In South Texas we have two seasons, hot and hotter. We don't get the joy of seeing the leaves change colors and fall gently to the ground. We rarely get that cool Fall day that brings the crisp blast of wind that makes you want to run and frolic like a school kid. So, when Michelle and I were invited to go to the mountains of Virginia for a missions retreat we jumped at the chance! We have known of the organization putting on the retreat, Advancing Native Missions, for several years and have followed through friends what ANM does, but this would be the first time we get to really learn first hand what this incredible organization does. ANM is a group of people dedicated to reaching every tribe and nation for Christ using missionaries in their own country, doing whatever it takes to find and tell every person on the planet that Jesus loves them.

   We had no idea that to expect. All we knew was that we would get to escape to the mountains at the peak of Fall beauty, see the changing leaves, feel the cool mountain air and have a little time to get away and recharge. When we arrived, we were so blessed. Every detail had been thought of, every person made us feel welcome and we felt loved and valued. The three day event was full of stories, prayer and seeing God do incredible things right before our eyes. We had the opportunity to hear from missionaries what God is doing around the world. We heard stories of struggles. We heard stories of joy. We heard stories that were almost impossible to believe, but seeing these missionaries and their dedication to the call on their life no matter what the circumstance really impacted me.

   As Michelle and I debriefed and talked through all that we experienced and heard, I felt very convicted. I realized I spend more time focusing on the things I don't have and the silly things that “get in my way” than using all that God has given me and the blessings I have at my finger tips to follow the call He has placed on my life. I have spent so much time being complacent because “I'm just not feeling it today” rather than working hard and using the gifts and talents He has given me.

   Now, am I saying that I feel like I need to move to Africa or India and live in a dirt house and eat nothing but bread and rice? No, what I am saying is that I can be more intentional about using all that God has given me and the resources I have right here. We all have a mission field. For some of us it is the jungles of Africa or the children of Cambodia and Thailand. For others the office, neighborhood or classroom. God has given each of us talents that we can use to share the Gospel. So, I am choosing to spend less time focusing on what I wish I had, wish I could do and the “obstacles” in my way and, like the missionaries we met, figure out how to use what God has blessed me with no matter what. The amazing people we met through ANM don't focus on the problems, they look at the situation before them and, with God, figure out a way to use it for His glory.

Ok, I am going to ask you to do a couple of things for me this weekend:

  1. Ask God to show you what gifts or talents He has given you and how you can use them in your mission field.

  2. Go check out to learn more about how they connect and empower the native missionaries around the world.

Thanks for hanging out with me today! I would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment here or on our FB page

AuthorJustin Graves