Charlotte Henderson, International Volunteer (UK)
"My first experience on a Holy Home Visit was back in 2013, on a team to Swaziland. I didn’t know what I was walking into, but it drastically altered my understanding of who God is. I saw God move, not only in the lives of the people that I had the privilege of visiting, but in my life too. That kind of radical transformation requires a response; and that first encounter with God on a Holy Home Visit is one of the biggest reasons that I came back to volunteer with Hands at Work. Holy Home Visits aren’t just an add-on; they underpin everything that we do. We have the incredible privilege of visiting families that are so close to the Father’s heart - families like Chisulo* in Kamakonde.
I met two-year-old Chisulo the first time I went to Kamakonde Community, Zambia, in 2015, and he was so small - unable to really walk. I’ve been able to visit his home, to spend time with his family and to gain a better understanding of the challenges that they face. We all have children that keep us up at night, whose names we know and whose faces we can see. These are the children that we fight for, and Chisulo’s is one of mine. To watch how God has been at work in his life already brings life-giving hope.
That moment when God shows up can look so different. It can be in a time of prayer or in sweeping the yard for a gogo. But whatever it looks like practically, it’s the moment where we realise that we are not alone, and we never were. It’s where we realise that God wants to meet us exactly where we’re at, in the midst of the chaos of our lives. It’s standing outside Chisulo’s tiny home with a leaking roof, holding his hand and praying that God would make a way for this tiny little boy. It’s watching as month after month, visit after visit, things get a little better for him and his family. The second time I visited his family - who had by that point moved - we sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, whilst his mother sat in the corner, disinterested and disengaged from her children and the people that had come to spend time with her. The longer we sat there in the quiet, the more I prayed that God would come and meet with her. Eventually, she began to open up when she understood that we were there just to listen and to tell her that she was not alone. Her face began to change, and for the first time since I’d met her, there was a small spark in her eyes, and she looked at her children like she really saw them. As we sat in her half-constructed house, I realised afresh that this is what the body of Christ is all about. We might come from different walks of life and different cultures, but we are bound together by the hope that we have in Jesus. This is the hope that enables Chisulo mother to continue to care for her 5 children in the midst of the most difficult circumstances."