by Suzette Lee
Suzette serves as a volunteer with the Hands at Work team in the United States. In 2013 she came with her husband, Abe, to Africa to visit Hands for the first time, and this year they are bringing a team from their church. Here she tells us her own personal journey and the journey of her team, as they prepare to come.
Sunset Church is a Christ-centered community on the west coast of the US in San Francisco, California. Since mid-2013, we have been blessed by our partnership with Hands at Work and we are sending our first team to Zambia this August to serve in the community of Zimba.
Looking back at how God introduced Abe and me (Suzette) to Hands at Work, I can't help but marvel at His awesome plan. The journey began in 2009 when we supported a couple of friends from Wellspring Church who went to Mozambique through Hands. In 2011, we discovered that a volunteer in the Hands US office, Lauren, is Abe's childhood friend from Chicago. The following year we checked out an artist showcase fundraiser for Hands, held at Christ Church, where we met George and Carolyn (Snyman, Hands at Work Co-founders). We heard riveting stories from others who had been to Africa and those encounters challenged us about what we were living for. Prayers, heart quakes and a year later, our church leadership gave us their blessing, and we travelled to Zambia and South Africa on behalf of Sunset Church to gain a deeper understanding of Hands.
As we grew in our understanding of the mission and vision of Hands, we knew we had to share the good news. Akin to the strong desire to share the gospel with others, we wanted our community to also experience the life-transforming impact of going to and being with our vulnerable brothers and sisters across the globe.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together – 1 Corinthians 12:26
God has certainly put together quite the motley crew to represent Sunset's first team to Africa through Hands! The six of us are men and women from a range of life experiences. Society may define us by age group (we range from 27 to 72), life stage (we're single and married, with and without children), or ethnicity (our heritage spans at least five different countries), but we are united as followers and adorers of Jesus Christ.
Most of us were mere acquaintances a year ago when we attended an information meeting about Hands. Since then, we’ve been part of an Africa Ministry Discipleship Group and a 7-session curriculum called “Walking with Wounded Children”. We have jointly shared quarterly updates with Hands supporters, planned a mission’s trip fundraiser that gathered dozens of volunteer bakers, tea servers and donors from our community and today, we’re sharing our lives and revealing to each other our excitement and fears about travelling to Africa.
As Romina, one team member, prepares to go, she says she’s most excited about “showing them love, and in the process showing them the love of Christ.”
“I’m willing to do whatever God directs me to do,” Ada remarks, “What I’ve really learned [from the Discipleship Group] is that a person is a person because of people (“Umuntu umuntu ngabantu.” – Zulu proverb). We’re all connected in some way, and we all need each other. The Lord commands that our generosity and kindness be extended to the poor. ‘Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.’ – Proverbs 14:31.”
May we honour God and everyone we meet on this trip.