A part of Hands at Work’s holistic model of care in vulnerable communities across Africa is ensuring that our Care Workers are supported in their own personal growth and care. Our Care Workers are the men and women from local churches who have taken responsibility for the most broken, abused and neglected children in their communities. However, our Care Workers were once these children. They often have inner wounds just as deep as the children they are caring for. Through Maranatha Workshops, Hands at Work is extending to our Care Workers an understanding of the love and healing that can only come from Jesus.
As the week begins, Care Workers trickle into the Care Point for the start of a Maranatha Workshop. Our Care Workers expect from previous workshops they have attended, that they will sit, listen, take notes and learn. But this workshop is different. This time the focus is on bringing Christ and only Christ. Maranatha means 'Come Lord.' This workshop is about the healing and restoration of each Care Worker’s heart as they begin to discover the wounds within themselves and understand the deeper truths of who Jesus is.
The hearts of the Hands at Work facilitators who are leading the workshop stand in anticipation - waiting on God. The day is opened in prayer and invitation for God to come. There is singing, dancing, and sharing of scripture. It is not long before the presence of the Holy Spirit is felt within the room. Our Lord has come.
Each day of the week is given to various discussions and topics to engage the Care Workers with God's heart. Foundational to this process is a discussion about the Jesus that cares for and binds up the wounds of the broken-hearted. By presenting God as a Heavenly Father who loves unconditionally, Care Workers begin to understand God has no list of expectations and wants to know us as we are. This is a breaking point for many Care Workers in connecting with Christ in a new way. For the first time, some share their own personal and very difficult stories. As they share, the door for others to share with the same honesty and vulnerability is possible. As the day goes on, Care Workers continue to discover who they are in Christ, and soon many have shared their stories, finding hope in the power of sharing their lives with one another. Through this domino effect, many Care Workers find healing, restoration, forgiveness, freedom, and the gift of new relationship. As the week continues, there are discussions about Holy Home Visits, relationships among the Care Workers, and the way Care Workers can bring life to the Care Points our children attend each day.
By Friday, the Care Workers are moving with a new spirit. No longer carrying anger, rejection, grief, mistrust, or other issues that have hindered their relationship with God and with each other, they share their testimonies of transformation. They have hope to continue healing from the inside out, to continue supporting one another in their struggles, and to care for the most vulnerable children in their community with the same love God has poured out on each of them.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favour has come – Isaiah 61:2 (NLT)