeth. I remember being a little nervous, and simply saying that I loved her and felt the Lord was calling us to be married one day. He said that this was the same thing that he felt, and that he was very excited about all that the Lord had in store for us.

The next weeks and months we continued to grow closer together. The Lord brought out issues in our hearts, such as rejection and arrogance. And also expressing our love and affection for one another in a normal, godly way. We have learned so much together!

Like I said earlier, I had struggled with rejection for as long as I could remember. But I had a tremendous breakthrough at summer camp 1999. I had simply come to the realization in my heart that I was accepted in the Beloved! I was accepted by Jesus Christ, and that I could earn nothing above that. It seemed that only after I overcame rejection in that area of my life, that I could have my love for Elizabeth deepened by the Holy Spirit. It was after that that Elizabeth and I shared our first kiss!

Elizabeth: The spring of 1999 brought another issue out in my heart. I was certain that I loved Thomas more than I ever knew I could love anyone, but was it all right to kiss him? Was it all right to hold his hand? To be close to him? I was encouraged by many people, including my parents, that whenever I was ready to, these things were perfectly all right when guided by the Holy Spirit. In my heart though, I couldn’t accept that. I had always thought that the “right” thing to do would be to wait until our wedding day to kiss. I don’t know why I believed that, I think it was just a guard I put up to keep myself from being hurt. I began to see though, that it wasn’t the Lord. Physical affection is good, and is a normal part of life. I began to see that I had nothing to fear. After all, I believed with all my heart I would marry Thomas.

Like Thomas said earlier, our first kiss was one evening at summer camp 1999. It was the sweetest, most tender moment I’d ever experienced. I was so blessed, because I knew my heart was pure and I loved this young man like no other. I remember seeing the Lord standing there with us, just smiling as if to say,”This is good. This is as I intended it to be!”

Since then our physical affection has grown day by day. We’re learning how to care for one another, and how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Certainly, we’ve fallen short, but the Lord is merciful. It’s been a wonderful process of growing and changing, and I look forward to this part of our relationship becoming more intimate as we are married and share our life together.

So here we are, a little over 2 and a half years later, and we are about to begin planning our wedding for this summer, 2001. We are overjoyed, and so blessed by all that the Lord has done in us! It feels like it’s been a long journey thus far, but we are thankful for every moment of it! God is truly faithful to His word, and will remain faithful forever!