After coming home from a service trip to Swaziland a few years ago, I felt renewed, energetic and ready to go again. It wasn’t your average mission trip, we worked hard to prepare a home for abandoned infants, which is a big problem there. I loved every minute of it and started dreaming about another place to go.
You see, I like to build stuff. I’ve been doing it for years and have built almost all of the wood furniture in our house. I’ve finished rooms, our basement, and done some pretty big construction tasks over the years. I even got to build this table that now sits at the missionary house in Heart for Africa. I like to think it will be useful for a good purpose long after I am.
I’m not the guy who is going to go door-to-door or perform street theater – but I’ll pour concrete, remove debris, or swing a hammer. It is wonderful when God marries a talent with a need and grants the ability to go somewhere to serve. When Sudan and South Sudan were splitting apart, I got burdened for the people of South Sudan and wanted to go. That got me started trolling for an opportunity and I found a cool mission group who work with an orphanage there.
I contacted a very nice lady name Rose. Several emails and a few calls later, I learned of a trip with building men like me that was perfect and I began praying about it. I emailed one last question to Rose from my iPad – “Is South Sudan a yellow fever area? Swaziland isn’t and I don’t have that sh-t.”
Whatever I typed, the glorious auto-correct feature from Apple naturally assumed I needed to discuss feces and not an inoculation. I didn’t notice until I got her response and read what I had sent. My mind went into overdrive:
Did I really send that??? To a missionary?? Why yes, yes I did!
Is there a commandment about that? Something about a special place in hell for people who cuss at missionaries?
I thought I should probably let it go, but didn’t want to be ostracized from the trip. So I sent an apology saying, “Obviously, I meant shot.”
I loved her response, “HaHa. I know, I got a snarky giggle out of it.”
Unfortunately, the trip was cancelled due to instability in the country. I’d still love to go there and other places to lend a hand. In the meantime, I’ll watch my words more closely and try to handle surprises that come my way with Rose’s grace and understanding.
Has God married a talent of yours with a need? I’d love to hear about it.
19 thoughts on “Thou Shalt Not Curse at Missionaries”
What gifts you have to share with others. A trip you will never forget. I commend you.
Thank you. I really like to travel and be a part of other cultures, so it all works together when I get the chance to go.
This is something I would love to do. My husband would be afraid I would bring all the little children back with me. :). Such a gift you give to them. In return, they fill your heart with gifts forevermore.
I am a little afraid to take my wife for the same reason.
Hahahha! We are weak souls.
Have you considered two possibilities?
1) The guy who wrote the auto-correct algorithm had experienced yellow fever and was projecting his angst into the code.
2) God felt you required yet another lesson in humility.
On the later point, I keep telling God that I don’t really don’t need those constant lessons – but okay, I’ll admit it – he is smarter than me.
As for the South Sudan, we are getting an amazing number of immigrants from there coming to Southern Minnesota. They are finding jobs in the meat packing industry.
I’m going to choose door number 2. He’s constantly pounding me about humility – as great as I am, I just can’t understand why (sarcasm intended)
Good to hear there are jobs for the refugees. There is still a massive humanitarian problem there though. So many of those issues in the world…
I envy your craftsmanship. That’s awesome and how you use it for the Lord.
Thanks Mike. It is something I picked up early from my father and have learned along the way. I wish it paid the bills, but it doesn’t. I love when I get a a chance to give it back.
Hahahahaha. As a missionary, I have to say that I enjoyed your mind-set about how missionaries may feel. We are just people though you know. Hehehehehehehehe.
I believe that God has given all of us gifts and talents to be used by him. I have traveled the world and shared the Gospel using the performing arts in places such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Argentina, Brazil, USA and Canada. But, I have also painted a women’s prison wall in Afghanistan, talked with people on the streets in Germany during the World Cup, established relationships with students in China that wanted to practice their English. God can use anything that we have. Heck, he even used a donkey in the old testament to fulfill His purpose. Now-a-day I have two little ones that I’m with all morning. Blog in the afternoons, where at the moment I am sharing my own songs (first one is here: http://stacilys.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/coram-deo-1st-in-the-song-series/), do translation for our film company/ministry, Ponte Films and who knows what God still has in the future. So longing we take what we have and offer our best (not perfect) to the Lord, that’s a powerful tool in His hands.
Great post Mike.
That is an amazing testimony. I’d like to experience half of that! Thanks for sharing, I will check oh the link this evening.
That is a beautiful song. You are an immensely talented artist!
Ohhh, you are to kind Mark. Thank you so much. I actually have a CD and I plan on posting one song from it each week and sharing the story behind each song.
Thanks for your kind words Mark.
I can’t wait to hear them.
If you want to come to Ghana we can find some construction for you, or you can just schlep around The Jesus Film equipment:)
I would love to come! I’ve got a line on a playground in South Africa with some friends in the fall. Just waiting to see if it works out. I’ve never been to west Africa though. It would be wonderful.
Lovely writing style Mark! Love this post! 🙂
Thank you very much.