Normal life came to an abrupt stop in March 2020. The halt served as a time of introspection, a time of self-reflection, and a time to form a stronger bond with my family.
The following year, 2021, served as a time to decompress and a year to give back. I volunteered in a recreation center, taught children how to swim in the apartment complex where I live, and crocheted stuffed animals for children in the orphanage alongside members of my school’s Key Club.
Though the pandemic initially led me to a mysterious place, otherwise known as isolation, there was still a calling to missions. I believed I needed to be a part of missions.
It is at a time like this, a time when people in the community are most in need, a time when people are at their lowest and most vulnerable state, when we as Christians can be a light and serve the community.
I am reminded of the passage Matthew 9:37–38, “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’” (NIV). Even though the pandemic slowed people down, I was able to continue missions projects.
Every third Saturday of the month, my mom, sister, and I would walk to the ROC (Re-creation Outreach Center) to receive food from the food pantry or get gifts and school supplies. It was inspiring to see and hear other families come to know about the community outreach center, while at the same time coming to know Christ. I believe it’s no coincidence that I ended up helping in a place where I once received aid.
The Spanish phrase “Muchas gracias, que Dios te bendiga” translates to “Thank you, God bless you” in English. Words like these warm my heart on a cold day. Each year, my church’s community outreach center does a Christmas drive-through for the people in the community. Each family can sign up to receive gifts for their children. As I distributed Christmas gifts, I saw a line of parents waiting in the cold with their children. I was reminded of how I was once in their shoes.
“Looks like your mom is now involved with the Christmas event held here. Let her know I said hello,” said one of my mom’s good friends as she received her bag of gifts to give to her children. I couldn’t help but smile at that comment.
My family had the opportunity to learn about the Lord and we are now involved in missions projects like the Christmas drive-through. This is a testament to how God works in various ways.
My mom even said that she never thought she would be a part of this ministry. I am glad I invited her to participate in this project because I was able to do missions work alongside her.
She speaks of her faith in Christ on when she talks on the phone to her family in Mexico. She has inspired me to do everything I can to reach out to the people in front of me in my community. It is so important that we, as Christians, spread the good news. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
Nievez Montanez, a 2022 National Acteens Panelist, is from Garland, Texas, and attends Freeman Heights Baptist Church.