“We want to serve God by honouring others and bearing their burdens —and also be willing to be vulnerable ourselves by sharing about His faithfulness in our lives —- so that we can rejoice in Christ together.”
It is a prayer asking God to stir us up! As such, the words now point me to something much deeper than stirring puddings. In Hands at Work, we talk about ‘making it personal’ and fighting for the children of our communities as if they were our own. But it is so easy for our hearts to become indifferent or worse still, hardened, to the injustice and pain we see around us.
Through serving with Hands at Work, I have learned what it means to forgive. A few years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to forgive my auntie and pray a prayer of forgiveness. I was able to talk with her and release the bitterness and bondage that I had in my heart. Afterwards I felt joy and a new sense of connection with her.
George Snyman will be visiting North America in the middle of November to the beginning of December. This is an exciting opportunity for people to come together to hear stories from Africa. We invite you to join him at one of these venues and listen to what God is doing in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa.
For the last three years, Carolyn Snyman has encouraged the ladies volunteering with Hands at Work to ask God for their own personal Watchword for the year; a scripture that will serve as an encouragement, challenge and promise for the year to come.
In July, Phil McLaughlin led a team from Sunbury Baptist Church, Australia, to South Africa, where he spent three weeks: two weeks with the team in various communities and one week supporting a building project in Sommerset Community. He reflects on worship and justice.
These are the responses of the Sunbury Baptist Church team, Australia, when asked to describe their team trip to South Africa in one word or sentence. God truly was a faithful Father and showed the team His heart for the most vulnerable. They returned with impacting stories and life-changing perspectives.
When I first came to Africa, I think that I subconsciously associated the word ‘brokenness’ with weakness. I was fearful of sharing the broken areas of my heart because I was embarrassed by my past and ultimately feared rejection and judgement. I struggled to share because I didn’t fully understand and recognise the depth to which the brokenness and pain in my heart had spilled over into many different areas of my life.
Miguel’s mother, Alima*, cares for Miguel and his three siblings alone. There was barely any money for food, let alone school fees. Even the barren soil around her home seemed to be against her, preventing her from growing a garden and on many days, the family went hungry.
We are grateful for the amazing support that we have seen growing in our church and surrounding communities. We have not only seen God’s hand in this but we have witnessed a deep appreciation for what Hands at Work is doing. Through regular visits and strong relationships, people have realised the love and trustworthiness that Hands at Work is based upon and therefore are willing to support the work with their finances and prayers.
I was surprised, moved and thankful for the things that had changed. New additions to the team. New Care Points serving more children than was previously possible. New dreams and imaginative possibilities for partnership with the international church.
Today, the first team from Australia will be heading to South Africa. Phil and Rachel McLaughlin are leading a team from Melbourne, leaving June 29, and about a week later, Leyton Wood and Tamara McLaughlin will be leading a team from Sydney to South Africa. As these two groups from Australia head across to South Africa, we encourage you to keep them daily in your prayers. We are expectant that God will greatly bless both teams and the communities they visit!
Advocates are always coming up with creative and new ideas to raise awareness for the most vulnerable people in Africa. Rob and Helen Shaw, based in Australia, have been advocating for Hands at Work for the past few years, creatively finding ways to be a voice to voiceless, whether it be busking at the local farmer’s market or their latest venture – biking across Canada!