Alvaro Briones is a leader in C&YA. He is an active discipler and is helping to plant a men’s Bible study at UMKC. Alvaro's testimony is an encouragement to our fellowship, particularly in how he serves God and his people. In this post, Alvaro shares what God showed him last year at Mission Focus and how his heart’s desire is to see the Lord’s kingdom advanced.
Last year at Mission Focus, I went into it very lightheartedly and already presuming what was going to go down. I remember having the mindset that there are already enough lost people in Kansas City, so there’s no way I am going to go out of my way on a missions trip. I also grew up in Peru and I remember the stories of “los evangelicos” and how they lived pretty lavish lifestyles; needless to say I had a wrong view of what a biblical missionary was. I remember praying to God before Mission Focus asking Him to change my perspective on missionaries and to have an open heart… Boy, does he answer prayers.
The light that shines the furthest shines the brightest at home
Paul Clark, a long-time missionary and church planter in Colombia, preached Acts 1:6-8. What really stood out to me was
Vs.8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."
He focused on this verse on the last night and God showed me that the reason I could not see myself being a missionary anywhere in the world was because I was not a missionary at home. Paul said, “The light that shines the furthest shines the brightest at home.” God showed me that I was nowhere close to being a soldier for Christ, and He used Mission Focus 16 to help me take a step in faith and get real about my purpose in this world.
My purpose isn’t just to be a good Christian, or follow a career, or whatever else I have my eyes set on. I am called to be a soldier for Christ, to get serious and start living my life with an eternal purpose. At Mission Focus, it finally clicked for me that if anything matters in this world, it is putting the Word of God into the souls of men. I decided to live with this mentality. God moved so mightily that I went up to Pastor Dad Brandon and told him that whatever he needed, whenever he needed it, I would be his guy, because I wanted to be God’s guy! I wanted to be faithful in my Jerusalem so I could be used in the uttermost parts of the earth.
So I distinctly remember sitting in a pew and praying to the Lord, “Lord, whatever the next mission trip is on the screen, I’m going.” And of course God gave me a reality check because the very first one that came up was the Hungary trip and it was $$$$$$. So I decided to really spend some time in prayer and let the Lord work on my heart.
I’d be a fool to miss out on what he has for me.
The fruit of Mission Focus is still working itself out in my life. In the springtime, God gave me the opportunity to go to Tampa, FL to help the Tampa church plant as my first missions trip! He has used me in a ministry to people playing a silly game (pool) to make His name be known! By His grace, I am able to be a soldier of Christ and will continue His work.
I am excited about Mission Focus this year because God’s going to speak through his Word, and I’d be a fool to miss out on what he has for me. I am excited because it will knit us closer together as the Living Faith Community, and I am excited to see how I can be a better disciple of Christ and be used for his Kingdom.