Lessons Learned from a Toilet

My husband and I travel to rural countries as we visit orphans in the care of our children’s homes. During these trips, we joke about writing a book called “Toilets of the World,” to share some of our more memorable experiences. We have seen some awful toilets like pit latrines built in outhouses. The worse ones are the overflowing and non-working toilets. A few rural places in India only offer fields instead of proper restrooms for the locals.

The King is watching. Will you be a sheep or a goat? Click To Tweet

I also learned to travel with toilet paper since not everywhere provides it. I learned that TP is an extravagance for many poor in the rest of the world. Poverty also does not give the luxury of clean restrooms or even clean water to many in the world. Diseases spread because of these unfortunate situations. My biggest concern during our travels is if I can drink the water or if we will have porcelain toilets to use or would it be an outhouse. I overlook the needs around me to focus on my comfort.

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40 (NIV)


These experiences teach me to appreciate my blessings at home. Those living in the developed world have much to thank God for in our lives. Many people lack electricity, clean water, a safe place to sleep, and enough food to sustain them. Traveling outside my comfort zone opens my eyes to the plight of those God calls us to help. The Bible tells us the story of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. The story explains that God rewards those who use their blessings to benefit others. Are we thankful for our blessings and willing to share?

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

James 1:17 (NIV) 


Webster defines thankfulness as “conscious of benefits received.” The Bible gives us many verses about being Thankful. One verse that comes to mind as I spot a pit latrine nearby is 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Another verse that I think about is Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” God instructs us throughout the Bible to give thanks often and in every situation. I learned to thank Him for the outhouse too.

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 (NIV)


At home, I find it hard to remember to be grateful when things are going great. Why do I forget to be thankful to the Lord when life is comfortable? Why do I forget to help others with the blessings God provides me? I try to find ways to help remember to give thanks. I keep a photo of a pit latrine located in an outhouse from a trip to Kenya near my computer. The picture reminds me to give thanks in all circumstances and to help those in need. Luke 14:13 tells us, “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” God calls us to be thankful and generous with the gifts He provides.

God can use anything, including a toilet, to teach us something. Click To Tweet


Yvonne M Morgan, #Blogger, #Speaker, #Writer

Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

100% of the proceeds from sales of my book, Turning Mountains Into Molehills, go to help the orphans at Orphan Relief Effort, Inc

Additional Resources:

Are We Hearing God’s Message

The Effects of Globalization

A Story of Hope

My Story

Getting to know Jesus

Prayer for Salvation


20 thoughts on “Lessons Learned from a Toilet

  1. Beautiful! Thank you for this convicting reminder. We’re a family of world travelers, so I’m often mindful of how blessed we are to have clean running water and porcelain thrones for our personal needs. Great thoughts here!

    1. Thanks Beth. It is so easy to fall into living easy and forgetting there are those around us suffering. God only wants are gratitude and to share from our abundance. God bless

  2. I love the lessons in this post. And here’s a stark reminder: “I overlook the needs around me to focus on my comfort.” Our comfort is often the enemy of living out our faith.

  3. Love this eye-opening post, Yvonne. I pray to always be conscious of all my benefits! I’ve traveled to Africa, and had first-hand experience in some of the toilets you describe…particularly using a field or the hole in the ground inside a rustic outhouse. We tried to have some kind of tissue or paper with us. We so take for granted our developed world and what we have.

    But even though other underdeveloped countries have these horrible living conditions. Here in America, sometimes the poor and homeless are living “without” our modern conveniences. Our church is serving this week with Family Promise, a homeless ministry for families to spend the night at a different church every 7 days. We stay overnight (my husband and I stay tonight), prepare meals, and help the families any way we can during our service time. The program staff also help them with getting jobs and back on their feet living independent again. Some know what it’s like to be on the street with children or living in a car. Thanks for this reminder.

    1. What a beautiful way to serve our communities. There are needs everywhere that everyone can participate in. We don’t need to leave our country to see the needs. I found going overseas first opened my eyes so now I see needs all around me. I will pray for you tonight and the work of this organization. Thanks and God bless

  4. Jessica Brodie

    It’s true that being oversees or out of our comfort zone and seeing how different cultures live can make us so grateful for what we have daily and take for granted. Having to take daily bucket baths (no showers!) during a mission trip in Zimbabwe was truly an eye-opener for me.

  5. So good, Yvonne – the reminder to be grateful in all circumstance, the remembrance that we can go home to conveniences – for many, the latrines, etc. remain daily life. The call to share. All so good from a wise woman who serves in many places! Thank you!

    1. Thank you Pam. I appreciate your encouragement. We can become so comfortable that we forget there are many without any comfort. We must always be willing to share love, help, and Jesus. God bless.

  6. Such a simple, yet profound truth. We have discovered many of the same experiences through our missions work in Haiti – though we have not done as much as you or been to as many places as you, the toilet and toilet paper situation is the same. Lord, give us hearts of gratitude for the many, many blessings you pour out on us!

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