From the USA; Serving in South Africa
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.
My name is Sydney Rebro, I am thirteen years old, and I am from the USA. I’ve always had a heart for missions and wanted to be a missionary. Ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to come to Africa. I finally came to Africa in late February of 2013. My family and I went to Swaziland, South Africa, and Malawi. I fell in love with the people and this beautiful continent even more. I knew I couldn’t just sit in America and think, “Oh, someone else will do it.” If not us, who will be like Jesus to the least of these? I want to be with them, walk alongside them, and show them the love that they may have never seen before.
When my family and I decided that we were going to “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you,” (Genesis 12:1) it was a big decision. But, we weren’t alone. God gave us MANY confirmations and He was with us through it all. So, we sold our house and all our possessions and moved to Africa. People ask me if I was sad to leave. My honest answer is no. I wasn’t sad to leave America. I know this is where I belong.
Once we arrived in South Africa and were settled in, orientation started! It was very interesting, and my highlight was the Community Stay in Oshoek. I had never done a Community Stay before. We stayed for three nights. I loved living like the local people. I loved carrying water on my head, and walking to church, and gardening, and playing with the children. It was a very special weekend and I will never forget it.
Although it wasn’t hard to leave America, it’s hard to stay in touch with my friends there. I felt a bit lonely the first few weeks here. I prayed that God would give me a friend, and He did - I made a friend at church and she brought me to her youth group!
I faced another challenge during orientation. Since I am young, many adults do not think of me as a missionary. They think of me as a missionary’s kid. It is difficult for me because I want to be treated like I am a long-term volunteer at Hands at Work. I am continually reminded of this verse: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) You're never too young to follow God’s calling on your life. So, everyday I try to be that example.
My brothers and I will start school in January. I hope they teach Siswati because I love that language! I love to learn and I can’t wait to start high school!
Are you being called?
Learn more about volunteering with Hands at Work: www.handsatwork.org/come