Krista is a graduate of Auburn University, and recently earned her Masters degree in Intercultural Studies & TESOL from Wheaton College.

One of the coolest things about being an alumna of Impact 360 is when you have the opportunity to meet new staff members who join the family. This semester, I have had the privilege of briefly getting to know one of Impact 360’s newest staff members, Krista Autrey.

As the service learning coordinator, Krista has set up thirteen different sites with service opportunities for the class of 2015. Pine Mountain and the surrounding communities have needs across the board that students can engage with, ranging from after school programs at the Boys & Girls Club to serving at a therapeutic horse stable.

“The process of mentoring the students in serving in a plethora of diverse organizations has been insightful to me,” shares Autrey. “Many times we see that our ministry is encouraging to not only those we are serving, but also to the workers and current staff of these organizations we are partnering with. That’s unexpected, but really exciting. Our students are also learning a lot about what it looks like to work with people of varying personalities and leadership styles. I think this will prove to be invaluable throughout their life.”

Krista Autrey, Service Learning & International Coordinator, Impact 360 Institute
Krista Autrey, Service Learning & International Coordinator, Impact 360 Institute

One of the first things I learned about Krista is that the current students adore her. Whenever I would come on campus they insisted that I absolutely had to meet Krista. The next thing I learned about Krista is that she is the ‘real deal’ when it comes to serving. What is incredible about Krista is that she has an eye for identifying opportunities to serve around her each day and has a genuine heart to meet those needs, no matter how big or small.

“There is physical and spiritual need right here in Pine Mountain, and it is equally important to engage with those needs as it is overseas. Our work in Brazil will be a continuation of what we learn right here.”

In her role as International Coordinator with Impact 360 Institute, Krista’s gifts of service and leadership will be utilized by coordinating the international experience in the Brasilia, Porto Alegre, Sao Paulo and Curitiba communities of Brazil for Gap Year.

The 41 students will break into two teams to serve in separate locations for some projects, and will then come together as the whole group for others. For the most part, students stay in camps or host homes while in Brazil. Many of their projects will include working with churches and families within impoverished areas of Brazil. Their service will include working at children and youth camps, youth worship nights, and investing in teenagers and ministry staff.

Krista believes one of her biggest contributions as the international coordinator is her passion for students to understand the cultural contexts they will be working in.

“Identifying the known rules of a culture is important, but what is more important is being aware of the unspoken rules that will allow a student or any visitor to conduct their work, business, or ministry with a great deal of informed respect for both the person and community being served.”

As an Impact 360 alumna who has served on the Brazil trip, I can affirm what Krista says completely. What matters most in this international mission experience is not necessarily the building we paint or the task we complete, it is connecting with people across cultural boundaries to bring them the hope of Christ.

Krista and Taylor Smythe (left) visiting with a Brazilian host home.
Krista and Taylor Smythe (left) visiting with a Brazilian host home.

Students leave January 12 and return February 11, 2015. Please pray for the teams of students from Impact 360 Gap Year as they travel to Brazil and look to impact the lives of others by serving with their own.

Impact 360 is very honored and excited to have Krista as a part of the team! She is already influencing lives for Christ in a major way, and my only hope is that other alumni get the chance to meet her like I have and see firsthand her impressive heart for serving.