A recent blog post by Ben Higgins on The Mahogany Workplace.
I’ve always loved stories. When I was a kid, I used to read the wild stories from the Bible, like the time a fish ate a man and he lived to tell about it or the time when the entire world flooded and Noah not only survived but got to hang out with all the animals on a huge boat he built. I love those stories because they are so intense and vivid, but I also love them because I believe that I can live a great story if I let God lead.
Thanks to being on The Bachelor (something that’s still hard to believe sometimes), I have the opportunity to intertwine my life story with more people than I ever imagined. It’s a dream come true, but it’s kind of stressful at the same time. Sometimes my head spins with all the opportunities I receive (a great problem to have). When I get overwhelmed, I know how to make myself feel better: start serving others.
For the past week, I led a group of about 40 Americans and Hondurans on an adventure to invest as much love as we could into the lives of some of the most isolated, marginalized people in the world. And I got to do it with my Mom, who happens to be the No. 1-ranked mom in the world (according to me).
During our eight days in Honduras, I got to be a part of so many incredible stories. We painted houses, built fences, walked through rivers, and ate freshly grown pineapples on a Honduran mountainside. In the midst of all the meaningful work, we focused on the fact that our biggest impact came from the love we shared through relationships, not the accomplishments we achieved through projects.
Since we focused on building relationships, we got to listen to others — a lot. We heard stories of heartbreak: One woman’s husband drowned while walking to work because the river he crossed didn’t have a bridge and a storm hit quickly. We heard stories of violence: A man’s brother was killed by his brother-in-law in a senseless, drunken fight. We heard stories of triumph: One woman encouraged her daughter to stay in school through college and that girl returned as a kindergarten teacher for the village. I heard stories of love: Several parents told me how they would skip meals to make sure their kids didn’t go hungry.
A recurring theme during our visit: before and afters. We heard stories about life before and after having clean water, getting a job, receiving an education, building a home, and so many other things we take for granted. Most importantly, we participated in story of hope that is so much bigger than any one individual.
Since joining the Board of Directors at Humanity and Hope United, I’ve seen what can happen when we work together to invest in people with love. I’ve seen 13 businesses grow from nothing to supporting parents who need to feed their children. I’ve seen entire villages be able to access clean water, buy houses, and build bathrooms for themselves. I’ve seen children attend high school in villages where no one else had made it past sixth grade. And I’ve seen women who expected to sit at home making tortillas — although there is nothing wrong with a good tortilla — become entrepreneurs and change their communities.
Endless amounts of hope result from these opportunities… and I’m convinced that it all happens because we did it as a team and we did it with love. My friends and I realize that no one person can save the world, so on a weeklong trip we don’t even try. We just try to be a part of a story that’s bigger than ourselves; one where everyone works together with love to bring out the best in others.
Together we are so, so strong. Magic happens when we focus on serving the world, not saving the world.
So how did this lead to a trip with my Mom? Well, she almost broke her leg while riding a banana boat on our beach day. And I almost lost her when she took an accidental four-hour hike in the wrong direction. But I’ve never been more proud of her, and we’ve never shared so much purpose. And that is why we did this together.
Side note: I did not leave empty handed. I also got a pretty sweet haircut in one of the villages. There are so many reasons to come on a trip with us. If you’re interested in participating on a Humanity and Hope United trip, please send them an email. We’d love to have you.
Thankfully, I got to spend even more time in Honduras after the H&H trip. Once the group left, I headed to the coffee-producing region of Honduras to continue the journey of Generous Coffee, with our goal to make the world better with each cup of coffee you drink. Stay tuned for more stories. We hope you become a part of them.
By Ben Higgins with Riley Fuller