As the International Church seeks to participate in God’s transforming work in Africa, God is also using Africa to stir up the International Church, as individuals stand up to care for the vulnerable in their own communities.
Corrin Chow, New York City, USA
Corrin Chow visited Oshoek, South Africa last year with the Ridgewood Church team and was deeply impacted by the Holy Home Visits that she experienced. Corrin decided that for her birthday that year, instead of having a typical party for her 21st, she would invite her youth group friends to do Holy Home Visits in a park in New York City. The group broke into pairs and went into the park, with the only goal being to get to know and encourage the homeless people living there. Sara Waldvogel, Corrin’s youth leader and mentor, shared “The youth group was struck by the loneliness and how people felt so blessed to be seen, acknowledged and listened to. I realised myself that I am also a part of that. When we first entered the park, I had a hard time finding anybody homeless to talk to, until a guy from outside New York City pointed them out to me. We are so desensitised to the people around us!” This is a beautiful example of how we hope and expect that God will use what we see in Africa to change our hearts, and in turn, our own communities.
Sunset Church, San Francisco, USA
After visiting the community of Zimba in Zambia, the Sunset Church team returned to the US inspired by what they had seen and wanting to take action. Sunset’s partnership with a local program called ‘Adopt-a-building’ came after George Snyman met with their founder, talking about serving the most vulnerable in their own city. After that meeting, Suzette and her husband Abe - members of the US International Office - organised a small group from Sunset Church to do Holy Home Visits in a low-income apartment building. The group was able to pray and encourage many of the tenants who live there; getting to know them on a deeper level. Now, Sunset is investigating adopting another building that houses more Chinese-speaking residents, because the majority of their congregation is Chinese-speaking. The church is excited about this as it serves as a way to bring together the Chinese-speaking and English-speaking congregations. The Care Workers in Zimba are not only bringing unity to Sunset Church but also through them, bringing hope to the poorest of the poor in San Francisco, USA.
As Hands at Work strives to reach the most vulnerable people in the poorest of the poor communities across Africa, pray that God will give you guidance about how to take this mission forward within your own community.