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.
Busisiwe (Busie) Sityata-Jones was born and grew up in South Africa, experiencing the effects of apartheid on her own people. For over ten years she has served with Hands at Work, and today she serves as one of our key leaders in Southern Africa.
I learned about Hands at Work in 2003 when I was studying at Africa School of Missions (ASM) while as a single parent raising my 12-year-old son. George and Carolyn (Snyman, Hands at Work Co-Founders) were giving lectures to us first-year students on the role of the church during the HIV/AIDS crisis. The question was asked, “What is the church doing?” For the first time it hit me hard. It spoke straight to my heart. I was a Christian but I never thought our broken communities in South Africa needed me. I walked with Carolyn and others in the communities where Hands was caring for those who were dying and, my eyes were opened. I felt extremely challenged. I chose Hands to become my practical ministry for school credits, and it turned my life upside down! Being in the communities, I saw how people were dying, and how the people I walked with were there to love them and care for them changed me. When I graduated school in 2005, I didn’t want to join Hands just because it was convenient and nearby. I asked people to pray with me and I sought God for what He wanted me to do - this wait was tough. When I got confirmation that Hands was where God was calling me, I took a step of faith and joined Hands in 2006, even though I didn’t know what that was going to mean for my son and I. We became a part of the Hands community and I saw God being a faithful Father and provider for us in many ways. We felt we belonged there and my son found male role models and father figures - which I had found was a missing part of many of our South African families.
Serving in my own country has had advantages, disadvantages and unique challenges. Because of being African and because of my story I feel I can challenge our communities from a place of understanding. The down side is that I’m often viewed with suspicion as we struggle with trust here in South Africa – people will often be wondering what I’m getting for myself. Either way, I sense that my role is to bring understanding to people in our communities and understanding to Hands at Work so each one can understand the other.
I have served in different roles with Hands. At the beginning I worked to support young mothers who had faced the same struggles as me. Here I shared my own brokenness and discovered God wanted to heal me so I could bring healing to others. I have also worked with our local office (Service Centre) in South Africa – serving here was a place of growth and challenge. Today I serve as a Regional Support Team leader. Together with a team of people, we support the work in South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Looking back I can see that each step of this journey has helped me better understand who we are as Hands and how we can better serve the most vulnerable people.
Much of what I do I have learned from other leaders at Hands. I’ve learnt to be fully present when I speak to people, not to give cheap answers, and to be okay with saying “I don’t know” when I don’t know. Any wisdom I have gained is based in knowing that I am valued, not because of what I do but because of who I am. I am always accepted and loved in our Hands family and in the Kingdom of God whether I succeed or fail. I approach everything from that place of being loved.
Are you being called?
Learn more about volunteering with Hands at Work: www.handsatwork.org/come