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The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | December 2001 / January 2002
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Heeding An Extraordinary Call
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, when so much in our world changed, I can think of one thing that hasn’t: poverty housing.The plight of the poor was the same on that fateful Tuesday as it was on Monday.

What will it take to eradicate poverty housing, to eliminate need, to foster healing in this world? It will take ordinary people answering an extraordinary calling.

“It’s not just governments that have a responsibility to solve crises,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter during Habitat’s 25th anniversary event in September. “It’s really a conglomerate of individuals—and this is particularly true in a democracy—to demonstrate our faith: our faith in ourselves, our faith in each other and our faith in God.That’s what Habitat means to me.”

Indeed, it is only the actions of individuals that can help heal the wounds of a broken world. People like Jimmy Carter. People like you.

People like Jules Horwitz, an 11-time veteran of the Jimmy Carter Work Project. I met Jules in Korea in August, where he told me why—though he is of Jewish heritage—he works with this Christian organization. "Through Habitat, I learned that too much of my thinking about Christianity was hypocritical," he said. "A true Christian does something — doesn't just talk, but puts faith into action.That’s what we do here.”

People like Armin Hecht, a German-Canadian who has been a longtime Habitat volunteer. I met Armin four years ago in Hungary, where he was a Habitat construction supervisor. In October, I visited Armin in Canada where he is battling liver cancer. As the immediacies of daily life grow less important to him, he speaks of Habitat as the opening that brought meaning into his life. Indeed, we counted the number of Habitat houses he helped build in Canada and Hungary: 44.And, he co-founded the Habitat affiliate in Lethbridge,Alberta, where 16 of those houses now stand.

These are people who answered the extraordinary call on their lives. Within Habitat, their differences— whether of ethnicity, religion, race, gender or creed—were no longer of import.What mattered was uniting in a cause to better their world.

Now more than ever, it is time to heed the call: one volunteer, one family, one house at a time.

Thanks for reading…and for building.

Note: Sadly, on Oct. 26, Armin Hecht lost his battle against cancer.
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