The journey for water in Msengeni Community, Swaziland begins miles away – at home, through treacherous paths and down rocky cliffs. From small children to elderly grandmothers, many must make this trek each day, all with the same desperate hope of finding water. However, they are not alone with their struggle. Many villages face the same challenges when it comes to finding sufficient water.
Today I met Sarra*. A mother of three, who lost her husband sixteen years ago. Left as a widow, her husband’s brother came in and “claimed her”. He used her solely for sex, and she bore two of his children in the subsequent years. He took no responsibility for her or her children, and has now completely abandoned them.
Care Workers are the key in bringing healing and transformation to the lives of our children. They are men and women from the local churches within our communities who recognize their Biblical mandate and answer their call to care for the most vulnerable children. They demonstrate what it means to give freely, love unconditionally, and sacrifice everything. Often, Care Workers face their own traumas and live in dire poverty, just as the children they care for do, but their determination to persevere and care despite their own circumstances challenges everyone they come into contact with. They are greatest in the Kingdom of God!
Moses’ life is a miracle! His very existence speaks of the faithfulness of God and the loving compassion shown by the Care Workers of Zimba Community Based Organisation (CBO). Hilda, the Zimba coordinator, together with Charles, a local volunteer Care Worker, call Moses ‘the first child of Zimba CBO’.
Just a few weeks ago, Blessings had the opportunity to return to the DRC and visit Praise again. He shares an update about him and says, “This year Praise turned three. Last year when I met him, he was very sick – at two years old he was not able to stand on his own. I had very little hope that he would make it in life. We surrounded him with prayer and interceded, but I still had little hope, and doubt overwhelmed my heart.
“Last week when I was in Swaziland, talking to one of our local volunteers on the ground asking, ‘How are they doing?’ She answered me with fear in her eyes and said, ‘I don’t know if this drought is going to leave us and our children alive.’”
Royie Nazombe, Dedza local office coordinator, shares, “This feeding program had a great impact. Grandmothers and caregivers could not believe this was happening to them. I remember meeting with the grandmothers after the packages were distributed. Before, all they were eating was a small amount of vegetables for lunch and supper. I heard them say ‘today I will taste nsima for the first time’. People were very happy.”
I wake up early and spend some quiet time with God, but I know this morning is different than any other I had spent so far in Malawi. I am going to visit Chinku Community, a community quite a far distance away. I hesitate – “Is it too far? Maybe I am not up to going out today.” I make excuses. My quiet time reflects my hesitation, and I ask God, “Why am I feeling this way? Why am I hesitating?” As tears well in my eyes, I know God has something different for me today. I do not know what to pray, but I know the Holy Spirit is praying – groaning on my behalf.
I still remember the hues of vibrant rust colored dirt that coated my sandals as I looked down at my feet. I recall the blazing hot African sun beating down on my shoulders. I call to mind the enticing aroma of open air food cooking around me. Most of all I hold dear the sound of all the voices in unison singing praises to Jesus! Oh how I loved dancing with our brothers and sisters in Christ as we praised our Savior! Those beautiful memories still linger in our minds as if it were yesterday.
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. Tommy and Morgan’s stories started out from different countries, but the journey God has brought them both on has led them into a beautiful story of love, adventure, and serving Him together. Both of them being confident of God’s calling, they share their story of serving and following Christ.
Mwai* is a 15-year-old boy living in Maonde Community with his mother, Edith*. His father passed away when he was very young, leaving Edith to care for four young boys. His three older siblings no longer live with them; two of the brothers have married and the other brother has gone to find work in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi. In 2014, while visiting other children in the community of Maonde, volunteer Care Workers from Chisomo Community Based Organisation (CBO) learned of Mwai’s story.
George Snyman, Hands at Work's Co-Founder, will be speaking in Canada + the US this month! If George is in an area near you, please come out to hear him speak and be encouraged and inspired by his stories and journey of following God's calling for his life.
Tanisha* has been living in Apatuku, a rural village outside the bustling city of Ibadan, for four years. Sent by her mother at the age of six to live with her grandmother, this move shifted Tanisha into a very vulnerable position, just like thousands of other girls across Nigeria. Her ailing grandmother cared for the young girl and appreciated her help as she was struggling to cook, clean, and do errands alone, but unfortunately was unable to send her to school. Together, they live in a small rented room, sharing a bed and the meager belongings the grandmother had collected. Tanisha, obedient and caring, worked hard to ensure she cared for her grandmother well, but inside she was deeply troubled. Tanisha desperately missed her mother and wanted nothing more than to go to school.
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. Florence tells her story of following Jesus in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, and how compassion for the poor and knowing each child by name has defined her life.