A Man with a Mission for God

“We can make our own plans but ultimately God is in control and we just have to follow his lead and go wherever He takes us.”

Many times, that is easier said than done, but Yonathan Moya (’10) doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk when it comes to following God’s plan for his life.

Traveling 10 months out of the year is part of his job description, but it’s also one of his greatest passions. As a regional coordinator for a non-profit organization called Experience Mission (EM), Moya oversees short-term mission work in Spanish-speaking communities throughout Central America and the Caribbean, as well as in places like Joplin, Mo. and Los Angeles, Calif.

Since transforming his calling into a profession in the spring of 2010, Moya has led six different trips, including two separate ones to Port au Prince, Haiti, increasing his nomadic repertoire to more than 11 locations around the world.

“I don’t take my traveling lightly. I see every trip as an opportunity to be a tangible picture of [God’s] love and represent his kingdom in everything that I do,” explains Moya.

However, he has not always been so keen on moving from place to place.

Moya holding a young boy during a trip to the Haiti Children's Rescue Mission, an orphanage EM partners with in Port au Prince, Haiti.

 

The Start of a New Journey

As an 18-year-old fresh out of high school, Moya had no intention of moving from sunny Texas to frigid northern Indiana for college. However, his father, a Missionary Church pastor, had different plans for him and began praying for someone to lead him to a Christian school.

In August 2005, a family friend, who happened to be a pastor from Michigan, showed up on their doorstep on his way home from doing mission work in Mexico. Only four hours later, Moya began the 1,500-mile journey to Bethel College with nothing but a storage container, a bed sheet, a jean jacket, a single set of clothes and the pastor at the wheel.

Moya helping students with their Spanish homework at Jardin de Missou School in Carrefour, Haiti.

Short-Term Passion Becomes Long-Term Vision

Despite a rocky start, the liberal arts major grew in his studies and relationship with God while at Bethel. Moya also began pursuing opportunities he never would have otherwise, especially when it came to missions.

Moya went to Mississippi and Hong Kong during his college years, but his perception of missions drastically changed during a campus recruitment day in 2008. Upon discovering EM’s leadership internship in Mexico, he quickly became interested. But when he realized he could actually afford it, due to the provision of free room and board, as well as a stipend, he knew he was meant to pursue the summer-long immersion experience.

Only a few months later, Moya found himself, along with a few other students, living among the local people while making arrangements for other missions teams to serve in the area. After this initial glimpse of EM’s vision to bring hope and change to those living in underprivileged areas, Moya’s original short-term plan to serve quickly became long-term.

“At first I looked at the program as a leadership development opportunity,” explains Moya. “But the more I learned about EM and their sustainable vision for the communities, [the more I] wanted to stay in touch.”

The following spring, EM asked Moya to colead a team traveling to Costa Rica to build a suspension bridge, providing locals with access to a school and medical facility. During this trip, Moya decided he wanted to join EM’s permanent staff to further pursue missions leadership after graduation.

Moya documenting destruction caused by the May 22 tornado in Joplin, Mo.

Internship to Career

Now, when he is not traveling internationally, Moya spends his time visiting college campuses in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, recruiting students for EM’s fall and spring internship program. Recently, he began expanding toward Columbus and Chicago, in hopes to further diversify the program.

“With recruiting, I believe there is something really valuable in building relationships with people,” says Moya. “Since I’m such a relational person, I love just meeting and working with people. Last year at this time, we had 39 applicants. This year we have 139!”

Moya’s occupation not only gives him an opportunity to travel and work with people, but it also serves as a platform for photography, his favorite hobby. He believes that capturing the special moments on the field is all part of telling the story of the work that is being done around the world.

 

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