Yesterday, I had the privilege to spend some time with Yousry Makar, national director for Habitat for Humanity in Egypt.  Yousry is on a short tour of the United States to visit with the Egyptian diaspora in the U.S. and with U.S. affiliates of Habitat to raise support for the great work they are doing.

Yousry mentioned that in Egypt, a country of 83 million, there are at least 20 million people living in abject poverty and extremely substandard housing.  Since the revolution last year, the need for services has increased along with a declining economic condition.  Habitat Egypt has served 19,000 families to date, but Yousry is passionate about reaching at least 10% of the 20 million in dire need.

With the upcoming dedication of our first interfaith effort, the Abraham Build, coming up this Sunday, I was touched by a story that Yousry told from his work in Egypt.  Habitat was able to work in a rural area with the local Muslim imam to help improve the home that he and his family were living in.  During the repairs to the imam’s home, his family was hosted for a time by a Christian family.  Following that, the imam had the chance to return the favor.  When a local Christian family’s home was being repaired, the imam hosted this Christian family in their home.  The imam remarked that, prior to Habitat, he is not sure that he would have been willing to have a Christian family live with them.

I’m excited as we celebrate the culmination of our first Abraham Build, that because of the desire for unity expressed by local people of different faiths, that Sandra and her family will have a safe, decent, affordable place to live for years to come.