Yesterday, five of us from Resurrection worked at a Habitat for Humanity house in St. Paul. In spite of the heat and humidity we hung sheet rock in the upstairs bedrooms. The challenge was learning how to put up ceiling sheet rock, especially above the stair case. Fortunately our crew had an excellent crew chief, Roger Henry, who showed us the right techniques and special tricks to get the job done.
I have known Roger for over a decade. He has been a long-time volunteer and champion of Habitat for Humanity. He brings his own tools to the work site and gladly teaches novices like myself how to use them. He knows that most Habitat volunteers are not skilled construction workers and that he could probably do the job more easily by himself. Yet teaching others is one of his passions and joys. I like working with Roger (but please don’t tell him that!).
I also have an abiding passion for Habitat for Humanity. I believe in its mission to build safe, affordable housing for people in need. They do NOT give away homes, but they invest in people. Any potential home owner needs to put over 500 hour of sweat equity into the organization, he or she needs to attend classes about home ownership responsibilities, and the family will have a mortgage when they move into the home. As Millard Fuller, the founder of Habitat, once said, “Habitat is not a handout, but a hand-up.” The modest house we worked on yesterday is only 1400 square feet and will probably house a family of five or more. Twin Cities Habitat has built more than 850 since its inception in 1985. Learn more at their website.
And whenever I have worked at a Habitat site, I have enjoyed a great lunch!
As I reflect on the day, I am extremely thankful for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and for individuals like Roger Henry. They are expressions of hope and joy and make me smile. In a world that often seems dark and foreboding, they shine with the light of Christ.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16
What people or organizations give you hope in today’s world?
Lord Jesus, may we together shine with your light of hope.
Little things give me hope, like our college-age son just home and offering to make dinner tonight, and our daughter off to Bible camp counselor training tomorrow. Every role model they’ve had gives great hope. Big organizations inspire enormous hope – like Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Starving Children, YouthWorks (organizers of two mission-related camps Resurrection youth will enjoy this summer), summer Bible camps everywhere, Sojourners, oh, there are so many. And this week, I think of all the teachers who have poured themselves into their students’ lives this past school year – hope abounds! Thanks for the reminder – I look forward to trying something like a Habitat project some day.