At Hands at Work, our volunteers are called by God from all over the world to serve the most vulnerable in Africa. Each of us has a unique story of how we were transformed when we stepped out in faith and were obedient to His call. Agnes shares her story and the journey that has led her to serve in her home country of South Africa.
“For the first few years of my life, I lived with my parents and six other siblings in White River, South Africa. My father was a pastor, so I grew up going to church. He also worked at a logistics company that dealt with shipping while my mother stayed at home taking care of us children. We moved to Masoyi Community when I was six and that is the community where I went to school.
When I was in grade eight, I had to stop school because my father was in a car accident and passed away. It was at this point, that my life got significantly harder. I had to get a job. The first job that I had was at a place where they made cigarettes and then I moved on to work at a saw mill where they cut trees. When that saw mill firm closed, I got another job at a hotel where I worked for three years.
After the loss of my father, my mother was not doing well and slid into a state of depression. Before his passing, we had lots of cattle and financial stability but when he died, my uncle came and took everything; leaving us with nothing. There were times when we didn’t eat. Aside from a small amount of support from the church, nobody else supported us. My siblings were able to finish school but as the oldest child, I had to help support the family financially. My mother did her best to feed us by asking neighbours for help but there came a point where the stresses of life became too much for her and she took her own life.
I met my husband Elliot and we had our three children together but I was angry all the time. My life started to change when I joined the Hands at Work hospitality team in 2004. There was a lady I knew who used to work with George and Carolyn Snyman (co-founders of Hands at Work) and she used to talk about what they were doing - serving the most vulnerable. One day, this lady told me that Carolyn wanted to bring somebody onto the team that could help cook for the teams and visitors.
I began to heal day-by-day as people prayed with me. I held a large amount of anger and sadness in my heart because of everything that had happened but I have learned how to forgive. I am thankful for what God has done for me as well as what Hands has done. I love Hands at Work because it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor; they still want to pray and go deep with you. The people that volunteer with Hands have much love for people and always talk about God, which has helped me to grow spiritually. I was baptised in 2015.
It was through my own experience of being traumatised and broken that made me want to come to serve the most vulnerable. There were people that surrounded me; encouraging me and praying for me. This pushed me to come to do the work. It doesn’t mean that when I feel good, I stop serving. I want to help those who are wounded and do for others what people did for me.”
Agnes lives in Masoyi, South Africa with her husband, Elliot, and their three children. Agnes continues to serve on the hospitality team at the Hub in South Africa.
Are YOU being called? Come!