For Kirsten (Roberts) Lancour ’11, life after graduation has been a journey of how to hear God’s voice and discerning His call as she and her family have stepped into full time ministry in Haiti. Kirsten was first exposed to overseas missionary work in developing countries while on a trip through Olivet. That trip broke her heart for the people that she met and their circumstances, and she knew that she was being called to serve in Haiti. It wasn’t until much later that she would discover how.
“At the time, as I was studying to become a nurse at Olivet, I selfishly thought that I could be the hero and help save the people by getting a degree and opening a clinic and serving as a medical missionary,” Kirsten explains. “I quickly learned through the relationships that I created in my program what it meant to love people unconditionally and what it meant to die to myself for God’s will to be done.”
Following graduation, rather than packing her bags to move across the globe, Kirsten found herself moving to Milwaukee to be with family. Here, she found Cornerstone Church Milwaukee where she met Jesse Lancour who served on staff at the church and was also passionate about missionary work. In 2012, Kirsten and Jesse went on a trip to Haiti through Cornerstone Church. After returning from the trip, the two started talking, dreaming, and praying that God would reveal his plan and purpose for their lives. The couple got engaged that November and married in May 2013. Soon after, God opened the door for them to move to Haiti in October of 2013 where they would partner with Pastor Markes Ulysse and his church to create Cornerstone Haiti.
Cornerstone Haiti is located in the mountain village of Gwo Cheval and desires to establish the Kingdom of God developing Christ-centered community, educating generational leaders and cultivating economic growth. Since 2013 they have opened a school, built strong community relationships and partnerships, and have even begun exploring agricultural and economic opportunities.
“In everything we do at Cornerstone, we want to be able to tell these people that they are seen, known, loved, and heard. Doing life here has taken a lot of humility,” Kirsten explains. “I used to think that I could be a savior in these situations, but the reality is, the only Savior is Jesus.” She continues, “I have come to realize that my role here is to love people and love well. We want to be part of the body of Christ that God has called us to be so that we can help people realize that they can step into the calling God has placed on their lives, too.”
Over the last ten years of living in a new culture, raising her children, and serving others, learned a lot of lessons about community. In these lessons, she has found a sense of comfort in her neediness – knowing that to depend on others and to depend on God is our glory and not our shame. In knowing this, when asked to share advice with other young alumni in the Olivet community she encouraged them to cultivate a life of intentionality, authenticity, and deep empathy towards others. Most importantly she encouraged others to keep dreaming with God in a posture of obedience. In her words, “Life is such an adventure when we fully surrender to His will.” Kirsten went on to say:
“We have one life that we get to live. No matter if you are in a 9-5 job and that’s where God has you, that can be an adventure with God because of the people that you are interacting with daily. You got this degree, you’re in that relationship, you are around those people for a purpose. Surrender those things and watch how God makes it so full of life. We don’t know what he has next for us and we should hold on to each plan so loosely because He knows better. If he is calling you to make a change, the answer should be yes.”
To find out more about Kirsten Lancour and the work that she and her family are doing with Cornerstone Haiti, visit cornerstonehaiti.org.