Stephen & Busie Jones live in South Africa, serving with Hands at Work. After nearly 2 years of marriage, they are looking forward to some much needed rest in Australia over Christmas.
2012 has certainly been a year of growth and change for Hands at Work, as an organization, and one that presented Busie and I with new opportunities and challenges as individuals and as a married couple. Busie’s new role as a part of the South Africa Regional Support Team (RST) was at first a daunting challenge but as the year got into full swing she quickly discovered that the knowledge and experience she had previously gained in her role as Service Centre Coordinator gave her an excellent foothold in the operations of her new team and she has really enjoyed playing her part.
Previously she had, with the assistance of two or three staff members, the responsibility of liaising between the RST and the various Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) in the Clau Clau area of South Africa. Whereas now she co-leads the RST and has responsibility for supporting CBO’s in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe! Along with these new responsibilities comes the need to travel to these other countries or areas to continue the process of relationship-building, the downside of this however is that we have been spending a fair bit of time separated from each other.
Of the many treasured experiences that happened during this year, an encounter she had in Zimbabwe with an 11 year old boy who was living with his elderly relative was the most memorable. While walking in the community of Sakubva with a care worker named Abigail and the Hands field coordinator Florence, Busie was introduced to Munyaradzi who was living in an old wooden shack with his 75 year old great grandmother. Busie was told of the difficulty the lad was having getting an education because the only classes he could afford to attend were at a nearby school in a prison. Busie remembers with real joy the look that came over the boy’s face when the careworker told him that they would be able to help into a proper government school! Busie said, “It reminded me again of just how much hope our amazing careworkers bring and the opportunities they give us to be individually involved with children on the ground, knowing them by name!”
As far as my year has gone I have continued my work with the maintenance and construction team and really enjoyed the opportunities I have been given to manage my own work agenda from my own office. A highlight for me was my recent month-long stint in Zambia where I worked alongside my very good friend and fellow Aussie, Sal Hunziker and another couple of blokes from Sydney, Bob Bateman and Peter Earnshaw who were in Africa with Hands for the very first time. We all got on very well and with another Aussie, Rebecca Howlett who is nearing the end of a 7 month term with Hands, helping with hospitality, we had many laughs and got a mountain of vital renovation work accomplished at Kachelle Farm.
The trip was further highlighted as halfway through my stay I was joined by Busie who had come to Zambia to attend an amazing Service Centre workshop which was attended by representatives from each of the 8 countries in which we work. She was able to stay on after the workshop was over and we were then able to travel home together; a 4 day road trip which included a stop at the spectacular Victoria Falls on the Zambia, Zimbabwe border!
Busie and I are very pleased with how we see that the Lord has used us this year and are confident that we have a great platform from which to launch into 2013 and continue in His service.