My Passion for Missions
Greetings, I'm Tom Hyatt, the Director of Operations at Living Water Ministries. I was raised in a devout Christian household and actively participated in my church community from a young age. Soon after graduating from college, I was elected to my church's Administrative Board, becoming the youngest ever to hold that position. However, I must confess that my actions didn't always reflect a complete surrender to Christ.
It wasn't until I met a man named Larry Etheridge, a year or so after college, that I truly grasped what it meant to have a personal relationship with Christ. Larry helped me understand that it's not about religion, but a genuine connection with Jesus. Though I was baptized as an infant as a member of the United Methodist Church, after participating in a home church, I felt compelled to make the decision to be baptized again, this time of my own volition.
Thanks to my parents' involvement in the church, I began participating in mission trips during my high school years. Our church took us to Appalachia to serve with an organization called the Appalachia Service Project, where we spent a week each summer rebuilding homes for those in need.
Over the next 25 to 30 years, I went through a period of sanctification, although I acknowledge that I'm still on that journey. During those years, while I loved Jesus, I have to admit that I was more focused on serving myself than serving Him.
In 2011, I had the opportunity to return to the mission field with my church to Guatemala. At the time, my marriage was falling apart and I realized that both my wife and I had been neglecting our relationship with Christ. I wanted to go on the trip to serve and hopefully jumpstart my own faith. Although my heart was served, unfortunately, my marriage did not survive. However, through the divorce, I saw God showing up in my life in amazing ways, strengthening my faith.
During this time, I was given more opportunities to go on mission trips with my church, including a trip to Morocco to teach a photography workshop at a leadership conference. It was also during this time that I started a new job and met a colleague named Steve who shared my passion for Christ. In 2018, Steve invited me to go to Jordan and Morocco to meet with various mission organizations, which ignited my love for missions even further.
In 2019, Steve invited me to go to Tanzania to see the work that he and his friend Vincent had started. While the trip was difficult for me, I prayed to God to change my heart and rekindle my passion for missions. When I returned home, I took a 15-session course through an organization called Perspectives, which gave me a new perspective on God's mission and reignited my passion for missions.
Since then, I have gone back to Tanzania twice and have joined forces with Steve and Vincent to spread the gospel in unreached areas of the world. Although I am still in corporate America, I am committed to serving God in missions until He provides me with full-time support.