Mike and Kara Moser met saw each other for the first time in September 1996, in the athletic complex at Nebraska Christian College.
It was freshman orientation, and they were waiting in separate lines at the time.
Kara said, “My best friend noticed him. She pointed him out to me, and I said, ‘Uh-huh,’ so she went over to talk to him.”
“Her best friend came over and asked if I was someone she knew,” Mike said. “I ended up dating her best friend, but that didn’t pan out.”
Nevertheless, Mike and Kara got to know each other from bumping into each other on the small campus. A couple months after school started, on Dec. 14, 1996, Mike and Kara went out on their first date.
Where did they go on their first official date?
“I don’t really remember,” said Mike. “We had a friendship that just sort of evolved. We went out with the same group of friends a lot, as a group.”
(Throughout this interview, Kara tended to be better at remembering details, while Mike was always quick to remember when things happened.
“When something is in the past, I forget it except for the date,” he admitted.)
The two farm kids had ended up at the college for different reasons. Mike had originally set out to go into auto body repair, but felt a higher calling, while Kara wanted a degree in early childhood education.
About dating for about three months, Mike decided it was time to get serious.
“I had a Chinese roommate, and I asked him how to say ‘I love you’ in Chinese,” Mike said.
When he tried the phrase out on Kara, she didn’t understand the words, but she sensed the meaning.
“It was scary,” she laughs. But after six months of dating, she found herself thinking, “Hey, this might work!”
Mike proposed on Dec. 17, 1997, sitting in his car parked on a gravel road between several fields.
“There wasn’t a lot of privacy in the dorms, so that gravel road was sort of ‘our spot’,” Mike said. “It was the end of the semester, and we were getting ready to part ways.
“I said I wanted to give her a gift, and gave her a shoebox full of ridiculous items: a can of shaving cream, cans of vegetables.... Then I pulled the ring out from the side of the car seat.”
“I was shocked, very surprised,” said Kara.
Their friends weren’t, however.
Page 2 of 3 - “At a Christian college, it’s the norm for people to get engaged quickly,” Kara pointed out.
They decided to announce the news to Kara’s parents in a unique way — by letting the ring do all the talking for them.
“I hadn’t talked it over with Kara’s parents, so when we went over to their house we just let them notice the ring,” Mike said.
“I was in the kitchen making dinner with my mother when she saw the ring and said ‘KARA!’” she said.
Originally Kara had wanted a Christmas wedding, but when it was pointed out Mike had proposed on the date of Kara’s parents’ anniversary, generational destiny took charge. The wedding was set for Kara’s parents’ anniversary.
After a year and a half engagement, Kara graduated from school, and the couple were married June 5, 1999, in Gospel Chapel of Newcastle, Nebraska.
“I did most of the planning,” Kara said. “He said he wanted to get married outdoors, but when I vetoed that he sort of quit.”
“I did pick out the tuxes,” Mike said. “I know of a number of grooms who have asked their groomsmen to pay for their own tuxes, and I didn’t want that.”
“The one thing that stands out is I wanted an outdoor wedding, but that day there were severe storms,” said Mike. “There were flooded streets and torrential rains, so between the wedding and the reception people went home to see if their houses were flooded.”
Even though the wedding happened in June, the church was decorated with Christmas lights because Kara had originally wanted to be married at Christmas.
The biggest surprise of the wedding for Mike came with the lighting of the unity candle.
“Several of our college friends sang the song during the lighting, and it went on forever,” Mike said. “We had to stand at the front of the church forever while we waited for the song to end. Kara and I would look at each other, then look away, then look at each other, then look away....”
The biggest surprise for Kara came, “when Mike dipped me when he kissed me.”
They were also surprised to see Mike’s car had been “decorated” during the ceremony.
“I was dumb enough to leave my car keys in my pants pocket, and my car got trashed,” Mike said.
The reception was held immediately after the ceremony down stairs in the church basement, and was catered by one of Kara’s great-aunts.
Page 3 of 3 - That evening, while the families went bowling, Mike and Kara headed off to Council Bluffs for the honeymoon, followed by a trip to Branson, Missouri.
“Mike doesn’t like country music, but we did go to the Silver Dollar City,” said Kara.
The couple settled in a Norfolk, Nebraska apartment that was so small two people could barely fit into the kitchen at the same time.
Once Mike had his degree, the Mosers spent three years in Council Bluffs, where Mike was a youth minister at Southside Christian Church while Kara provided daycare for a local bank.
The Mosers moved to Redwood Falls while trying to sell their house in Council Bluffs.
“I said, ‘We’re looking for the wrong community,’” Mike said. Consulting a website for possible options, Redwood Falls kept popping up as an option.
Mike was hired to be in charge of the youth outreach ministry at Cornerstone Christian Church in Redwood Falls shortly thereafter.
“We had never heard of Redwood Falls, and had no plans to move to Minnesota,” Mike admitted. But after visiting the town, it just seemed to fit.
“We sold our house in Council Bluffs one day, and signed the contract on this one the next,” Mike said in their Veda Drive home several weeks ago.
For the past seven years Mike has been the senior pastor at Cornerstone. Kara has been a stay-at-home mom most of the time, but recently has been working a part-time position at the Choices Pregnancy Center.
The two are now committed to the Redwood Falls area, and are looking for a larger home for their family, which now includes Isaiah, 10, Elijah, eight, and Hannah, six.
Several years ago, Kara and Mike volunteered to take part in the annual Dancing With the Stars local fundraiser for cancer research.
“Outside of a few weddings, Dancing With the Stars is the only time we’ve danced,” Mike admitted.
What advice to Kara and Mike have for couples considering marriage?
Mike: “For us, Christ was the key. If you could take Christ out of the picture, what would change?”
Kara: “That would change everything, the amount of grace in the relationship.”
Mike: “You also need to know going in that it really is ‘to death do us part.’ When I counsel couples before marriage, I ask them, ‘You need to decide right now how long you plant to be married....’”