I recently went on a mission trip to the Amazon Rain forest. We flew into Manaus, Brazil to stay the night then headed up the Rio Negro river the next day. Our boat ride was about 5 peaceful hours skimming along the water of that amazing place. We were there to build church number 95 of 100. The first day of work would be the next day. Everyone was so excited to get to shore, meet the people and kids of the village and get to work! All 22 of us went to shore that morning. The weather there is a little different from anything I’ve ever experienced; and I have been ALL over the Middle East and a few places in Central America. We were close to the sun since we were close to the equator, on a river in their springtime. The bugs weren’t bad at all but that dadgum heat was miserable. Felt like a fat, sweaty man was on me constantly.
That first day would be the true test for those who hadn’t ventured out much in the world. We had a few heat casualties that day as well as one injury. The next day I had gotten pretty sick, I think from jumping into the river, so I had to stay back on the boat to rest up. The third day, Wednesday, I was back to work but our numbers on shore had been cut in half. On the fourth day, only 4 or 5 of us were actually working on the church. After we had gotten done all we could accomplish for our trip, we began to clean up. One of the guys who worked side-by-side with me had a very dry sense of humor. I got it, most others didn’t. That dude totally cracked me up! Anyhow, as part of the clean up we had to carry these picnic tables about 200 yards across the village. On our way he made a comment to me. “Man, I’m kinda pissed off”. I was blown away that he said the “P” word! I asked why and he went on to tell me that he had wished more people would’ve come to help build so he could go on the trips to hand out water filters to nearby villagers. He and I had gone the day prior to do this. It was such a great feeling and filled me with joy to present the water filters to those people who had been forced to drink from the river. He had made mention that it seemed it was only us doing the welding, brick work, etc. I agreed, silently, and told him, “Yeah, I get it”. I thought about it for a minute and told him. “Dude, everyone is born with purpose and everyone has gifts. No one on earth is meant to just exist. Maybe those other people have the gift of encouragement, music, organization or whatever. God gifted us with the skills of trade labor. We have gifted hands and we’re “get stuff done” kind of guys. I know it stinks and I feel the same way. I’m just glad we were able to do our part on the church”. I wasn’t trying to toot my own horn. I felt the same as him and what I said was all I could tell myself to make me feel better since I was a little bent myself.
Everyone has a gift or a talent. A God given gift. If you don’t know what that gift is, here are some criteria to make you think.
- What do you really enjoy doing?
- Would you do what you really enjoy doing for free?
- What is it that people tell you you’re good at doing?
Chew on that for a bit. I’ll bet with some triangulation, pinpointing, you’ll be able to find that common denominator. What one thing do all those questions point to? That, my friend, is more than likely your gift. What now? I implore you to lean into that gift. Use that gift for good and bless the world with your new realized talent. Lastly, thank God for blessing you with that gift.
Thank you for reading!! I hope this helps someone. Please, Like, Share and Subscribe!!!
If you’d like to see the videos from this trip, here they are. Enjoy!!