As our Lent reflections continue, Laura Ferent reflects on her humbling trip to Ethiopia and how we learn from the people we encounter on our journey with Habitat — lessons of love, faith and hope, which bring us closer to the spirit of this holy season
Whenever I have an opportunity to be around Habitat for Humanity families, I am reminded of three things that are the foundation on which our lives are built: faith, hope and love.
In my recent visit to Ethiopia, I had the privilege of visiting an incredible project aimed at integrating leprosy-affected people and their families into communities. The story of love shared among homeowners was a vivid expression of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Stigmatized by society, leprosy-affected people become outcasts and are forced to beg for a living. The husband (and only breadwinner) of the family I visited fell sick and could not go out and beg for a few days; therefore his family (a wife and 4-year-old daughter) had no food to put on the table. Seeing their challenge, the neighbors brought them food and gave them a little money to get through this difficult time. The Habitat homeowner could not believe the love and care extended to his family. They were not only accepted, but embraced by the rest of the community.
I am humbled by the lessons we learn from the people we encounter on our journey with Habitat — lessons of love, faith and hope, which bring us closer to the spirit of this holy season. Easter is the main Christian holiday in the Orthodox Church in both Ethiopia and Romania, where I come from. During Easter, we are reminded that the Crucifixion was not the end of the story. The Resurrection is the completion of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to save us from our sins.
It was God’s great love for us that led Jesus to the cross. Even as Jesus prepared for that agonizing moment, He also sought to prepare the disciples for what was ahead. His commandment in John 13:34 to love one another is also a crucial message for us. Love for one another is the reason homeowners share with each other, and it is the focus of volunteers, donors and staff members who are committed to the vision of eliminating poverty housing. As we are now two days before Good Friday, let us be reminded of God’s love and the way we can share it with others around us.
God, let us be reminded of Your love and Your call to love one another as You love us. Let us share our love with the ones around us, for it will strengthen our relationships and our trust in a better world, a world that can tackle the enormous need for decent shelter. Let us be inspired by Your love, and allow us to continue Your work so that we bring hope and faith to our world.
Click here to download all the reflections and prayers from the Habitat world during the 40 days of Lent