“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need and practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12-13
Several Hands at Work volunteers reflect on how the watchword for 2017 has impacted them:
Angel Musoka, Likasi Local Office, Democratic Republic of Congo
“When my team and I were told the watchword for 2017, we didn’t know what it would mean and we didn’t know of the tough situations that we would face. There were many challenging situations in 2017 and it felt as though we had planted a seed in our communities that became threatened. Our team carried a heavy burden but we were encouraged when we read the part in the watchword where it told us to keep praying. We were reminded to keep praying in tough circumstances because through prayer, God can comfort, strengthen and encourage. God is the father of the fatherless and for the sake of His children, we want these Community Based Organisations to be healthy and to grow. This was our prayer. Despite going through tough situations, we saw God’s hand. God instructed us to be ‘patient in affliction’ and through this, God has done something great. Our children are alive and growing.
Additionally, the watchword says ‘share with the Lord’s people who are in need.’ When I initially read this word, I thought it was talking about sharing material things. When we were in Zambia for the leaders gathering in October, I felt the Holy Spirit telling me that I needed not only to share material things but I had a responsibility to bring the healing that I have received, to others. I was wounded but God brought healing into my life. I have to now share this with people who are in need. There are people in the community who have broken hearts; our children, Care Workers and Primary Caregivers are wounded. I have to share the healing that I have received from Jesus because they need that same healing. We have to share the word of God. We have to encourage and pray with them. It was a right word at the right time.”
Xolani Donalbain, Oshoek Local Office, South Africa
“At the beginning of 2017 right after the watchword, I had the chance to go to Swaziland with some of the Hands at Work board members. I remember visiting Gogo Khoza*, who had gone blind and couldn't leave her small dark room, which she shared with her two grandkids, because she was scared that dust would get into her eyes and she would never regain her sight. I remember seeing her in despair and had the words from the watchword ‘be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer’ come to my mind as I sat there listening to her story. I left Swaziland with her in mind, though I struggled with how I was going to support her and keep her in prayer when I was in Zambia for six months. I felt challenged to continue praying for her, even while I was away. When I went back to Swaziland in July, she still couldn’t see well but had stayed committed to prayer even when it was difficult. She had to be patient in affliction. Amazingly, at the beginning of September, Gogo Khoza started regaining her sight. By October she could walk by herself and even visit the Care Point. Her story is such an amazing testimony of what it means to be faithful in prayer.”
Farzam Mohajer, International Volunteer, Canada
“When we first received this watchword, I thought that this year would hold some difficult chapters for which this word would be especially applicable. This was in fact the case; this year did contain some fires in which this scripture directed my eyes beyond the flames, and to the other Man in the furnace. However, as the year has gone on, this scripture has become less about the intense moments and more about the everyday moments. This verse has become about the marathon, the mundane, the unnoticed, and its application has been similarly understated.
The application of the three pillars in this verse are not loud, they are silent and solitary. Hope, patience, prayer…these are all quiet things. And to be silent is not to be emptied of power, in fact this is the character of God in Jesus Christ (John 1:29 and Isaiah 53:7). In January, I thought we were given a sword through this scripture with which to fight the dragons of 2017, but my experience has been of finding them to be seeds to be planted in the jungle of life - which is full of decay - and allow them to quietly grow amidst every day struggles, into a tree of life (Isaiah 53:11).”