We've just returned from 10 days in Africa to lay the foundation for this ministry. As is typical for me, upon my return from a significant trip, I like to take note of what I’ve learned and see what new perspective I might have as a result of my journey – and also typical for me, there is a tie to real estate. Here goes…
We spent several days deep in the heart of Uganda with several ministry partners of Homes for Homes. As a part of our days, we hiked through the village of Nasuti, looking for opportunities to provide housing to very deserving families who would never have the opportunity to own a home without our assistance. That’s not hard to find in Africa. The material poverty and desolation in most of Africa ceases to amaze me. But it’s more than just seeing 12 family members sleep on a dirt floor in a one room shack made of whatever rubble is available to scrap together, that fascinates me. It is the hope that I see come into their eyes when they realize that they will be the owners of a new home – one that has a concrete floor, with bricks and a metal roof. Owning a home like that is a game changer for them for the rest of their lives.
On the other end of the spectrum, I wrapped up my trip with a couple of days in London to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary. Michelle and I stayed at the end of Oxmoor Road, not far from what is considered the “richest section of housing” in the world, boasting the largest number of billionaires on the planet (yeah, that’s billionaires with a “B”). Certainly the housing is different in every aspect that is imaginable for the folks that live there versus those that I encountered back in Nasuuti. In their scenario, it was more about how to one-up any and everyone else on the extravagancies their money afforded them. And not far from this area, new condos were going up on the Thames River. A 3 bedroom on the top floor would set you back about $24 million. That’s about $8,500 per square foot for those of you who like to compare that figure to determine your listing value.
It would have been easy for my observation to simply be on the vast difference between the “have’s” and the “have not’s”, or even look with disdain on the waste of the rich when the poor lack so much. Instead, what resonated with me is the importance of home ownership for anyone who is part of the human race. Like me, you fit somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. And no matter where we fit in the grand scheme of the hierarchy of net worth, owning a place of our own fulfills a God-given desire we all have in some form or fashion. The description of that “place” differs greatly for all of us. But the description does fit somewhere in the realm between safety and hope to fulfillment and accomplishment. It’s a great thing. And I can't wait to see how God uses Homes for Homes to bring home ownership to others.