Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Using my gifts

Several years ago, I had the awesome opportunity to go on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic. The purpose of the trip was to rebuild churches which had been lost to a hurricane.

At the time, weighing over 100 pounds more than I do today - and living with Multiple team thought it best to put me on the "paint crew". So, instead of pouring cement and framing walls, I was put to work painting roof trusses (before they were hoisted skyward!).

The paint crew consisted of six members -- all there for a reason. Either we were overweight, old, frail or uncoordinated. Either way ---we were deemed unable to swing a hammer. Initially, I was a little bit disappointed. After all, I went there to WORK --I wanted to BUILD churches. I failed to see how slopping a coat of weatherproofing paint on a roof truss was doing much for the Kingdom.

We were stationed in a yard outside a small Christian school which was run by one of the Assemblia de Dios churches (translation: Assembly of God) Every day, I had the pleasure of watching all the little children come to school. Dressed in their navy blue polyester that consistently over 100 degree heat...they ran joyfully each morning to the school yard --eager to learn.

Over time, we got to know the children and when we ran out of trusses to paint, the school director asked us if we would mind painting the walls of the school rooms. They desperately needed painting. Of course, we agreed. And we spent the remaining days painting walls. After discovering that I was an artist, one of the teachers asked if I could paint "Damas" and "Caballeros" on the bathroom doors. (Translation: "Girls" and "Boys"). Of course --I'd be happy to do so. The only problem was that I had only one brush to work with ---three inches wide with bristles all sticking out every which way. Not exactly the tool of an artist who tends to be a perfectionist. But --I was determined to paint the names on the doors. I looked at the doors --spaced out the letters in my head and began to paint. The teachers "oohed" and "awed" at my ability to paint such straight, uniform letters - centered and not a splotch of paint out of place. I shrugged my shoulders and said that I had God's help.

Then I thought back to a time when I was sixteen. For Christmas one year, I wrapped up a gift for the Lord. Inside was a piece of paper on which I had written "My Art Ability". For Christmas, I gave back to Him what He had given me --my ability to be creative and draw and paint. I promised to always use my art to glorify Him. Now, all these years later --who would have thought that glorifying God with my art would mean painting "Boys" and "Girls" on the bathroom doors of a tiny Christian school in the heart of The Dominican Republic.

Of all the tasks completed on that trip --that is my most memorable. And really, the reason that I believe I was sent there -- so the Lord could remind me of my calling --to use my artistic ability for His glory. There is no task too small or too humble when you're doing it for the Lord.

God spoke to Moses: "See what I've done; I've personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I've filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—he's an all-around craftsman. --Exodus 31:1

This post is inspired by the team of young people who are currently in Thailand on a missions trip. May the Lord go before you and open hearts to receive you. May He keep you safe and may He comfort the family members who remain at home....just a little anxious that their children are so far away. I pray a hedge of protection around the team and a "housecoat" of peace around the Moms and the Misters who remain at home. In Jesus' precious name! Amen!


Birmingham Girl said...

Thank you my dear friend for this beautiful prayer and dedication. The team has safely landed and are going on about the Fathers work! Your talents far exceed your ability to use a paint brush, you also paint with your words and your heart and it's such a priviledge to know you...someday maybe we'll meet in person!

Margie said...

you are beautiful! What a great testimony of how God uses us.