During the summer of 2022, I had the opportunity to go to Stearns, Kentucky, with my Acteens group. We went to help operate a restaurant called the Lord’s Cafe. This restaurant is completely free for anyone in need of a good meal and it is solely operated by missionaries.
Stearns, Kentucky, is in one of the poorest counties in our country and this is evident if you look at the area around the restaurant. There is low-income housing and homelessness in this area as well.
My group and I were in charge of everything including set up, cooking, cleaning, serving, praying with people who came through the doors, and prayerwalking through the whole building.
On the first day of the week, I volunteered to be a server which meant I interacted with the customers the most. I was in charge of taking orders and making sure the customers were taken care of. I was also able to have conversations and pray with them. I was given the opportunity to share my testimony and the three circles gospel presentation. The three circles method requires you to draw a diagram. There were many people who loved hearing what I had to say, but some did not. Do not become discouraged if you are rejected while sharing the gospel. Not everyone is open or ready to hear what you have to say, but do not let it stop you!
I met an older couple at the restaurant and they made a big impact on my life. They were Christians, but I did not know it until later in our conversation. I talked to them about family, Kentucky, where they grew up, and more. I shared my testimony with them and they accepted it with open arms.
When I learned they were Christians, I asked the man to share his testimony with me. He told me he was saved as a younger adult and he was involved in one of their local churches. He also shared that he previously had a heart attack and was sent to the hospital. He said that as he laid there, he saw a bright light that consumed him and brought ultimate peace. He told me he wanted to stay but he was not allowed to do so because he had to come back to his wife and wait for his time. He shared that he knew that light was God and that God sent him back. He changed his life for the better after that. He made God a priority and treated people better.
This testimony left me with goose bumps. He encouraged me to continue what I was doing. I was not prepared to have someone encourage and help me at a time when I thought I was there to help him. I learned that you never know what God will do through your life as you are on mission.
I cooked and washed dishes for the remaining days at the restaurant. Washing dishes was honestly the hardest job and it was never-ending. I learned that you can do missions for God even if you are not right out in the center for everyone to see. Never forget that missions can include big and small tasks — both can make an impact on other people.
I encourage you to get involved and maybe even take the lead and plan a missions trip. Doing missions not only helps others, it also helps you.
I found my passion for missions and how I was called into ministry in my own way. The people I encountered on missions trips taught me so much and helped me grow in the experience I need to help grow God’s kingdom.
We, as Christians, are called to spread the gospel. Take the chance and plan a missions trip. You might be surprised by the support you receive from your church. Missions will change your life and the lives of those around you. Do not let fear stop you from doing what you are called to do. Mark 16:15 states, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’” (NIV).
Alyssa McMillon, a 2023 National Acteens Panelist, is from Granite Falls, North Carolina, and attends Dudley Shoals Baptist Church.