Build a Toilet and They Will Come
I am reminded during this holiday season just how important the basics really are in everything we do, whether it be the basics of Internet marketing or most importantly life in general. You really cannot build any meaningful success without sound basics and fundamentals. There seems to be so much stress, so many challenges, and so many seemingly complicated things to work through. We really need some super glue, or maybe even a digital blueprint, that keeps everything all together.
I have a friend in Kenya. I withhold his name only in order to protect him. He stays with Nancy and me when he comes to Orlando once a year for meetings with his mission organization. He is a Christian missionary, following the teachings of the Jewish man for whom this season is about, trying to provide for people in his area who are mostly Muslims, where there are no real basic necessities of life by American standards of living. Now think about that - Christian-Jewish-Muslim all intertwined. It sounds not only complicated, but also rather dangerous. And it can be.
While he is Kenyan, there was little trust from the local Kenyans in his motives when he was trying to reach out to help tribal Muslims who had little. They were guarded about receiving anything from him. So in the middle of a plot of almost barren land – he built an outdoor toilet. There were no toilets for the people in the area so this really made an impact. Slowly they came to find out what it was and discovered that he was just trying to help them. They slowly realized that what he was providing was of value. They continued to come and trust and their relationships grew. He expected nothing in return. He was just genuinely loving and serving the people around him.
That was a few years ago. He has expanded now by building a school around the toilet in order to offer education services for young children where there was little to no education offered before. (Of course that was always his goal, he just thought the toilet would help increase interest first.) He is also teaching his neighbors how to farm and provide better nutrition for them and their families. Throughout this life of giving, he and his wife have been threatened, have had to raise funds to provide basic services to others and struggle to provide for their own family. But he continues on without reservations. Now that’s real courage and true service to others.
We really need more people like him and his wife. We need to better appreciate and provide the basics of life through our own personal service to others. There are many people in our own communities who need some type of “toilet” that you can uniquely provide. Let’s all open our eyes a little wider this coming year, see more of what is needed around us, and reach out to serve someone else in real need in our own local community.
After all, that is what this season is all about for so many of us. It’s about a man who lived long ago but continues to change the world even today. He came to provide incredible life through the basics – love and service to others before himself. One of the greatest gifts of all is selfless giving. It is the super glue, the blueprint of life. It is the character of the Christ in Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!