Personal Watchword Reflections 2018

Hands at Work begins each year with a Watchword; a guiding scripture which George, the co-founder of Hands, shares with the Hands family. This scripture is a promise, a challenge, an inspiration, an encouragement and an opportunity to invite God to lead us throughout the year, expectant for what He will do in and through us.

For the last three years, Carolyn Snyman has encouraged the ladies volunteering with Hands at Work to ask God for their own personal Watchword for the year; a scripture that will serve as an encouragement, challenge and promise for the year to come.

 Carolyn Snyman, co-founder of Hands at Work in Africa

“At the beginning of each new year, I encourage the ladies at Hands at Work to ask God for a personal scripture which they can turn to if needed in times of praise or struggles. My personal Watchword for 2018 came from John 14:1 and says ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me.’ (NIV)

“In the beginning, I didn’t know why the scripture was given, however as the time has gone by and troubles or issues come my way, I have remembered the word that God gave me. I’ve realised that love and trouble go together. When trouble comes, it strengthens my faith. Who do I focus on? Jesus’ love is the one thing that will overcome the trouble. It’s so encouraging for me to read this verse over and be reminded that my heart should be not troubled because Jesus died for me; He has taken my troubles. I need to trust and obey that if I believe in God the Father then I believe in Jesus the Son. I am continually reminded to not let your heart be troubled and trust in God. How often do I let my heart be untrusting? I was given a promise and I need to hold onto it.”


Kara McLaughlin, International Volunteer (Australia)

“This year there has been a particular Bible verse that has become my own personal Watchword. I came across it as I was reading the minor prophets over the Christmas period.

"So, he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty." - Zechariah 4:6

At the time, I was unsure how this would apply to 2018, but pretty quickly it became clear.

 The year started with a lot of tears and a myriad of emotions. As a Hands at Work family, our Watchword was John 14:6. Through these tears the Spirit started to show me all the areas in my heart where Jesus was not my Way, Truth and Life. This has been a humbling process. Suddenly I was seeing more and more areas where I was building my identity on, things like success, skills and being liked.

 The thing was that, as these areas were being brought to the Light, I realised I did not have the capacity to change or control how I would be able to exchange believing lies for truth. The lies have been familiar to me; they felt reasonable and safe. Slowly, I am seeing that change, healing and freedom can only come by the Spirit as He shows me what is true and where life is found. I cannot do this myself because, left alone, I am not sure if I would choose freedom.”


Sesinyana Mlombo, African Volunteer (South Africa)

“I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly. Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.” – Psalm 40:9-11

“This verse is an encouragement to me that God will never leave me. Even when I go through challenging situations, His love and faithfulness will always surround me. When I think back on my life, the reason that I am where I am today is because of the love of God. I have a responsibility to share with others about the goodness of God and what He is doing. I want to spread His glory and I want to serve Him wherever I am called.”