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God Is in This Story

From Plainwell, Michigan, to a school for the blind in Togo, Africa, Kristy Moore sees the Lord’s faithfulness every step of her unexpected journey
  • Nancy Huffine
  • May 15, 2024

Moody Online graduate Kristy Moore with her husband Rory


“Whenever somebody challenged my husband about becoming a missionary, Rory would say, ‘No! I will never become a missionary because God will send me to Africa and make me live in a mud hut.’ And I knew at that moment—we are going to Africa!”

That story has become a bit of an inside joke for Rory and Kristy Moore. As a young married couple, Rory and Kristy loved serving in their church. They each had a strong sense of their gifts and talents, and foreign missions wasn’t on their radar at all.

“We met on a blind date in 1989 when we were both 18,” Kristy says. “We got married when we were 20 and served in our local church right from the beginning. Any church that we were a part of, we served in. Usually it was Rory in finances, both of us in children's ministry, and me with women's ministry.”

Called to missions

Serving locally seemed to come naturally for the couple, but serving overseas cross-culturally was something they hadn’t given much thought to. Thirteen years and two kids later, their thinking—and their hearts—began to change.

Kristy explains, “Our church, Orangeville Baptist in Plainwell, Michigan, had always been really big on yearly missions conferences, having people from all over the globe come in. It wasn't until we were in our early 30s that the Lord really began to work on our hearts about full-time missions. We didn't know when and we had no idea where He was calling us, but we knew He was calling us to missions.”

Rory and Kristy began investigating mission organizations, a process which would continue for three years. It was Rory and Kristy’s pastor who first suggested ABWE, the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, headquartered in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. Rory contacted ABWE, and the couple was invited to attend a weekend of meetings in July of 2006 that turned out to be the best possible time to be introduced to the organization.

“They were having their candidate seminar for new appointees,” Kristy recalls. “They had all the directors in from all over the country, and many of them wanted to meet with us.” But at the end of the day, as Kristy puts it, “Nothing seemed like a good fit for us. We were a little discouraged.”

Out of Africa

As the Moores were leaving the conference, the receptionist stopped them. One director wasn’t flying in until the next morning, and he had asked to meet Rory and Kristy and their two boys for breakfast. His name was Ron Washer, and he was the director of—no surprise—ABWE’s outreach in Africa.

At breakfast the next morning, Ron wondered aloud if the Moores would be interested in what he had to offer because the needs in Togo, Africa, were for an administrator and for someone to get involved with ministry to women and children.  These were the exact three roles that Rory and Kristy had been praying for.

“Afterwards,” Kristy says, “when we walked to the car we said to each other, ‘This is it. We’re going to Africa!’”

The Moores and their children, Davis (age 12 at the time) and Austin (age 9), took a survey trip to Togo in January of 2007. Four days later, they attended their first field preparation seminar. Afterwards they were appointed as missionaries to Togo, West Africa.

“It was quite the whirlwind!” Kristy says.

‘We thought we should just drop out’

But in 2008, the whirlwind began unraveling into a dead calm. As a recession gripped the US and other countries, churches struggled financially, and few took on new missionaries.

“It was a very discouraging time,” Kristy says. “We thought we should just drop out. We shouldn't do this. We often prayed, ‘Lord, if You don't want us to do this, drop our support.’ Then it would seem like the next day a new supporter would come aboard. So we said, ‘Okay, we’ll stick with it!’”

Judy Bowen, a fellow ABWE missionary in Togo, remembers reading updates about the Moores’ support progress. “I followed their pre-field ministry until they arrived in Togo,” Judy says. “I remember, during those long months and years of their travel to various churches, admiring the fact that they were incredibly persistent, resilient, and faithful to stay the course.”

Surprise assignment

After four years of fundraising and delays, the Moores left for Kpalime (pronounced Pahl-EE-may), Togo, in April of 2012. Their first assignment was serving at the Village of Light School for the Blind in Kpalime. “It was probably one of the most difficult years of our lives, but it was also the best year,” Kristy says.

Moody Online graduate Kristy Moore teaching at the Village of Light School for the Blind in Togo, Africa

Kristy teaching at the Village of Light School for the Blind in Togo, Africa

The Village of Light School for the Blind was founded in 1974 by Ron Washer’s parents. The school can house about 50 students at a time and focuses on educating those who have been blinded by disease, accident, or genetics. Though Village of Light cares mainly for adolescents, adult men and women who become blind can also be admitted. Many of these students are shunned by family and society.

“We didn't know the culture. We didn't know the language. And we were alone,” Kristy says. “We were filling in for the current administrator while she was on furlough, and we were supposed to have another missionary couple there with us on the compound.”

Due to an illness, that couple returned to Canada, leaving the Moores to figure out a new plan. “We knew nothing. We just jumped in and did what we could do. With an interpreter, I taught a ladies Bible study in English at a local church. Rory did the same thing with the men, and he ran the school.”

Judy Bowen, who oversees ABWE’s communication resource center in Togo, says Togo’s culture is unlike life in America in nearly every way imaginable.

“Everything’s different,” Judy says. “Shopping locally is done in open markets with loads of sights and smells that take getting used to. There are people and goats and chickens to avoid on most roads. In your home, the electricity goes off often. But you do get used to it. Having lived in Togo for 32 years, I can attest that now it all seems normal. The blessings are many but harder to focus on at first while you are trying to adapt.”

Back to Togo

The Moore family stayed in Togo for a year, returning to the US in 2013 to continue raising support and to focus on some personal health and family needs. By 2016, both of their boys were in college, and Rory and Kristy felt confident about serving in Togo as a couple.

Moody Online graduate Kristy Moore with her husband Rory


After attending language school in Canada for a year to learn French, in 2017 they returned to Village of Light School in Togo. Almost immediately, a new set of challenges presented itself.

“The first week we were there, the staff took us to the dorms for the children,” Kristy says. “They had to sleep on thin little mats. Some were mattresses with springs coming through. They were ripped and awful. I broke down in tears when I saw it.”

With no budget and a cost of $2,000 to replace the mattresses, Kristy and Rory shared the school’s need among supporters and on social media. “We told our staff members, ‘Pray and watch what God does,’” Kristy says. “Within 24 hours we had $4,000 donated. We didn’t know it, but none of those new mattresses fit the bed frames. We needed to have all new bed frames built, which cost $2,000. God gave us exactly what we needed.”

Unexpected door to Moody

Though Rory and Kristy felt more prepared in their second venture to Togo, Kristy sensed a strong desire to expand her education, build her ministry skills, and complete her undergraduate degree.

“I went to a secular university in my early 20s, but I decided to drop out of school so we could start a family,” she says. “Twenty-seven years later, there we were on the mission field. I had taken some required courses at ABWE, but the longer I was (in Togo) working with the girls and doing Bible studies, I just felt like I wanted to be better equipped to handle God’s Word.”

With a limited income as missionaries, Kristy needed financial assistance to afford a college education.

“Our son, who is a pastor now, had gone to Moody Bible Institute for two years, and I suddenly thought of Moody,” she says. “I contacted the admissions department and asked if they offered any discounts for missionaries. Sure enough, the answer was ‘Yes!’ They also accepted Pell Grants and offered scholarships. I felt so blessed!”

Taking Moody courses online in Ministry Leadership, one of Kristy’s favorite professors was Dr. Cheryl Parker. “Dr. Parker did a lot of the women’s courses,” Kristy says. “I had typhoid fever four times in the last six years, and she was flexible about turning in some papers. I still managed to get them in on time because I was just lying there in bed so I might as well write papers!”

In December of 2022, Kristy completed her Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership.

“Moody helped prepare me for working in women’s ministry,” she says. “I’m so thankful that I was able to go to school there. The professors were top-notch, and I just felt like I got the best education I could get.”


New ministry opportunity

In March of 2023, Kristy’s growing health issues meant that the couple needed to return to the US. “I’ve had a lot of lower spine problems from bulging discs. I live with chronic pain at this point,” she says. “It was getting so painful that I couldn’t go anywhere because the roads in Togo are really bad, and your spine is constantly being jarred.”

As the Moores were preparing to return to the US, a position opened up at Rory and Kristy’s sending church. Rory is now serving as pastor of equipping and administration at Orangeville Baptist Church. Kristy began a women’s ministry at the church in September of 2023.

Faithful God

A candidate for a new spinal procedure, Kristy faces several future surgeries. Though she has concerns about those and about the changes she’s likely to experience in her condition, she knows that God is able. It doesn’t take her long to choose the one attribute of God that has become more real to her now than ever.

“Faithfulness,” she says. “We watched Him do so many amazing things with us in our pre-field ministry. That was a long, long, difficult road. But every single time, He met our needs. Every single time. And that built our faith so that when we got on the field and those struggles came, we knew He was going to take care of it.”

Judy Bowen knows why Kristy singles out God’s faithfulness. “The faithfulness of God cannot be understated. We all see Him at work out here in Togo,” she says. “He is faithful to answer prayer, even when His timetable is often so different from ours.”

“God's faithfulness is amazing to me,” Kristy says. “I knew that even before entering missions, but I never truly experienced it because (on the mission field) you have nothing else to lean on. When God is all you have, that's when you really see His faithfulness happen.”

About the Author

  • Nancy Huffine