ABOUT THE KLEINJUNGS
He likes to be up by five AM drinking coffee, reading, getting a jump on the day.
She doesn’t know what five AM looks like unless it involves a hungry infant.
He loves all things spicy. The hotter the better.
She thinks consuming medium salsa is living on the edge.
He’s pretty go with the flow and laid back.
She’s a planner and a list maker and can’t relax until all the things have been done.
While on paper opposites, in real life their differences are just the things that bring them together.
Katie grew up in a suburb of Saint Paul, Minnesota and has always dreamed of living internationally. Ever since she was little, she felt a strong pull toward those who didn’t look like her, think like her or act like her. Her heart has always been weighed by issues of injustice and how a loving God would answer the problems of the world.
When she was a teenager, Katie told God that she would follow Him to the ends of the earth. This is when she gave her life to Jesus for real for real. And nothing has been the same since. Her first year of college was spent in Ecuador where she fell in love with the idea of going wherever God said to go. This was the first time her worldview was challenged and her assumed values questioned. Katie loved it. It was there that she saw real missionaries living life day in and day out, and what she saw stuck with her.
In 2007, Katie went to Thailand for the first time. Little did she know that the end result of this trip would be a life- long call to Thailand. Immediately she fell in love with the people, the culture, the country and knew that she would be back. She continued to lead school trips for the next three years, taking students from North Park to Thailand.
When she graduated college, Katie knew she could go to Thailand as a short-term missionary. Something stopped her. She knew that at some point she would be there, but she didn’t think this was the right time. A year later, she met Stephen.
With a dad who held a specialized license in refrigeration, Stephen grew up in a family that moved wherever the work was. They moved a lot, and not just across town! We’re talking from Minnesota to Florida and many places in between. Little did he know at the time, but it was this lifestyle of change and an ability to adapt quickly that were equipping him for the call on his life.
From a young age, Stephen knew He loved God and that God had a special call on his life. When his family landed near Hibbing, Minnesota, Stephen immediately got involved with the local church. When he graduated high school, he decided to attend North Central University and major in Pastoral Studies. While Stephen was great at school and enjoyed his classes, his career in audio engineering was taking off. He was getting offered high paying, well known gigs and his skills set him apart. It was also this time that Stephen saw clearly the cost of ministry. What was once a strong resolve to become a pastor was now an idea at best.
Stephen made a deal with God. Stephen told God that he would like to do anything but be a pastor, he only wanted to be happy. Shortly after making this ‘deal’, Stephen was offered the job of his career, touring with a top ten artist. It didn’t take long for Stephen to hate life on the road. The drugs, drinking and lewd lifestyle were too much for him. One morning he woke up and clearly heard God ask, “Are you happy now?” Knowing the answer, Stephen walked off the tour bus and never looked back. Since then, Stephen has been relearning how, exactly, God has equipped him and called him to serve.
He began working for churches, getting mentored and organizing his life and his heart around what he knew to be true about God. It was around this time that he met Katie.
Throughout their dating and engagement, Stephen and Katie prayed that God would push their hearts together into one call.
They were married in October of 2012 and immediately began pursuing the thing God had for them as a family. Before long, God’s constant highlighting of mission lifestyle and Thailand made itself clear. After visiting Thailand together with friends in July of 2012, Katie and Stephen decided to say yes to working with Venture and giving their lives to serve the Thai people. It was shortly after making this decision that they discovered another part of their already semi-insane plan: they were pregnant!
It didn’t take a ton of prayer to figure out they still needed to go to Thailand. After all, wasn’t this exactly what they prayed for? To surrender to God, to let His will manifest in clearly in their lives, to raise a family on the mission field where they were the foreigners, and to really, not just in word but in deed, give their lives to call? Well, here was the perfect opportunity for all those things.
The journey to Thailand has been a hard, often painful and sometimes straight up scary. Through two pregnancies, four surgeries, moving three times and continually waiting for God to move, they pressed on made it to the place God called them to. The year and a half leading up to Thailand was one that made them ready to be missionaries as they learned, for themselves and for real for real, that God is good and His call is always worth it.
They moved to Thailand in March of 2015 with Shepherd. Valor was born in Chiang Mai a month later. They spend their time learning Thai, disciplining young Thais and working at a community center in a village that desperately needs the hope of Jesus.
After an unexpectedly long (two-ish years!) trip back to Minnesota, during which Stephen had another surgery (because what’s one more?) and Katie had another baby (because what’s one more?), the Kleinjungs are finally ready to head back to the Kingdom of Thailand.
Katie, Stephen, Shepherd, Valor and Haven will be working and living once again in Chiang Mai. Katie will be teaching at the community center, Stephen will be wrangling the children and they will both be studying Thai full-time.
Follow along as they chronicle their insane lives, crazy love for each other and general mess-ups in mission, marriage, parenting and general living.