On Sunday, March 11, 2018, Hands at Work Advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area met to volunteer with a local ministry that serves vulnerable and isolated residents, and spend time over a meal together in a home. It was a blessed time for this group to build relationships based on their shared experience of walking alongside Care Workers and the vulnerable children they serve in Africa.
The afternoon began at City Impact (CI) in the impoverished Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, where Advocates from Wellspring Church, Christ Church, Sunset Church and Menlo Church Life Group volunteered with CI’s Adopt A Building (AaB) ministry, which seeks to “intervene through building relationships that will lead people to life transformation.” Similar to the experience of teams hosted by Hands at Work, AaB volunteers conduct regular home visits to vulnerable and isolated residents in San Francisco to build relationships with them, encourage them and show them the love of Christ.
Lauren Lee, who advocates for Hands at her Menlo Church Life Group, noted that “walking through the Tenderloin and visiting friends in the neighborhood is at the heart of what Hands calls Holy Home Visits. I am so thankful that we can participate in this together as Advocates in our home town. It was definitely an adventure for me taking the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train, getting off at Civic Center station and walking over to City Impact as I witnessed several groups of people sitting or lying in the streets. One group I passed was sniffing drugs out in the open, and while walking over to the building where we were going to deliver the food, there were several cop cars going in the wrong direction and then other cops running after someone... This is definitely something I don't see regularly, and it sure brought perspective to my every day!”
Amanda Baumann, Hands co-Advocate at Christ Church, commented that “Christian service should not be transactional but rather relational”, which she noted as being the foundation of both the Adopt-A-Building and Hands at Work ministries. Her husband Andrew added that he was struck by how Mary Choy from Sunset Church, who helped lead the home visit teams, was obviously a consistent visitor who had earned the trust of the residents over time. Amanda also appreciated how City Impact began with a time of worship before the home visit teams dispersed to their respective buildings because “it got us in the right headspace to prepare our hearts to build relationships.” She recognized the need for her to similarly prepare herself for her trip with the Christ Church team to Mcheneke, Malawi, this year.
After the home visits, the Advocates adjourned to Abe & Suzette Lee’s home for a “Bring and Share” potluck dinner, lifted our voices in praise and worship, reflected on a devotional on our Servant God, and listened to audio updates from George Snyman, Blessings Sambo and Busie Sitaya Jones from Hands Africa about several communities that our Bay Area partners support -- namely, Mcheneke in Malawi, and Chibote and Zimba in Zambia. We also prayed together for the International Church (Day 23 prayer point in Hands’ 40 Days of Prayer series), each other’s supported communities, our Bay Area ministries that also serve the vulnerable, as well as for George and our African leaders.
Lauren Lee reflected that, “It was definitely encouraging to hear about the local church efforts in Chibote, which her Menlo Life Group helps support through Hands, as well as the increase in children being supported. The time together made me even more excited about our time in Zambia… This has been on my heart for a number of years and to see it happening and being part of it… was a huge blessing!”