I've gone back and forth over how to say this. I've prayed about it for weeks and asked God to give me wisdom over if this post should happen. Right now I have peace about it. If today's entry rubs you wrong, please come back again on Monday. I promise it'll be back to normal.
Just as no writer exists in a vaccuum (we also identify as parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, cousins, co workers, etc.), I have a second idenity as a missionary. It's been such a pleasure and an honor to share my journey with y'all--to tell stories, speak about the opportunities and obstacles in front of me, and let y'all see this incredible life God has given me. I can't begin to describe how much it means to me when you tell me you're praying for me and that you support me in this. Your encouragement means so much.
I truly believe that this ministry isn't mine. It's God's, ultimately, and it belongs to all of us. Because while I'm so thankful that I get to go and do all of this, I can't do it without people praying for me and supporting me. The emails I receive overseas really keep me going. Here in the States, too. We're partners in this ministry. My fruit belongs to y'all too, because without you I wouldn't be out there. It's pretty cool to think about how everything I do is connected to so many people. Without the Church behind me, I wouldn't be able to do this. God never meant for missionaries to go rogue. We need to be sent out, to be covered in prayer, and to have others share in our ministry.
I've told y'all in the past about this awesome opportunity to join Adventures in Missions. We're an interdenominational organization who goal is to make disciples wherever we go. I'm with the Ambassador (or the high school) program as an Administrative Assistant, which is everything from scheduling travel and purchasing tickets to writing for the program, managing the students' blogs (I know!), training the students, and actually going. We hope to send up to 300 high school students to up to fifteen countries next summer. Can you imagine the impact on the nations? I am so excited!
So my role is going to change my life a lot. I'll be based out of the States. I need to move to the area, which is why I've been apartment hunting and trying to make all of those decisions. I'll still go overseas, but it won't be for six months or years at a time. I'm really looking forward to being "settled" versus going somewhere every few weeks, to having a place of my own, and being able to impact the field from all sides. My missionfield just expanded exponentially, because those 300 students will be my fruit--and y'all's as well.
Here's the thing: the week before Christmas I sat down with the HR department and went over my support. You see, I'm not getting a paycheck. I'm still supported as if I were living overseas. We decided to push back my move in date because I don't have enough yet to sign a lease or meet the utility bill payments. Since I won't have a roommate, I need to make sure I have enough for it all and I really need help. My support goal is for $1400 a month. This budget includes rent, utilities, gas for my car, food to eat... you know, the basics. It does not include overseas travel, so any financial gifts to come in over that amount will go towards flights, lodging, transportation, and food when I'm overseas.
Right now I need $600 more a month to meet the initial support goal.
I know, it sounds like a lot. And there's a myth in support raising that if someone can't give a large amount, it's not worth it. That's simply not true. All gifts are big for me because I understand exactly what the sacrifice means, whether it is giving up a Starbucks coffee a week or a couple of fast food meals a month. A $10 or $25 a month gift means as much to me as a gift for several hundred. One time gifts are so appreciated, but I also need people to commit to monthly support. I need to be able to present a list to HR saying that "this many people have committed and this is the amount projected each month". This is to make sure I don't sign a lease, move in, not have the support, and then get evicted within a few months.
This is such a personal decision (which is why I hesitated to write about this), and I know the economy has severely crippled many of us. As a writer, I understand the lack of financial compensation for a lot of what we do. I just ask for you to prayerfully consider supporting me, whether it's a monthly gift or a one time donation. And that no matter what you decide, that you will cover me in prayer. I know that God is going to provide for me. Right now I'm just waiting to see how He does it.
Here's all the information for financial support:
Contributions can be given via credit card at http://www.adventures.org/give. If you choose to donate via the secure website, just click on the “AIM Staff” link and type my name (Kristen Torres-Toro) when asked.
Or snail mail to: Adventures In Missions, Inc., P.O. Box 534470, Atlanta, Ga. 30353-4470. If you choose to donate via snail mail, my name just needs to be on the memo line. All checks need to be made out to Adventures in Missions.
The most important part is to specify that it’s for Kristen Torres-Toro.
If you'd like to read my missions blog, just click on the link. There's a place there you can sign up to receive automatic email updates everytime I post there.
Obviously, this is a personal decision. If you'd like to reply privately instead of in the comments below, you can email me at kristentorrestoro[at]gmail[dot]com or my AIM email: kristentorres-toro[at]adventures[dot]org.
Also, if you'd like to receive my support updates (via email) or a snail mail newsletter, just let me know with your information (an email or an address) and I can make that happen.
I just ask you to pray about giving. And if you can, please give. Either way... whatever you decide... thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much it means to me. I can't even put it into words. I am just so thankful for each of you. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for praying.
By the way, the cool thing about this life change is being able to focus on writing as well. So none of this changes blogging, writing, or my pursuit of publication. It just means I'll be in the States more and won't be living with my poodle at my parents' house.
See y'all Monday!
4 hours ago