Advocates give the voiceless a voice and bring hope to the hopeless.
Each one of these advocates has a unique story.
Katie Wells, International Advocate, Canada
“In 2010, my husband Todd and I came to Africa to volunteer with Hands at Work for one year in which we spent time serving with the local Hands team in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
We were forever impacted by the Hands leaders in the DRC, the dedicated Care Workers and the many children that we knew by name. We knew their stories and were a part of their lives. We found Jesus working in such a real way in these communities.
When we came back to Canada, I knew that I would continue to serve and support Hands. I remember shortly after arriving home from Africa, asking which community needed support as I wanted to advocate on behalf of the many children I had grown to love. I began supporting the work of Hands in the community of Kitabataba in the DRC. Within the first year of being back in Canada, I was sharing with my friends, family, and church about the opportunity to partner with the Care Workers in the extremely poor township of Kitabataba to care for 50 of the most vulnerable children.
Over the years I have shared stories with friends and held gatherings at my home to advocate on behalf of the children of Kitabataba. In 2016, I had the chance to bring a team with me to Kitabataba Community to spend two weeks building relationships with and encouraging the Care Workers. We came to know many of the families through Holy Home Visits. I feel blessed because on this team were three of my siblings, and because of this, my entire family cares deeply about the work of Hands. It is an incredible gift to be a part of God’s work in Africa together.
This year, I have mobilised a group of individuals to meet together monthly and pray for Hands. Additionally, I am a part of supporting and encouraging the other advocates across Canada. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to have much of my life and heart interwoven with the lives of the vulnerable in the DRC. I believe that Africa is the best gift God has given me as I grow deeper in knowing His love for me and His calling for us to bring good news to the poor.”
Pam Heubner, International Advocate, US
“I heard about Hands at Work through my son Jed and his wife Brooke when they came to Africa. I had been talking to Jed on the phone when I remember mentioning that he was living my dream as I had always wanted to come to Africa. When George Snyman (co-founder) came to Racine, Wisconsin and shared about his passion for serving the most vulnerable, I was convinced that I should go. In 2010, I travelled to Africa for six weeks. As I learned more about Hands at Work, I fell more in love with the organisation.
The six weeks that I had in Africa were incredibly eye opening. I fell in love with the African people; their inner joy in spite of the hardships that they faced and their love for their families. I remember a conversation that I had with a teenaged girl who asked if I was rich. I laughed as I told that no, I wasn’t rich. She asked me if I had indoor plumbing, electricity, a car and a TV which of course I did. What she said next completely changed the way that I looked at my life: ‘You’re rich.’
Once your mindset has changed, it changes your life - not just while you are physically in Africa but when you are in your home country as well. One way that I support Hands is by supporting my son and daughter-in-law, Jed and Brooke, as they serve with the Hands at Work US Office full-time. Building relationships with others in my community is another tenet of Hands that has been a huge blessing to me as I strive to bring home the lessons that I have learned through my personal experiences.
When I was in Africa, it seemed as though those who are dedicated to doing the work of Hands were a bright light shining through the darkness. It drew people to them; it drew me to them. You wanted to be in their presence; where you felt peace, joy and love. Later, I realized that the light was actually a reflection of Christ in the hearts of the volunteers, and more than anything, I wanted to be like them. I desire to emanate that same light, bringing hope and love to those around me.”