World Habitat Day will be celebrated on Monday, October 4.  This annual event is an effort to call attention to the substantial housing needs that exist around the world and to highlight the great efforts that are underway that make a difference in correcting the pervasive problem of inadequate housing across the planet.  This event is organized globally by UN Habitat, a programmatic arm of the United Nations and supported by many organizations worldwide, including Habitat for Humanity.

Around the globe, one billion people live in slums, without access to water, sanitation, and safe electricity.  Twice that many people are living in housing that doesn’t have access to safe water.

Habitat for Humanity is a global housing ministry.  A friend of mine, Frank Reed, from Habitat Charlotte and now with Habitat for Humanity International always says that “our mission does not stop at our county line.”  Frank backs this up with frequent trips to work with Habitat in El Salvador and with his always generous response to other Habitat affiliates in the U.S. seeking assistance.

Since Habitat’s inception in 1976, all United States affiliates of Habitat International have been asked to tithe (cheerfully give at least 10%) of their undesignated donations to support Habitat work in the developing world.  Over the years, Habitat Wake has supported various global projects by sending over $600,000 as part of our tithe program.  “Tithing” is a spiritual discipline that keeps us mindful that all the resources entrusted to us are God’s resources entrusted to our faithful stewardship.

We just learned that nearly 500 individuals from Wake County have travelled to Habitat projects outside the United States in the past five years through the Global Village short-term missions program.  Many of our neighbors have taken time out of their lives and funds out of their personal budgets to go and build directly with their brothers and sisters in the developing world.  The personal connection is very crucial.

I’ve had the opportunity to build in Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Haiti, and even California J over the years and have always left those trips humbled by the grace I see in those living in unimaginable (by U.S. standards) conditions and the generosity, openness, and gratitude they display.  I remember hosting a Habitat family from Nepal at a global event in Indianapolis that I organized for Habitat International in 2001.  They were making their first trip outside of Nepal and, when on a tour of new Habitat homes in Indianapolis, they remarked that the Habitat houses in Indy were larger and more beautiful than any home in their home village.  Humbling, huh?

Our neighbors at Habitat in Durham have been deeply engaged with Habitat Honduras over the last several years.  At Habitat Wake, we are planning to join our friends and colleagues at Habitat Durham in supporting Habitat’s work with families in need in Honduras.  Keep an eye on our website as we further develop our partnership with Habitat Honduras and offer opportunities to be involved.  At an average cost of $6980.00 per house, we plan to serve at least 11 families annually in Honduras in addition to the great local work done by our volunteers and donors in Wake County.

On this World Habitat Day, October 4, let’s pray for the over 1 billion people in the world who live in substandard housing.  Pray that they endure their current living situation, even thrive despite of it, but pray mostly that people of faith around the world make the commitment to ending this terrible situation across the globe–once and for all.