A couple of weeks ago Lauren Lee and I had the opportunity to attend Hands at Work in Africa’s Regional Celebration in Zambia. Each year these celebrations are a time of gathering together Hands at Work international volunteers and the community-based partners from all over Africa to encourage each other and celebrate all that God is doing throughout the global Hands at Work Family. This year, from 13 to 16 April, Hands had its biggest Celebration ever in Zambia with nearly 200 representatives from over 40 communities in Africa as well as representatives from Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.
The theme of the Celebrations this year was, “Going Deeper.” The vision of Hands at Work is the local church in Africa effectively caring for the orphaned, widowed and the dying and unified in this mission with the church outside Africa. All of the different sessions focused on Going Deeper in relationship to make this vision become a reality. The celebration kicked off with a message from Hands at Work founder George Snyman who focused on Going Deeper in our relationship with Christ. He asked the question, “Why do you do what you do?” The motivation for caring for the orphaned, widowed and dying should come out of a deep love for Christ, a thankful spirit for what He has done for us, and a willingness to share that sacrificial love with others through service.
An excerpt of Ephesians 4 was given to everyone at the start of the Celebrations to read. I think it speaks directly to the purpose of these regional celebrations.
"I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received ...speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
On the last day of the celebration before the official program started a large group of individuals gathered in the morning to sing songs together. It was just an amazing time. Here is a video of one of my favorite songs, “Ananipenda,” which translates to, "He loves me."
Jed and his wife, Brooke, volunteered with Hands at Work for three years during which time they were based in White River, South Africa. Jed now works with the Hands at Work US office and lives in Minneapolis.