“Look down below where you are standing or sitting. Now look around your surroundings. Wherever you are, that is your missions field. There is no excuse for not sharing the word of God with others because you are able to share the word. No matter the location.”
I felt as if the pastor were singling me out from everyone in the crowd as he spoke those words to a thousand students that were present the fourth night of youth camp the summer of 2017.
My mindset of missions before that night involved something along the lines of traveling outside my home state to somewhere new and speaking the word of God. However, I realized that it was a mistake on my part to think the only way I could carry out and continue the work of God was through travel.
A few days after youth camp, the pastor’s words were confirmed to me while grocery shopping. Looking down each aisle at my local grocery store, I saw everything from pan dulce, a Spanish bread, to House of Tsang Asian condiments. There were so many international options in the grocery store in my neighborhood.
The one thing I admire the most about my community is the diversity, and it’s even evident by just grocery shopping. Reflecting on the diverse options observed in the grocery store, I came to a sudden realization. “That’s it!” I accidentally shouted in front of everyone in the grocery store. Soon after I apologized to everyone around me, but I couldn’t neglect the sudden lightbulb that had sparked my brain.
Pieces of the puzzle came together one by one as I made the connection between how diverse my community is with how many cultures are present, which would mean not all people in the community either believe or know about Christ. In other words, where I am at the moment in my community, that is my missions field.
Ever since then, I always remind myself of the pastor’s words about how every place one finds oneself equals an opportunity to reach out to others and plant a seed about the gospel. Whether I’m at the grocery store or the school I currently attend or even my apartment building, I can share the gospel.
While I share the gospel, I can learn about different cultures and perspectives to expand my horizon. Being able to experience a variety of cultures allows for inspiration and the opportunity to value what other cultures offer. Learning new information and perspectives helps eliminate personal biases and stereotypes and bring awareness.
My Acteens leader always has something new to introduce every meeting, such as learning about a missionary currently in Costa Rica and how countries like Turkey are partnered with WorldCrafts.
While my Acteens leader introduces these new topics, she encourages my group to do research about the countries we learn about. It’s one of the many things that I enjoy doing in Acteens. I get to learn, research, and ask questions about these topics while engaging in missions.
Nievez Montanez, a 2022 National Acteens Panelist, is from Garland, Texas, and attends Freeman Heights Baptist Church.