Northwest Montana Hosts Mission Training Weekend

Around Christmas 2022, my family and I were in Georgia visiting my brother-in-law, Jeff Sutton, who runs a mission training school in Belize called MOVE.

We discussed ways to inspire young people to service while equipping them with skills to prepare them for wherever God would lead them. We also talked about our mutual desire to help strengthen family relationships.

My brother-in-law mentioned he was planning a short, intensive event at his school in the spring that would include training in small engine mechanics, welding, agriculture and natural remedies — a first-of-its-kind program at MOVE.

From this discussion, we developed a plan to do a similar training in Montana in July 2023 on the Eller Blueberry Farm to focus on young people and families. As we planned by faith, we shared the training with our friends, church and community, and we found many who were interested. 

As the four-day weekend approached, we were blessed to have many friends and family volunteer their time to help with set-up, preparation and how to host the event's logistics. We originally planned and budgeted for 100 people to attend, but God had other plans. As we prayed for God to send people, he exceeded our expectations by sending 140.

The classes offered included small engine mechanics, welding, agriculture, natural remedies and food preservation, horsemanship, Stop the Bleed, medical, advanced medical and mission aviation. 

Sutton was our main speaker for worship and evangelism-focused training. We were blessed and inspired as he told stories of God's leading in his life and ministry. Young people led Sabbath School and church programs in three area churches. 

Sunday morning, we divided into groups to go out into the community and volunteer our time to help people with various projects. It was beautiful to see God use each team. One team helped cut firewood and stack it. When I stopped by to check on them, the lady who lived there said to me, "I have been praying God would send someone to help me for months. You guys are an answer to my prayer."

Other teams helped cut trees, repair roofs, remove trash, mow lawns, weed-whack, fix house siding, wash windows and muck horse barns. Sharing Jesus through acts of service to our community was such a blessing.

As we look to the future, we don't know what it holds, but we know who holds the future. God has called each of us to a life of service. This means different things to each of us, but being a disciple of Jesus is not for spectators. God needs each of us to work, for the night is coming when no man can work. 

As Ellen White wrote in Christ Object Lessons on page 326, "Christ's followers have been redeemed for service ... By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men."

May God lead each of us in serving others and allowing God to use us to bless others.

Featured in: January/February 2024