A letter written by Rachel McLaughlin, National Co-ordinator of Hands at Work in Australia.
This morning I looked back on the year with Hands, and the more I reflected, the more there was to be thankful for to God in 2017. As He has done each year, He has once again faithfully provided for all of our 2017 Projects. He has done this through the generosity and sacrificial giving of you, our faithful supporters. So I am very pleased to share this news, so that together we can praise God for this!
In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5 we see the church family in Macedonia, who were themselves facing huge economic challenges, generously reached out to their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem who were facing poverty and drought. We know that particularly in places like WA and QLD, our supporters have faced economic hard times, yet have still shared with our most vulnerable children and the Care Workers who support them.
Thank you for hearing or seeing first-hand and taking action to care for these children’s needs (1 John 3:18). We know from the many Bible verses we read just how close the poor, the orphaned, the widow and the refugee are to God’s heart and how He clearly wants us to care for them as He does.
On behalf of all of us at Hands Australia – the management team, our advocates, volunteers and our board – I want to acknowledge your generosity and care. We truly value you, as our supporters, who enable our African communities to care for the poorest of the poor, because they see the lives transformed in your action to care. Here is a small story of hope a five-year-old girl from one of our toughest communities in Nigeria, so you can see a sample of the stories that we see.
“Hasana is five years old and lives in Apatuku with her grandmother. Hasana’s parents abandoned their young daughter in search of work. Sadly, they never returned to Apatuku. Hasana’s ageing grandmother cannot care for her alone. But with the help of Apatuku and Hasana’s Care Worker, Mrs Olajide, Hasana is growing in health and confidence. She attends the Apatuku Community School with 59 other children on a daily basis.”
As we go forward into 2018, I love Hebrews 10:24 as a verse for our year together: ‘Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works!’ Here are our ‘acts of love and good works’ for Hands Australia:
COME – We invite you to participate on the ground in Africa on one of our teams. What better way to understand and serve the orphaned and vulnerable children, writing your own story of hope like Hasana’s?
ADVOCATE – Perhaps you know people who know the joy of being generous to those less fortunate. We know that feeling, and that it is good for us. If you have a social club, family or friends, then you can be a voice for the voiceless, and they too can participate in our Hands story together.
PRAY – Each child is supported by a Primary Care Giver, by a team of Care Workers, Service Centre and Hands volunteers. They all need and value your prayers to enable them to keep doing what they are doing.
GIVE – Let’s rush to give generously to the poor and in so doing loving our neighbour as Jesus asked us to do.
Matthew 25:35-40 - “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
We wish you a happy Christmas with your loved ones as we celebrate the coming of Jesus, coming down to help us in our need. May such amazing love in action spur us on to love others in their need as He has loved us.