Ian is the Global Builders Coordinator for The Fuller Center for Housing.
As one of the organizers of the Global Home Challenge I must admit it feels strange to be writing about things “from the inside”. I could tell you a lot about the fundraising platform we use, or the impressive Excel Spreadsheet magic done by some of our team, but stepping back and teasing out the larger perspective is a different thing altogether. I’ve become deeply familiar with the ins and outs of the event to that point that its sometimes difficult to see the forest for the trees.
I suppose that happens with just about anything in life: you can get caught up in the details so much that the purpose of what you’re doing comes out of focus. But with this fundraiser, as with everything, the “why” is the essential part; and losing perspective on that makes the rest of it nearly meaningless.
I was reminded of the “why” recently when I was reviewing the profile for one of our Haitian partner families and read this excerpt: “They live in a very basic shelter with packed dirt for the wall and floor, which turn muddy any time there is rain. [The homeowner] was in tears when she was explaining the misery of her family when it is raining, during which they put plastic in the bed.”
That’s sobering. I don’t live in a palace, but for much of the world my air conditioning, insulation, and solid roof indicate a level of wealth that many never have a hope of reaching. And sadly the account of this family is not unusual. The problem of poverty housing is widespread: from Haiti to Nicaragua to Thailand to Sierra Leone, over and over again we see stories of families living in horrible conditions. The impacts of this are long lasting and can result in higher rates of disease, poor performance in school, and psychological stress and shame.
But just as negative impacts of poor housing are terrible, the positive impacts of quality housing are tremendous. After transitioning to a home with real walls, floors, and a roof, without mud and rain and bugs, lives are drastically changed for the better. Children do better in school, rates of entrepreneurship rise, disease rates go down, and families have a new sense of pride and self-possession. It really is a life changing difference with a generational impact.
I bring this up not to toot the Fuller Center’s horn, but to remind us (and myself) why we’re doing all this walking and fundraising and social media posting. Prizes are great, but it’s not for prizes. A sense of personal accomplishment is wonderful, but also not the goal. The drive behind what we’re doing is to partner with and lift up those in need; to reaffirm and elevate their worth as people who are cherished by God.
So let that be our motivation as we walk and bike through the next 9 weeks of this Global Home Challenge! Let’s think of the families when we’re walking through our neighborhood, or sending out fundraising emails, or putting in volunteer hours. You can read these families’ stories at this link, and I encourage us all to keep them in mind as we go about our days. The goal of our work is to create stories like these, bringing the Kingdom of God into these dark places; and the goal is worth it.
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