Nigel Mackey teaches at Wesley College and has led many students on global volunteering experiences to support our partner programmes in Romania & Zambia. Read his Advent reflection now:
One of the joys of working with Habitat for Humanity is that you get to dwell with the families you are assisting in accessing their dream of a safe, decent and affordable home. In this season of Advent we are encouraged to think about where our dwelling place should be, whom we should be paying attention to, where we should be exercising compassion and in what direction our kindness should be expended.
I have lived for brief periods of time with people I did not previously know, whose stories I was not familiar with and whose circumstances I had not been touched by. Yet, finding myself and the teams I have led dwelling in their communities, we have been amazed at how often our stories overlap. We have been moved by how similar our desire for peace and joy in our lives is driven by a call to serve and a call to reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves.
The astonishing assertion that the “Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” John 1:14, reminds me that God is interested in our story and our neighbours’ story. He dwelt fully among us and experienced our story in all its joy and sorrow. Advent reminds us, God still draws near and offers hope in the midst of darkness and provides for us in the most remarkable ways. It is a privilege to see families transformed by the security of receiving a new home and the young people I work with gradually have the dawning realisation of the enormity of what they are doing for good.
The impact of dwelling outside of their immediate sphere of influence for the team allows them the chance to participate in the building of a community that they are no longer remote from. In choosing to dwell in this way, they in some small way help to repeat the “Sounding Joy.”