Late last week and through the weekend Cyclone Idai hit South Eastern Africa. What initially looked like a bad storm has turned into disaster for tens of thousands of people, affecting Malawi first with floods, then Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
It is said to be the worst ever weather related disaster to strike the southern hemisphere according to the UN.
“This year, I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the two Watchword meetings that were held, first in South Africa and then in Zambia. Despite the passage being the same, what was shared was distinctly different from one another. As such, I learned different lessons from both.”
From March 6th– April 21st, join the Hands at Work family around the world as we pray for 40 Days on behalf of the most vulnerable children in Africa and our work to support them. Nonhle represents one of thousands of children being cared for by volunteer Care Workers across the communities Hands at Work supports. Learn more about her story throughout 40 Days of Prayer andjoin us in prayer by downloading the 40 Days of Prayer Guide.
As the years quickly went by, early retirement became an option for us in September 2014. At that point we began to earnestly seek God about what our next steps would be. With many ups and downs, questions, concerns and conversations with our family about this big decision to make, we knew that God was calling us to Africa.
“We want to serve God by honouring others and bearing their burdens —and also be willing to be vulnerable ourselves by sharing about His faithfulness in our lives —- so that we can rejoice in Christ together.”
It is a prayer asking God to stir us up! As such, the words now point me to something much deeper than stirring puddings. In Hands at Work, we talk about ‘making it personal’ and fighting for the children of our communities as if they were our own. But it is so easy for our hearts to become indifferent or worse still, hardened, to the injustice and pain we see around us.
Through serving with Hands at Work, I have learned what it means to forgive. A few years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to forgive my auntie and pray a prayer of forgiveness. I was able to talk with her and release the bitterness and bondage that I had in my heart. Afterwards I felt joy and a new sense of connection with her.
George Snyman will be visiting North America in the middle of November to the beginning of December. This is an exciting opportunity for people to come together to hear stories from Africa. We invite you to join him at one of these venues and listen to what God is doing in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa.
For the last three years, Carolyn Snyman has encouraged the ladies volunteering with Hands at Work to ask God for their own personal Watchword for the year; a scripture that will serve as an encouragement, challenge and promise for the year to come.
In July, Phil McLaughlin led a team from Sunbury Baptist Church, Australia, to South Africa, where he spent three weeks: two weeks with the team in various communities and one week supporting a building project in Sommerset Community. He reflects on worship and justice.
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.
When I first came to Africa, I think that I subconsciously associated the word ‘brokenness’ with weakness. I was fearful of sharing the broken areas of my heart because I was embarrassed by my past and ultimately feared rejection and judgement. I struggled to share because I didn’t fully understand and recognise the depth to which the brokenness and pain in my heart had spilled over into many different areas of my life.
Miguel’s mother, Alima*, cares for Miguel and his three siblings alone. There was barely any money for food, let alone school fees. Even the barren soil around her home seemed to be against her, preventing her from growing a garden and on many days, the family went hungry.
We are grateful for the amazing support that we have seen growing in our church and surrounding communities. We have not only seen God’s hand in this but we have witnessed a deep appreciation for what Hands at Work is doing. Through regular visits and strong relationships, people have realised the love and trustworthiness that Hands at Work is based upon and therefore are willing to support the work with their finances and prayers.