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.