Care Workers are the men and women from local churches who have committed their lives to caring for vulnerable and traumatised children. But many of them have suffered their own traumatic experiences of abuse and abandonment. Though many Care Workers desire to provide holistic care for the most vulnerable children in their community, often the pain within their own hearts affects their ability to give.
Hands at Work is currently focused on discipling our Care Workers; striving to provide them with an understanding of the unconditional love and healing that comes through Jesus. As they are set free from the inner wounds of their trauma, they offer hope to the children that the same is possible for them. This healing is the goal of the intensive Maranatha Workshop running in each of our communities across Africa. Maranatha means, “Come Lord". Workshops are five days long and are facilitated by a team of local leaders. Though a structure has been developed, each workshop is dependent on prayer and guidance by the Holy Spirit.
Day One: The Jesus We Know
Care Workers know of Jesus, but most have never heard of the Jesus who knows them personally; who knows them by name, cares about their lives, and came to earth to heal the broken hearted. The message given on day one is about this Jesus. Isaiah 61 explains, “He came to heal the broken hearted and comfort those who mourn.” As Care Workers are introduced to Him, new and healing relationships with Jesus and one another are ignited. Through this new understanding, our Care Workers find a renewed strength to live out their calling in caring for the most vulnerable. This first day comes with great impact as many Care Workers commit their lives to Christ.
Day Two: Holy Home Visits
On day two, we discover how the Jesus we know came to earth and moved into our neighbourhoods. He saw we were vulnerable, lost people and He had compassion on us. Before He ever asked us to care for others, He reached out and cared for us. This introduces Care Workers to a radically new understanding of why we visit vulnerable children in their homes. Holy home visits challenge the Care Workers to live as Jesus lived.
Day Three: Care Points as Life Centres
Hands at Work has always envisioned life-giving centres in vulnerable communities across Africa. Over the past years that dream has in many ways become a reality and there are thriving, functioning Care Points existing in the majority of our communities where life-giving services are provided daily for the most vulnerable in our communities. However, the dream is even bigger – to go farther in healing our children’s deep inner wounds, to also provide a place of life and love for Care Workers, grandmothers, aunties and others caring for orphaned children, as well as a place for the local church to engage in programs and minister to people. On day three, this vision is cast to the Care Workers and the Care Points are officially renamed as Life Centres as part of launching into the new season.
Day Four: Relationship Groups
Care Workers are given the space to talk about the wounds and pain in their personal lives. This is not often a culturally accepted concept and requires great vulnerability from our Care Workers. As their stories are told, experiences of rape, abandonment, abuse and anger become the primary topics. Through sharing, healing is found, lives are transformed and a new freedom is birthed within their hearts. Understanding the need to heal within themselves, a door is opened for the Care Workers to understand how they can support a child and walk with that child through his or her pain.
Day Five: Celebration
Care Workers share testimonies of God's healing and restoration in their lives. They speak with an understanding of how much they need each other as well as Jesus' grace and love. As the week ends, time is spent in prayer, praise, and celebrating God’s faithfulness.