At Hands at Work, our volunteers are called by God from all over the world to serve the most vulnerable in Africa. Each of us has a unique story of how we were transformed when we stepped out in faith and were obedient to His call. Farai tells his story of following Jesus in Zimbabwe, and how compassion for the poor and a desire to mobilise the local church has defined his life.
At Hands at Work, we are continually blessed by international teams who travel to Africa to be a part of God’s work among the most vulnerable people. We strive to embrace our short term teams as not guests, but family. Our desire is they will not stand on the outside and look in, but be on the ground, confronted by God’s heart for those who suffer, and challenged to serve with the love of Jesus. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together – 1 Corinthians 12:26
Praise’s grandmother Bertha began caring for him, but she was desperately poor and trying to survive. Praise was hungry - continually crying. People in the community said he would die and tried to put ritual charms around him but Bertha refused and knew God would provide. After her husband passed away many years ago, she said she learned to trust God throughout any hardship.
Jade joined Hands at Work in February as a volunteer from Australia, committed to serving in Africa for one year. After orientation in South Africa she travelled to Zimbabwe where she spent one month building relationships with the team of local leaders, and gaining a deeper understanding of the vision and heart of Hands at Work.
For the past four years, Chumai has suffered from epilepsy. His mother decided to return to her family because she could not deal with Chumai’s illness or those of the rest of the family, including Chumai’s father. A few months after leaving her children, Chumai’s mother remarried. Tragically Chumai’s father, Joaquim, died after falling from a platform used to dry maize cobs.
When many children were not going to school in their community of Mngwere, Malawi, Royie and Violet responded. They knew they were called to bring life to these orphaned and vulnerable children. Their vision began in 2007, when a group of people from the church Royie serves in as a pastor started caring for the most vulnerable children in Mngwere. In their poverty stricken community, mobilising the local church to sacrifice their own meagre resources to care for others was a challenge.
I met my husband Dan when I was 10, at Christian camp. He was teasing me and stole my necklace – that’s how I always remembered him. As a teenager, my friends and I toured other church’s youth events. We started going to a Bible study – turns out it was Dan’s church. He didn’t go to the Bible study, but when we heard a group of girls had started coming, there he was! We started dating; I was 16 and he still had my stolen necklace.
Ama is a 10-year-old girl from the community of Ilaje, Nigeria. When she was young her father passed away, leaving her in the care of her paralysed mother, Esther. At a very young age Ama was forced to become the breadwinner in order for her family to survive. As a result, Ama has not had the opportunity to be a child.
"When you are a part of something, a history, a family, it gives you faith. And it also helps you to learn lessons. God has allowed Hands at Work to be a part of His story, and we have a family and a history. When we know exactly where we have come from, we become resilient. We remind ourselves how He protected us in hard times, and we take courage that He would do it again." - George Snyman, Co-Founder
Honde Valley is a desperately poor community in Zimbabwe. It is here where 8 year old Nomsa* lives with her mother, Maiba*, 34, and her sister Grace*, who is 15 years old. They stay in an old house that desperately needs repair.
Our ministry in Southern Africa began in 2009 when we volunteered for three months with Hands at Work. After our first season, we knew God was calling us to return to Africa for another year. After that year, we again spent time searching God’s heart only to discover that we needed to make the move to South Africa more permanent.
When Winnie’s* father died in 2010, she was only 2 years old. Her mother, Docile, was left alone to care for Winnie and her older sister and brother. Struggling to care for the family herself, while grieving the loss of her husband, was already a heavy burden for Docile to carry.
At Hands at Work, our volunteers are called by God from all over the world to serve the most vulnerable in Africa. Each of us has a unique story of how we were transformed when we stepped out in faith and were obedient to His call.
After losing her father, Trina* was sad and confused. She struggled to cope with his death and her pain became deeply entrenched in her heart. When a new step-father came into her home, he rejected Trina as a daughter. This further loss created more inner trauma and Trina withdrew from those around her