By Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity International CEO
I love house dedications. At one point during the dedication service Thursday for this home in Jordan, I was standing between two Habitat for Humanity banners — one printed in Arabic and one in English. I was surrounded by high school students from the United States and excited family members from the community of El Taybeh, two hours north of Amman.
It was a striking reminder that we build so much more than houses. By putting God’s love into action, we have built bridges that reach across borders and cultural barriers. Mohammed Malkawi (pictured at right), a wonderful Habitat leader who manages the northern region of Jordan, described it as a “love bridge.” We have worked hard and laughed hard, marveled at this incredible setting and planted seeds of friendship and understanding.
I loved hearing the students describe what they had learned from the community, their gratitude to the masons who taught them gently but let them do the work, and their appreciation for the hospitality of the families. They even were sad to be leaving our small guest house in the village where the 16 of us slept on the floor and shared one bathroom for four days.
On most days, my calendar is filled with meetings discussing the larger work of Habitat and how we can impact more families and communities. On this day, I was privileged to share a transformational moment with Mahmoud Jarwan Alawneh and his wife Myaser Mohammed. I can see how having this home is going to make their lives better. I have observed how working on this home has changed the lives of the students who traveled to Jordan to help them, and I thank God for these moments that stir my soul and drive me to serve him more.