Sunbury Baptist Church Team (AU)

These are the responses of the Sunbury Baptist Church team, Australia, when asked to describe their team trip to South Africa in one word or sentence. God truly was a faithful Father and showed the team His heart for the most vulnerable. They returned with impacting stories and life-changing perspectives.

“The trip for me was awesome and I would recommend anyone to do it, whether a believer or not.”

“Profound, overwhelming moments, daily.”

“Unity.”

“Impactful, humbling, life-changing.”

“Transforming.”

“Love, joy, peace.”

“Amazing, humbling, eye-opening.”

“I didn’t want to come home.”

“The kids rely on us and we must be a voice and push harder.”

“Powerful, impacting, and definitely encouraging.”

“Worship and justice go together.”

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Rachel Stafford, shares: “The highlight for me was hearing the stories of the Care Workers, the children, the gogos (grandmothers) and the Hands at Work volunteers. I was impacted as I learned about where some of the Local Office Team members have come from and how they have been lifted up and cared for. They go above and beyond to show care, because someone once showed them care. Patricia has been with Hands at Work since she was a child and has now taken on a role in the local office. I did not get to hear her story, but she told me about Gracie*. Gracie’s mother passed away when Gracie was born, so another woman took her in and cared for her. Patricia told me, “I started off as Gracie, and now you can see the cycle”. In twenty years, you can see Gracie standing in Patricia’s spot. Last year, I saw the top layer; this year I allowed my heart to open up and see beyond, to where true happiness comes from.”

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Stephanie Sabol shares: “I noticed Vera* has a disability and wasn’t really noticed by people. She wasn’t being playing with, and had been sitting on her own for a while. I thought I’d go and embrace her and talk to her. She then started to smile, and I put my arm around her. I asked her how she was and talked to her. I said Jesus loves her. Hearing those words, she understood, and her face changed from a shy look to the confidence of feeling loved. It was a blessing to see! I continued to go up to her every day, and towards the end of the week, she started dancing in the circle when the music was playing! She was jumping up and down and not being reserved anymore.”

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Alan Sabol shares: “Phil and I were able to invest in some leaders during the youth camp. Here I met Adam*, a young man with no father, who lives with his mother, and often doesn’t have food. At the Care Point, he gets a meal once a day. He loves studying and reading his Bible, and we had some amazing conversations and interactions. One day, while I was digging a hole, Adam came and said he wanted to help. In his school uniform, he did the work with us. He helped me out and then said, “I am really proud and happy when I am in your presence”. How impacting for me! I am overwhelmed by the way I experienced love – no one was left behind and everything was shared. I made a vow I would do better here.”

About the camp the team hosted, Phil McLaughlin shares: “At the end, we gave the opportunity for the youth to put their faith in Jesus. Twenty-two of them put their hand up to follow Jesus and be His hands and feet in their community! Now a big burden lies on Care Workers to disciple those kids. The seed was planted: keep praying God will keep working in their lives, especially as they are rising young leaders.”