A team from Biggleswade traveled to South Africa with Hands at Work in the summer. Now they have returned they want to share their reflections from their trip:
Highlight - Being given the opportunity to address and speak to the children in Siyathuthuka about Jude 1 v 17-23.
Impact - Visiting South Africa showed me how important it is spending time with other people. The trip gave me the opportunity to build stronger, and new, relationships with many people and I hope to continue to spend more time with those around me
Highlight - When going into my first home visit, I was given a warm welcome and then handed and trusted with the mother's baby.
Impact - I have discovered that I can do many things that I didn't think I would be able to, as well as realising that I do not need certain things.
Highlight - Seeing a little boy smile after spending two hours with him and his family on a Holy Home Visit on our last day in Siyathuthuka.
Impact – It has made me realise the complete power of faith. For the people we met, their trust in God is unending and was inspirational to all who share in their stories. The importance of prayer was also highlighted and made finding God in places of hardship easier and more poignant given the difficulties in the past, the present and the future. It was both humbling and inspirational.
Highlight - Being welcomed so willingly into another person's home who I'd never met before, particularly in Oshoek when the first thing the woman said to us was 'Welcome Home!'
Impact - Realising the support network and community spirit throughout the places we visited should also be reflected in our own lives.
Highlight - Having the privilege of playing with children in the Care Points within the community. Being able to see a child so happy when playing what we'd describe as a 'simple' game such a throw and catch.
Impact - Developing a much closer relationship with God and realising the huge impact of prayer and faith. Realising that spending time with people and listening to their stories is invaluable.
Highlight - Being able to visit a family who were going through huge upset, resulting in one brother stabbing the other. Even though this was a difficult visit, it opened my eyes to the great levels of crime in some of the most deprived areas of South Africa.
Impact - This trip reminded me of how important family is, and that one problem doesn't just affect one person, but the whole family and community that surrounds them.
Highlight - Seeing the Care Workers in the communities come to life in their worship through music and dance.
Impact – Firstly seeing our young people fully engage with the experience, with the African People and their love for the children. Secondly, I witnessed people who have only the very minimum of anything and yet who have a love for God and so much joy in their hearts that is a lesson to us all.
Highlight - Being able to be a part of the praise and worship in the communities and seeing the joy of the Care Workers whilst singing.
Impact - Appreciating the value of spending time with other people and not rushing to do the next thing. The importance of prayer was particularly highlighted throughout this trip and this was reflected in all the communities we visited.
Highlight – Playing with the children at the Care Point and seeing how much joy, hope and love they had for each other despite their home situation. Having the privilege of being welcomed into people’s homes and to hear their stories however difficult for them to share.
Impact – It was great to see the young people fully engaged in the experience and grow in their faith. Also, spending time with people and building relationships with them brings life even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Highlight - Seeing so much laughter and joy in the communities, even when some of them were going through such hard and difficult times.
Impact - Spending time with vulnerable families and listening to them and being there to encourage and support them; something we underestimate the importance of, and don't take time to do in our busy lives.
Highlight - Being given the opportunity to cook the meal in Share, and knowing that what I cooked would mean that the children in the Care Point would have at least one hot meal that day.
Impact - The dedicated work of the volunteers at the Care Point who every day, cook in high heats, visit vulnerable children and given them support even when their situation is not much better.
Over the two weeks that we spent in South Africa, we have witnessed ‘Hands at Work’ in action in the most vulnerable communities and have shared in the stories of so many inspirational people, whose courage and faith is both unwavering and unending. It has been truly humbling and life changing to enter communities, engage with the children and be trusted to hear their stories.