A few months ago, I was honored to briefly serve alongside the Whitefoots in the heart of Africa! Scott and Suzan jumped in with both feet, and both hands, as they helped build a home for, Stephanie, the matriarch of one of the most needy families in our community.
Many of the Rwandan families we know struggle each day just to make it. While many of us have a comfortable home to retreat to after a long hard day, some of these families find themselves striving hard even within the four walls of their “home.”
When Scott and Suzan arrived in Rwanda, they met a family who didn’t have a home they could feel safe in. In fact, with just a gentle push, Scott and Suzan were able to push over the existing walls so that the house could be rebuilt. As the dust rose from the ground while the mud wall crashed down and disintegrated, it was clear that this home would not have lasted much longer.
By the end of their visit, the new home was nearly complete. Today, Stephanie’s family enjoys a private area for washing and toilet needs, a solid concrete floor and a thick coat of plaster on the exterior of new walls. As Shelene Bryan, author and motivational speaker says, “It was like an extreme village makeover!”
Of course, Stephanie was overjoyed! Who wouldn’t be?
But it is also interesting that Suzan and Scott were overjoyed. In fact, when I asked them about their experience, I heard a familiar refrain: “We felt like we were more blessed than they were.”
Suzan continued, “It was definitely an adventure! It was very enjoyable, very fulfilling and rewarding. I feel like we are leaving Rwanda a lot with more than we came with…the joy of being with the people and being able to give back.”
This is the beautiful way God works in our lives when we are willing to serve others! During Jesus’ final days on earth, he told his disciples, “My Father will honor the one who serves me” (John 12:26).
When we sacrificially serve others, we are serving God, and He honors our service with joy, fulfillment and purpose.
Have you ever served someone and been surprised to discover that you left with more joy than you came with?