“For Everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.” Ecclesiates 3:1. As I enjoyed my time in El Salvador with the Habitat for Humanity Team from St. Mark’s last November, I thought often about this Bible passage, one of my favorites. Our team was there for one week to help two families build affordable and clean houses. This was a time for helping others, but it was also a time that we, as individuals and as a team, received much in return. We experienced the joy, the cheerfulness, the friendships, and the industriousness of the wonderful Salvadoran people with whom we were privileged to work side by side each day in order to help them build a beautiful home.
I have traveled to many countries in my lifetime and each time I am in awe when I meet the people in each host nation. Meeting people of different countries and cultures promotes increased understanding of one another. This in turn increases tolerance of our differences and increases our appreciation for the things we have in common. When we learn to understand people from different cultures, we develop empathy for them. I believe this kind of tolerance, empathy, and mutual understanding is the avenue for promoting and for achieving world peace, which we so need in this world that God has created.
These are some of the reasons that I wish to continue working for Habitat for Humanity and to “live generously” while increasing empathy and understanding of others, as I apply for the coming Habitat for Humanity trip to Nicaragua during the first week in November, 2015.
Elizabeth Skarshaug (Habitat for Humanity Nicaragua – Oct 31-Nov 8, 2015)