There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Galatians 3:28 (ESV)
At Hands at Work, our volunteers and African Leaders live together in a multi-cultural Christian community. At the Hub in South Africa and Kachele in Zambia, we live and serve together, following the call of Jesus to live in community and follow him not as individuals, but as the Body of Christ. We are different ages, cultures and personalities. We have very different testimonies of our walks with Christ, but we all feel called to serve the most vulnerable here in Africa.
Hands at Work believes that for us to serve the most vulnerable in the poorest communities in Africa, we must first serve the people we live and work with every day in community. God has given us the ultimate example of community: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Working in communion to bring the Kingdom of God to earth, the relationship of the Trinity is one of our guiding foundations of living in community. God, Jesus, and the Spirit invited us into their community. Despite all of us bringing them trouble, they said, “You are coming home with me.”
Every day at Hands at Work we strive to accept that we are just broken people, brought together through God’s grace and for His purpose. We try to get past our cultural differences and our personality clashes as we live together, pray together, eat together and serve together. It is often hard – but Jesus told us that following Him would not be easy. He brought His disciples together to live in community, and they strove to live in not the culture they had come from, but in the Kingdom culture He described and called them to live by: forgiveness, acceptance, serving, giving, love, prayer, worship. And the disciples saw each other fail – they saw betrayal and denial and struggle among each other. But they also saw redemption and hope. Each day, as the Hands at Work family, we strive to live together in a Kingdom culture, laying down the culture we have been raised in, and coming together in hope that as we live out this Kingdom culture together, God will use us to bring redemption and hope to the most vulnerable people throughout Africa.
As a community, we want to live devotionally, with Christ as the foundation of everything we do. Some days we all pray together, some days as men and women, and some days in our small groups. We live by the Core Values of loving God and our neighbour, reaching the poorest of the poor, servanthood, local community ownership, valuing relationships, prioritising God, family, then ministry, accountability, and giving freely. At Hands at Work we always say, “We are before we do”. We know that we must be right with God and with our brothers and sisters before we can give to others. We cannot give to others what we do not have within ourselves. Our hope is to bring love, redemption, and life to the most vulnerable people in the poorest communities, and so we must remain committed to manifesting those things within our own community.
God accepted us all as part of His family. Welcoming people into our community is a way we live out the gift He gave us. As He accepted us, we are called to accept others. It is not easy to truly understand and accept in your heart that you are loved and accepted as part of a family that you were not born into. But it is this acceptance and understanding that those who live in our community say has transformed their lives. We do not know why He chose us in the midst of our pride and resistance, but as we accept His unconditional love, we learn day by day to submit to this truth, and submit to each other. We let go of our pre conceptions, what we think we know, and we loosen our grip on the things that we think belong solely to us. We start to share our lives, our trouble and our happiness. We learn that life is not about us, it is about being united with God and our neighbour.