Stetson was raised in a blue-collar home. His dad worked hard in a steel mill to provide for the family and always encouraged Stetson to pursue a career in engineering. Throughout his undergraduate studies in chemical engineering as well as his graduate studies in materials engineering, Stetson was never passionate about his future life’s work. He began working as an engineer in October of 1998 and soon realized he would never be satisfied in this career.
Although raised in a Christian home, Stetson had never prayed about his career choice. He realized that following the best intentions of his dad was no substitute for the direct will of his heavenly Father. After much time in prayer Stetson surrendered to God’s call for the work of the ministry in March of 1999 at Grace Baptist Church in Middletown, Ohio. It would be nine years before God would give him a specific direction of His call – to preach the gospel in Italy. The Lord used those nine years while Stetson continued to work as an engineer as a time of spiritual growth and preparation as well as to gain experience in the ministry at his local church.
On March 11, 2007, at a mission conference at the Planck’s home church, Cornerstone Baptist Temple in Dayton, Ohio, a missionary preached a message on faith and dependence upon God as it relates to getting out of one’s comfort zone. The Lord used this message to open Stetson’s heart to the mission field. He went forward during the altar call, along with his wife Sandy, desiring to go wherever the Lord directed them to serve Him.
Over the course of the next year, the Lord spoke to Stetson through His word, godly counsel, and various circumstances to confirm His call to ministering the gospel in Italy. On June 4, 2008 Stetson had perfect peace from the Lord that his life was to be spent preaching the gospel in Italy and investing in Italian souls for Christ.
As a postscript, Stetson first considered Italy as a potential mission field when Sandy casually mentioned that their home church only supported one missionary to Italy at the time whereas other areas of the world were well represented by missionaries. Stetson realized that he had never heard a missionary to Italy speak in the ten years he was a member at Grace nor since his time at Cornerstone. Upon investigation later it was confirmed that there are only a handful of independent Baptist missionaries in Italy and only 5% of Italy’s 33,500 communities have an established gospel preaching witness.
Within two months of the mission conference where Stetson opened himself to the mission field, a missionary to Sicily visited Cornerstone while on furlough. Stetson’s spirit was stirred as the missionary spoke of Italy and the need for the gospel there. As Stetson considered Italy’s need for the gospel, Italian culture and history, his educational background at a Catholic university, his and Sandy’s affinity for Italy, as well as various other factors, he believes his family is well suited for a life on the mission field of Italy and is excited about serving God in the land to which He has called them.