Barn Raising and Habitat

The more deeply I delve into Amish society, the more I find connections between “their” world and “ours.”  One landed on my front lawn last week.

I’ve never witnessed an Amish barn raising, but certainly it’s one of the most fascinating aspects of Amish life. The idea that all of your neighbors show up and literally RAISE your barn in one weekend–expecting nothing in return, well that is the very vision of being Christ’s hands to one another.

On the other end of the spectrum–on the ENGLISCH end–we have this toilet that arrived on my lawn last week. (Thanks, Katie!) When I first saw it down the street, I thought, “The neighborhood’s gone to pot.” Then I put my car in park, walked up closer and read the sign. Okay – THAT made more sense, though I still didn’t under the connection between toilets and Habitat for Humanity.

When I received the toilet (ha ha ha), there was a pouch attached to the back. It had papers in it, which read “You have been flushed out as an invaluable member of the community.” Turns out the UGLY EYESORE TOILET draws attention to Habitat’s goal to eliminate poverty housing. The person who is flushed sends in a donation, then passes the toilet on to someone else.

What I adore about Habitat though is not writing a check, it’s picking up a hammer and knocking in a few hurricane joists.  I’d never done that before, and it was a hoot. And here is where I find my connection to the Amish. Neighbors helping neighbors. It’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

Have you ever participated in Habitat or a similar program? If you have, I’d love to hear about it.


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