I had a chance to catch up with Kitty Soto, who has been ministering and pastoring 20 years to children, youth and women. We wanted to use her sharing to encourage the many mothers who are balancing a life of full-time ministry and raising a family. We also want to give a shout out to the many spiritual mothers out there. Have a great Mother's Day one and all! ~ Manni
ML: How were you called into full-time ministry?
KS: I never planned to go into ministry but in 1996 I realized I was not happy even though I was paid very well and quite successful in the field of advertisement. When I heard how others experienced God with joy and meaning, I wanted to experience it for myself. I took a year off to go for ministry training.
Then while driving one day, I heard a voice say, “Full-time ministry.” I was not convinced, so I spoke to my pastor who told me to fast and pray because it will be a tough life to go into full-time ministry. He said to ask for a word from God. I did and again, I heard from God, “Isaiah 49:1-7.” After reading it, I cried because I was reminded that I would have died at birth if God had not chosen me. Since then I’ve been a full-time minister for 20 years.
Ministry is not just work but an enjoyable lifestyle for me. I can truly say God has prepared me for being in the frontlines -- serving underserved communities of children, youth and families in Brooklyn to now working with DV, sexual assault and trafficked women.
ML: How has your family been a part of your calling?
KS: Family life keeps me in check. They keep me accountable to act on my word. When my daughters remind me that I’m not doing what I preach, it is humbling. At times, it’s even painful, but I do grow as a result.
ML: How do you and your husband share in parenting?
KS: He does the drop-offs, I do the pick-ups. I help with homework and he works on projects with them. Since we’re both in ministry, the line gets blurred at times when it comes to responsibilities. Our priority is: God – first, family – second, and ministry – third.
ML: What does it mean to parent daughters?
KS: I remember God led me to read Chronicles when I was wondering why there were more women than men in the church. I noticed how the mother’s names were mentioned when referencing good kings but not so much for evil kings. It spoke to me that we women can have such a lasting impact on the next generation to follow God faithfully. That’s what I see myself doing – living out a good relationship with God in my prayers and my actions to give Jesus to the next generation.
ML: What is your desire for your daughters?
KS: I want my daughters to never stop learning and discovering. I want them to love God with all their heart, mind, body and soul – to live out what God has purposed them to be – for them to keep dreaming with God and for God to become their own God, not mommy’s or daddy’s God.
ML: If you worry about their future, what would that be?
KS: That they choose to follow the world rather than follow God. I want them to make their own choices, so that they can enjoy good consequences. I try to help them understand that they have to make the choices in life by trying to demonstrate how to make good choices with Christ. To help, I do talk about how I have messed up, and I’m always ready to say sorry to the kids when I am wrong.
ML: What do you enjoy most about being a parent?
KS: Growing up I didn’t have a great relationship with my parents. After becoming a parent, I learned about unconditional love tangibly. When you love, you will do anything for a person. It is sacrificial selfless love. They’re a part of me. I relate better to God’s love for us, because of this.
ML: Do you have any advice for parents?
KS: You have to be real. They are watching you all the time. Parents need to be consistent in the home and in the church. They need to see that Christ is the one that you really look to. If you don’t lead them or lead them while they’re young, other people will.