This is what the Lord says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” – Jeremiah 29: 10-14
Cat Levine never thought she would end up in Africa. To be honest, it wasn’t even on her radar. That changed one day when George Snyman, co-founder of Hands at Work in Africa, spoke at The Bridge Church in Venice, Florida. Cat wasn’t at church that Sunday, but over the next week, people from church asked her if she was going to go to Africa and see what Hands at Work is doing. When she finally saw the church bulletin and heard the recording of George’s message, she was challenged by three words: “Are you willing?” Cat says that was the first time in her life she truly felt called to do something.
Cat went to Zambia for the first time in 2015 with a team from The Bridge Church. She convinced her husband Aaron to join her on their church’s next trip to Zambia in 2016. Reflecting on their trip in 2017, Cat and Aaron continue to be blown away by the work God is doing in Africa. They have traveled to Chibote, Zambia for three years in a row, which allowed them to see drastic growth and big changes within the community, thanks to the implementation of relationship groups at the care point. During her last trip in May 2017, Cat recognized a new openness among the care workers in Chibote as they live vulnerable lives in community with one another. The fruit of this is maturity of faith and unity in their call to serve the poorest of the poor. This growth has allowed them to participate in a Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA). They are thriving, expanding their skills as they use this growth to impact their community.
Aaron shared about a girl in Chibote who hadn’t been seen at the care point or at school recently. Hands at Work had helped purchased a school uniform for her, including shoes, so that she could attend the local school. Her father had sold her shoes for money so that he could buy alcohol. She felt comfortable enough to tell a care worker what had happened, and the Service Center staff intervened. Her father initially denied his actions, but later admitted and repented for what he had done. Aaron was so encouraged by the work God is doing in Chibote and the relationships that vulnerable children are developing with care workers who know them by name and help them feel safe.
Cat and Aaron spoke of the different communities they have been able to visit on each trip and the different parts of “the Wall” that they recognized in each community. Cat’s understanding of Hands at Work’s care model, based on the story of Nehemiah’s wall, has been expanded with each visit. This understanding has bled over into her understanding of her own community in Venice, Florida and what it means to “live it out wherever you are.”
Are you willing to see for yourself? Come experience what God is doing in Africa.