Enter Their Story


Last Saturday, a group of us from Awaken had the high honor of partnering with Habitat for Humanity to complete the landscaping at a house built for a needy and under-resourced family in Columbia. Loved being with some of our crew. Humbled by what I saw, learned, and experienced.

A quick word on Habitat…in order to even be on the list to have a house built for you, you have to go through a thorough application and interview process. If accepted, you then have to complete 500 hours of “sweat equity” on other people’s houses…not your own. Once you’ve completed 500 hours of work on other people’s houses, then you join the crew to help build the house that will be yours. Once your house is complete, you move in for just a few hundred dollars per month in a no interest, 30-year loan. They have a 98% success rate.

Pictured above is one of our men, David, laying sod with Ena (sp?) who was working with us as part of her 500 hours of sweat equity. One year ago, she lived in a mud hut in Nigeria. This time next year, she and her husband will live in a house that they are paying for and that they helped to build. Ena didn’t naturally know what to do or how to do it – but she toted sod, got her hands dirty, and did it all with a smile and wonderful spirit about her. 

The family that will live in the house was right there with us, too. Two young children and a single, handicapped mom. When the work was completed, they waited patiently yet excitedly on what would soon be their front porch, eager to have a “walk-through” to see what was about to be their new home. Their first house…a real house. And they helped to build it.

It’s so easy to get caught up in my story…my worries…my struggles…my burdens…my successes…my dreams. The more I get caught up in my story, the more stressed out I get. The more bitter I get. The more prideful I get. The more selfish I get.

And then I enter into someone else’s story…and suddenly, everything changes.

I don’t know what it’s like to live in a mud hut. I don’t know what’s it like to wonder where the next meal will come from. I don’t know what it’s like to have to work 500 hours building someone else’s houses and then another several hundred hours helping to build my own.

I walked away humbled. I walked away convicted. I walked away changed. I walked away satisfied.

God gives us the invitation everyday to enter into the stories of the people He has placed us among. It’s an invitation to join Him in what He is doing in their livesand to open ourselves for a work He wants to do in ours. This is what it means to join God in mission…to enter the story to see transformation happen in people, our city, and the world around us…and in us.


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