Serving in his homeland of the Democratic Republic of Congo
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.
In 2005, Erick was staying with a couple in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who were serving with Hands at Work. “I was not involved,” Erick says. “I always thought, ‘That’s what they do, that is not what I do.’” While at Bible College, he received a prophecy that he would be working with the most vulnerable people in his own country. “I did not understand it,” Erick says. “I did not even think to connect it to the work of Hands at Work. I had my own plans to plant a church.” George Snyman (Hands at Work Co-founder) came to visit the couple. He spoke to Erick about the work of Hands, but Erick only thought of George as a visitor of his friends.
One month later, Erick woke at 3:00 AM. Erick says, “God was speaking to me and clearly showed me a vision of me working with vulnerable children in my country. All this time I had been focused on what I thought was my practical ministry: looking after patients and planting a church. But I knew this was connected to the prophecy.” Suddenly, Erick started developing a heart and a very strong conviction for the destitute and the orphaned. “I did not know it was my calling until God spoke to me,” Erick says. He was so surprised by his own conviction that he felt he could not verbalise it. He wrote a letter to his housemates, explaining what God had told him, and that he hoped to join them. Even they were shocked! “For over seven months I had never shown any interest in joining them,” Erick says.
Erick finished Bible school with no plans but to serve with Hands at Work. At the end of 2006 he became a volunteer, serving in the most vulnerable communities Hands supports near Likasi, DRC. As he walked in the poorest communities and met the most vulnerable and broken children, Erick’s heart was forever changed:
I see their pain and I know I can stand in the gap on behalf of our children. It is not because of Hands at Work, it is personal. I developed this heart, which breaks every time I see someone who is suffering. I know it is connected to the prophecy on my life from 2005 in Bible College. I don’t rest when I see someone suffering. I strive to speak up and fight for justice. I’ve learned to live my life not for myself but for others – all of my life. Any day, any hour. When work is considered over, I still want to support those who are suffering. It’s not my ministry, it’s my life. I feel Christ in me so I try to act and do like Christ.
Erick is known for being a father figure and friend to the street children of Likasi. “It’s changing my life very much,” Erick says. “I don’t give them money, but I buy them bread. One day I went into a shop to buy bread and the owner tried to chase the kids out, saying they are dirty and they are thieves. I said to him, ‘They are human beings! Why are you chasing them out?’ I left and went to another bakery.” Erick knew that if he could encourage the children to respect themselves, the community would respect them too. “I accepted them. They could come to me and feel safe. Even me, I felt safe with them and not judged. I was their friend. I encouraged them to be clean and respect others and go to church.” Today, these children earn some income brushing shoes and selling plastic bags. They are clean and more respected, and they respect others. The pastor of a large nearby church invites these former pick-pockets to be a part of his congregation every Sunday.
“I am so grateful to be part of the work Jesus has left for us. This will remain my ministry forever,” Erick says. Erick’s calling has manifested itself in many ways. He is a friend to the oppressed, the pastor of his own church, and he recently got married! He currently serves at the Service Centre Coordinator in Likasi, DRC, leading a team of local leaders who support six communities of Care Workers, caregivers and children in caring for each other. “Nothing can take away from me what Christ has put in me. It’s real life, serving others who are broken.”
Are you being called?
Learn more about volunteering with Hands at Work: www.handsatwork.org/come