Ryan & Jenn Toyota
Ryan - Graphic Designer & Media Producer
For as long as I can remember, Iíve been interested in media and design. When I was young, my best friend and I would spend every spare weekend we had playing with his dadís video camera, later on I became fascinated with the creativity of photography, and I eventually settled into a career path as a graphic designer.
Right out of high school, I began working for a local newspaper in my hometown of Cranbrook, and after three years of experience designing advertisements, I moved on to a job at a local print shop. Around that time I married my high school sweetheart, Jenn, and we spent our first year in Cranbrook while I increased my knowledge in all things print-related.
We then decided to make the move to Vancouver so that Jenn could continue school and I could advance in the graphic design industry. I found a job working for the massive electronics retailer Future Shop (the Best Buy of Canada), as a junior desktop publisher for their weekly flyers. Over the span of four years, I learned much about designing for a large corporation as I advanced to a senior desktop publisher. At the same time, I also began to feel discontent with the paradox that I felt between my job and my faith. I had been a Christian for as long as I could remember, and I began to feel more and more that promoting materialism should be the last thing God would want me to do with my life, so I began to pray that He would provide a way for me to use my talents for something more glorifying.
In 2005, my wife and I decided to join our churchís missions trip to Mexico. Originally unsure of what use I was going to be on the trip, I ended up being able to use my hobby-level interest in video production to create an effective team testimony video for our church. I also discovered a newfound love and excitement for missions work, and for Hungry For Life, who happened to be the organization to facilitate the trip. Later that year as I enquired with Hungry For Life about the possibility of volunteering my design services part time, they informed me of the immense need for someone like me to fill a full-time position.
To me, this was an amazingly wonderful answer to prayer beyond my wildest dreams, but it came with a challenge: as a Hungry For Life staff member, I would be required to raise my salary through a support network of friends and family. I realized that this would be something that I could not do without the power of Godís strength behind me, so after steadfast prayer and evaluative consultation with friends and family, we grew certain of Godís calling for me to accept this full-time position.
It is now my mission to create compelling graphics and moving media that will lead people to experience the power and presence of Jesus Christ through missions trips and worship events.
Jenn - Teams and Project Services Administrator
My interest in missions started with a trip to the jungles of Ecuador in 2003 with 25 teenagers in tow. That experience cultivated a deep love of other cultures and people, and most of all a deep passion to see the lives of North Americans changed to receive and to freely give the love of Christ.
I was in the process of working towards my accounting designation in 2005 when Ryan and I participated in a trip to Mexico facilitated by Hungry for Life. I knew that's what I wanted to spend my life doing but God didn't call me into the organization until later. I continued working towards my accounting designation; God had work to do in me to prepare me for the role he intended. In the spring of 2010, I started working at the Hungry For Life office and am now in a part-time capacity as a Teams and Project Services Administrator. This position allows me to use my gifts in administration, organization and accounting to it's full potential.