A question that I often get asked when I meet people for the first time on an Impact Trip is, “So, how many of these things have you built?”
I usually give a bit of a chuckle and say, “You know, not as many as you would expect.”
I really have no idea how many houses I’ve been a part of since I was born in December of 1986, but if I were to sit down and think through the ones I was a part of from beginning to finish, I’d probably have to say somewhere between 10 to 15… maybe 20 (other than managing the different house builds).
And I can honestly say, there is still nothing in life quite like four or five days in Mexico or South Africa; the quiet and stillness of camp, sitting in the fumes of the banos, eating and chatting around the campfire, taking an ice-cold bucket shower, laying the cement floor, and building, standing and stuccoing the walls. Then, as night falls, stepping into the tent to lie down on my air mattress, knowing that I’ve earned my night’s rest. And even better, the moment of handing the keys to the family that will inhabit, from that day forward, a home with a foundation and a roof - maybe having both for the very first time.
Really, I cannot say there is anything much better in life.
On many occasions, I’ve wondered why the week is amazing, and it’s a wonderful combination of so many different things, but for me, there’s arguably nothing more satisfying than seeing this structure, built with my hands and my sweat and my blood (and sometimes my tears), and then seeing a family’s life impacted forever.
When I walk away on that last day, I know that I’ve built something good, something worthwhile. I’ve built something that will last a long time.
I’ve built a house for a family.
I’ve built something that will protect from bad weather.
I’ve built a safe place for children.
It’s simple really.
And while I know it’s not about me…it is. Because I want to be proud of myself and what I’ve done.
We all do.
Even more, I want God to be proud of me.
And in that week, like no other week...I know that both are true.
I know that both are true because, like I said...it really isn’t about me.
It’s about the family I got to work alongside and the team that worked together.
It’s about the relationships we built in the midst of working really hard.
And it’s about the home that we built.
It’s about the relationships and it’s about this house… that we built together.
What are you building?