By Taylor Kim
Hands at Work Youth is currently made up of six American teenagers who are working to partner with local youth groups in the San Francisco Bay Area (and eventually beyond) to get youth more involved in caring for the vulnerable in Africa. Here, Taylor Kim shares her experience with creating and continuing work for Hands at Work Youth.
My name is Taylor Kim, and I am the president of Hands at Work Youth. The group was created in June 2014 with the intention of reaching out and partnering with local youth groups in the Bay Area.
Hands at Work Youth started with the three eldest daughters of families that were involved in Hands at Work. As all three of us have been to Africa before, we have seen the way that youth can be impacted by Africa. We created Hands at Work Youth in hopes of encouraging youth to focus their lives and actions on God's work in Africa. We hope to share about the stories and needs in Africa with the youth and their families in our own communities. Not only would Hands at Work Youth help send the teams there, we would also become a support for when teams come back and face the sometimes difficult adjustments to their homes.
Hands at Work Youth began by fundraising through two babysitting events. We also shared a brief presentation and video on Africa at Sunset Church, another Hands at Work partner in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Creating Hands at Work Youth has been a joyful and difficult process. It has affected me in unexpected ways. Although we try to work for the glory of God, our own sinful tendencies often get in the way. It is very easy for me to credit myself for my "hard work" for Hands at Work Youth and feel judgmental towards others who don't understand the need to go to Africa. This has given me insight into my own life and sinful heart.
However, with the stresses of college applications and thoughts of the future, Hands at Work Youth slowly became less and less of a priority for me. Meetings were postponed and eventually ceased to exist. We struggled to make it a priority as our own superficial struggles became the focus of our lives. I laughed, loved, and prayed for the people I met in Africa and the relationships I made. However, one of my own personal struggles was incorporating what I learned in Africa to my own life at home.
In attending the first National Hands Advocates Gathering last November, things began to fall into place for me. Spending time speaking with fellow advocates and listening to their own stories helped me process my own emotions. God does not call us to serve him when things are most convenient. Although a path is difficult, it does not mean that it's not God’s calling. As often as I heard this from the people in my own life, it began to truly hit home for me. Hands at Work Youth had a meeting with Hands at Work co-founder Mr. George Snyman to discuss the future of us as an organization. With the encouragement from Mr. George, as well as the many advocates and members of the US management team, Hands at Work Youth was able to get back on track.
Since the Hands Advocates Gathering, we have added three new members to Hands at Work Youth. Their new ideas and enthusiasm have helped us at each meeting, and kept us accountable in the decisions that we make. We were able to use our own experiences as youth in Africa to video call a youth team heading to South Africa from the United Kingdom. (See Penkridge Team article.) Using the experiences we were so lucky to have, we hope to continue to help others. We are also planning a hike-a-thon to begin reaching out towards communities in late April. (more details to come!)
We still and always will desperately need prayer and guidance. Please pray that we will always bring our focus back on God when we stray off our path. We are young and inexperienced, but know that God works in mysterious ways. As I begin college in about a week, I regretfully have had to step down in leading Hands at Work Youth. Please pray that we will find an ever more patient and responsible leader for our meetings.
We have been welcomed into the arms of the Hands at Work family and have received an abundant amount of love. We thank you for all your prayers and guidance thus far. We hope that Hands at Work Youth will be able to spread an awareness and love for Africa in our generation's hearts.
If you have any encouragements, questions, or concerns please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.