April 2024 student blog by panelist
Missions Discipleship

Acteens Panelist’s Mind and Heart Shifted to Missions

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13 NKJV). Christians witness this verse every day.

When we face hardship, it is a wonderful feeling to know that Christ, who is always faithful, will give us strength.

We see many blessings each and every day. We rise from our beds in the morning because God gives us the strength to do so.

Regardless of age, color, or circumstances, we all face personal battles. But as Christians, we do not have to fight our battles alone. God is always there. God gives us strength and guidance. God is always working in our lives.

God’s work in my life sparked my involvement in missions.

I found Jesus Christ at a fairly young age, but I wasn’t always the girl that I am today. I found Christ and my life was renewed. My eyes were once clouded, but when I accepted Jesus into my life, my vision became clear all of a sudden. I saw God’s work and love in everything — especially in my life.

Before finding Christ, the majority of my focus was always on pleasing others even when it didn’t make me happy. But once I let God work in me, my life was no longer centered around the wrong ideas. On the days I feel like I can’t, God tells me I can. My relationship with God became the thing I value most. Jesus showed me true happiness and love.

This switch in my life is what shifted my mind and heart to missions. How could I not want this feeling for everyone else? It is our job to show others what God has done for us so they may let God do the same for them.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). God calls us to spread His message and to teach others about Christ who died for our sins. It isn’t always easy, but that is God’s calling to me. I know that God put me on this Earth for a reason and He has a purpose for my life.

God called me and brought my purpose to light through various people in my life. Without them, perhaps I wouldn’t have written this. I am thankful to God for putting these people in my life when He did.

I owe a special thanks to Ina Sheila Rios, who supported me throughout my entire missions journey. Mrs. Rios has worked at our church as a missions leader for many, many years. I’ve known her from a young age and from the start, Mrs. Rios pushed me to be my best self and to step outside of my comfort zone.

She taught me that whatever I do, to do it for God’s honor and glory. Even when I felt that I couldn’t, she knew that I could. God was working in me through her and I am forever grateful.

Whenever troubles arose, she was always there. She was always willing to lend a helping hand. Mrs. Rios guided me and supported me through most of my missionary work. It is because of her that I was able to participate as camp staff in missions experiences. She introduced me to many opportunities like traveling to Maine last summer, working with kids, and becoming more involved in my community and church. She even pushed me to apply to be an Acteens National Panelist and I couldn’t have done it without her.

One day during Vacation Bible School, Sheila prayed with me as I accepted Jesus Christ into my life. I will never forget this experience. It all started on that very day. This was the day I gave my life to Jesús and ever since, my life has not been the same. I see everything in a new light. Now, my goal is to share the love of Christ with others so they may experience the joy that I experience today.

Leslie Almonte, a 2023 National Acteens Panelist, is from Passaic, New Jersey, and attends Primera Iglesia Bautista Hispana de Passaic.