Called to serve together in 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. Tommy and Morgan’s stories started out from different countries, but the journey God has brought them both on has led them into a beautiful story of love, adventure, and serving Him together. Both of them being confident of God’s calling, they share their story of serving and following Christ.
I was born three months premature which, at times my life was touch and go as to whether or not I would survive. Ever since, I knew God had a purpose for my life and I have striven to follow that. I have always had a desire to go to Africa and serve the most vulnerable. Throughout university, I chose courses surrounding development in Africa. I believe God was getting me ready to serve in Africa.
As I finished my degree, I began searching for my next step and met with my youth worker at church. I told him about this desire God placed in my heart to serve in Africa. He recommended me to connect with Dan Waspe, a long-term volunteer from The Forge Church near my home, and we chatted about what it meant to serve at Hands. I knew this was the right step for me, so I signed up to come in September 2010. I did not apply soon enough and had to wait an extra six months. God gave me that time to raise support for myself and prepare me to come in February 2011. I met with Dan and his wife Jen again in January, and after talking through living and serving at Hands, God again confirmed I was taking the right step. A month later, I landed in Johannesburg, South Africa. Being the first time living away from home, I knew I was taking a big step of faith.
The first few weeks, I was thrown on a rollercoaster of emotions – missing home, broken by what I was seeing, and enjoying another part of the world and meeting new people. During a community stay, I met Silo, and built a deep relationship with him. I spent more time with him in the following months, and still today he is a part of our family. Throughout my first year, I spent much of my time learning Hands on a deeper level and working closely with the finance team. I first served alongside Toyin (bookkeeper in Nigeria) and since then have been privileged to support many more bookkeepers. I also spent a significant amount of time scanning receipts but I believe in that faithfulness of the small things, God has now shown me the bigger picture and I have the joy of being able to support people across Hands in finances.
My family has been involved in Hands since 2006, through Westside Kings Church in Canada. My parents and sister had both come out on teams before I set foot in Africa. As George came to speak at churches, he would often stay in our home. For many years, the Hands Canada local office was run out of our house. I did not imagine myself in Africa long term then. I remember talking about orphans in Africa with a friend, and in high school was torn apart by the horrific things I learned about the slave trade. Maybe all of that was God preparing me for what was to come.
I stepped foot in South Africa in June 2008 with a team from my church. The trip was meant to be two weeks, and I daily wrestled with the things I was seeing as we walked in communities. I knew about these things, I had heard the stories many times, but experiencing them was completely different. I was given an opportunity to stay for two months, helping with some filming. During those two months, my heart broke for the children and grandmothers I met in South Africa, Swaziland, and Mozambique. But I was also filled with a sense of hope. I could see Care Workers making a difference, I could see men and women sacrificially laying down their lives to love and serve their neighbor. The day I left South Africa, I remember saying, “I know I will be back. I don’t know when, but I will be.” I went back to Canada and continued my studies, and Africa became the focus of many of my projects and stories.
I was set on returning to Africa as soon as I finished school. In August 2009, however, I ran into health complications. I could not understand why God was putting these obstacles in my way when He had placed this deep desire on my heart. My health kept me away from Africa for another year. Despite all the tears, frustration, discomfort, loneliness, and uncertainty, I look back and know God did something deep in my life. He had to take everything away from me and teach me to trust His plans, His timing, and to be attentive and obedient to this call. My faith grew – I do not think I would give that up for anything. He was preparing me for Africa – for a life of service, of dying to oneself and being obedient to the call placed on my life despite challenges. He gave me a deep sense of peace and security. I wanted to do things in my own time, my own way, but He had grace for me in that, and I have learnt over the years to trust in God’s perfect timing – even when it is hard!
Tommy + Morgan
We fell in love soon after we met and were married in May 2013 in South Africa. It was a beautiful day, and we felt so lucky to be able to celebrate with our family and friends. It was better than we could have ever dreamed! We have a marriage built on faith, service, and obedience to God’s leading in our life.
Our community of international and local African leaders is a constant source of inspiration and growth. We are continually transformed by the men and women we stand next to and serve alongside every day. Seemingly we should not fit together – but somehow we do, and it is a privilege to call them family! We never want to take for granted the blessing this life is to us.
We both spend the majority of our time in the office, Tommy in Finance and Morgan in Communication. We know for this work to be impactful, it takes many people behind the scenes to ensure our local offices, Care Workers, and children, and we are happy to play our part in that. Together we have traveled to many of the African countries, witnessing the brokenness, but also the hope, in many of our children and Care Workers. The more of Africa we see, the more we are sure of this life that we have been called to.
Are YOU being called? Join us.