Today was day four of the trip and our final day of building homes. It’s amazing to realize how quickly the time has gone by, and how much we accomplished. I have been amazed by the energy, compassion, and hard work our teams poured into these past three days.
Both teams spent the days putting the finishing touches on the homes. We tacked on the roof and covered the walls in two coats of stucco to make for a sturdy, square home.
My team was building a house for a young couple and their two-year old daughter. Throughout the day today, we worked alongside them. It was such an honor to build this house not just for them, but with them. (It turns out that they knew far more about how to apply stucco than we did, and we were grateful for their expertise!)
Earlier in the week, I had the opportunity to talk with the mother of the young man who we were building the house for. She explained to me that Amor Ministries built her home in 2004. She spoke so fondly of the group that built her house, saying that the same group returned the following year and she was able to see them again.
Listening to this mother describe her experience with Amor and the lasting impact her home has had on her life helped me to catch a glimpse of the larger impact of our work here. What an honor to build a home for this woman’s son and to continue the legacy of other groups before us.
The theme for this year is “Building.” Certainly, this applies directly to building the homes, but we have been building more than just walls, windows, and roofs. We’ve built relationships. We built upon what others began, and there will be others after us who will continue building. What a gift to be part of a larger plan in this way.
So often, we don’t get to see the immediate results of our actions. We don’t know the impact that our actions will have on others. I often wonder if my small actions really matter. Does building one house really help alleviate poverty? Does what I do matter here? Is this good enough?
As Christians, I believe we are not called to do everything, but to faithfully do something, trusting in God and a greater community that will continue our work. My conversation with this woman was such a powerful reminder that our actions have multiplied effects. When we work together and have faith in the God’s ability to work through us, we can make a lasting difference.
This trip has also been significant for me, because it has been my chance to give back to an incredible ministry that has been building at WCC under Gabe and Hilary’s leadership for 14 years. I had the chance to serve as an adult leader on this trip (along with my husband), with other adults who lead trips to Biloxi when I was in high school. Completing the circle in this way has been a special way for me to give back and to continue building upon the strong foundation that has been laid by so many before me. The Flynns have laid a strong foundation of ministry here, beyond what any of could have expected or imagined. Though Gabe (and Hilary) will be dearly missed, I trust that the Spirit will continue to use others to build upon that strong foundation that has been laid, and that their actions will continue to multiply for years to come.
Sometimes, we don’t see the impact of our work immediately.
Sometimes, we do.
Today, we left a young family with a new home. Tomorrow, they will take the fruits of our labors, and begin to build the next chapter of their life as they make their home their own. May the grace of God go with them and with us as we prepare to return home.
Anna Jeide-Detweiler, adult leader