Guest Blog by Kim Welch
Global Village Volunteer
“Everyone has something to give. Everyone has something to gain.” — Jonathan Reckford, CEO Habitat for Humanity International, Vietnam 2018
Friday arrived and there was renewed energy inside us all. Could it really be our last build day together? There was so much more we wanted to do. More we wanted to give. The aches and pains our bodies felt earlier seemed gone. We came here to give of our time, our service, our love, and our hope for a brighter future. Lam, Mai and their beautiful family gave of their time, too. They prepared a space for us in their lives, on their land and in their hearts to make us feel welcomed and wanted. We were a part of something special.
We spent our final morning mixing mortar, laying brick and straightening rebar for the days ahead. We decorated our work space with balloons and banners. A circular table covered with a rich red cloth was surrounded by chairs awaiting our presence. Dedication day was here. A day of thanks and praise for all on site and above.
Lam and his family are getting a new home and we were part of making this happen. Strangers on Monday now family on Friday. Excitement abounds. The red ribbon is cut and all enter into a new beginning.
We came to give but oh, how we have gained. We have learned how to construct a home in Vietnam. We have learned how to communicate through visuals. We know how it feels to work with the humidity level matches the temperature. We have gained appreciation for the life, language, food, values, faith and culture of another part of this connected community we call the world.
Closing ceremonies followed the home dedication. All together we gathered. Over 200 volunteers who all wanted to give more. In the afternoon, many of us visited a local school. They knew we were coming and welcomed us into their classrooms. We were met with generous hospitality and curiosity. At first, the children were reserved and shy. That melted as we shared time together. Laughter and giggles, songs and Snapchat photos abound. What a glorious day. Praise and thanks to God for the opportunity to serve and be present.