Green Lights

Episode 34: Welcome to the She Builds Show, I’m your host, Stefanie Olson. Today I want to share with you what I experienced last week, and hopefully this just speaks to you. So, I was out of town last week in Mexico, we went on a mission trip with our church and brought our entire family. The mission was with YWAM, and we went to build a house for a family, who was in desperate need of a home. The first year I went to Mexico for my spring break, I think I was in sixth or seventh grade, and I continued because it impacted me so significantly. I continued every year through high school, going on my spring break and building homes, it was the most impactful thing in my life serving others and gaining perspective. Maybe that’s just where my love of building came from.

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•  Now, if you have never experienced Mexico or a third world country, it’s a different world. There’s dirt roads, there’s trash everywhere, there is no electricity, no running, flushing toilets. There’s no heat, there’s no air conditioning, and there are dogs. Pregnant dogs everywhere. I wanted my kids to gain gratitude and perspective, it’s one thing for me to tell my children, be grateful for the clothes and shoes and the food you have, and it’s another thing for me to show them… To show them somebody who doesn’t have any of those things and is still happy and full of life. So our team showed up a little tired Monday morning, but ready to work, we were building a house for a young girl, about 18 and her husband, who was about 20. I think, they already have a two-year-old son, and she’s pregnant. Their current house consisted of a dirt floor, cardboard boxes that were wrapped with plastic and held together by bicycle tires. (02:41)

•  Come and work with me and then go play. I watch them communicate with other children that don’t speak the same language, but they could meet each other at fun. Do you know what I mean? They play tag, they jump rope. And they just laughed. I watched my son take the $2 that someone on our team gave him to buy toys at the market and give it to a man who needed surgery on his feet. He just donated his money… I’ve never seen him do that. I watched my daughter serve food to people in a village who just needed a good meal, and she did it with a smile. Now, my biggest takeaway in lesson learned, is the reminder that when we serve and we give of ourselves, we actually get so much more in return when our focus is on putting more good into the world, than just giving with our time, our talents. We actually feel revived, our perspectives and priorities change, we get back to our purpose, our reason. (04:44)

•  Man, I missed going to Mexico more than I realized, because deep down, I have a servant’s heart, I think we all do. But it just gets callused and bruised over through life and the experiences that we encounter. Now, I used to express that heart, and I would lead with it, before kids and life and work and paying bills got in the way. I used to volunteer in a children’s ministry at my church. I went on a trip to Uganda to serve an orphanage. I organized an entire bike ride across the United States to raise money for that orphanage. What happened? Where did it go? Where did my heart for service go? I think it disappeared into my phone and my emails, my business and employees, children and dinner, and horses and dogs in a clean house and new shoes and marriage and dishes, and just life.  (06:18)

•  So, my encouragement to you is to start small, say something kind to a random person today, or do something big and sign up for that mission trip or volunteer where you feel called. Fill your mind with gratitude and sweetheart put down that phone, and get on the ground and play with your kids. I know that we cannot take anything with us in this life, and if there’s one thing I want to be remembered for, is that I put good into the world, and if at the very least, I taught my children to put good into the world. (07:38)


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