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. Michael Mwila shares his story and the journey that has led him to fully trust and serve in his local area in Zambia.
When I was two years old, my parents got divorced and my mother, deeply hurt by the divorce, moved us to live with my grandparents in a different community. However, my mother spent a lot of time working, so most of the time I grew up under the care of my grandparents.
Prior to serving with Hands at Work, I was working on different farms as I really enjoy farming, but these jobs weren’t permanent. I joined Hands at Work in 2005 when my cousin, who was the care taker of Kachele Village, introduced me to the leaders of Hands at Work leadership, who then offered me a job. I started working as gardener and on other maintenance projects. After a year and a half, I stopped because we were not receiving anything – just some food parcels. At the time, I was looking for money, so I said no, I can't continue. In 2009, I received a call from Hands at Work leadership asking if I would come back. I didn't ask for any money but I said that I would come back to serve. Since then, I have been at peace. When I left, I felt unsettled, but as soon as I came back, I felt peace and today I'm serving with joy. I was acting like Jonah in the Bible, trying to run from the call of God. I feel and am convinced that I've been called to serve the children. When I was at my old job, I was a person who drank a lot but through this journey, God has healed me of that and I have grown as a leader in my community and in my church.
When I came back in 2009, I came back to support the farming. Eventually, we started doing farming and gardening in the communities with the Care Workers, starting Income Generating Activities to help the Care Workers make a small profit. In 2016, I was asked to join the Hands at Work local office team in Luanshya and then in 2017, was asked to be the coordinator of the team, which I am continuing to do.
Through serving and working with different people, I am a changed person. Not just in the communities, but in my family. I am a leader at my church because of the things that I have gone through and now people can trust me. If I was where I had been, than maybe I wouldn’t be alive, but God saved my life. That's why I also want to serve, to give life to other people.
One of my highlights from serving was going to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) with Levy Mwenda (African Leader, Zambia) because I've never travelled out of the country before. It was a privilege to go and serve with different people. Throughout that trip, I learned many things. I learned that poverty can look different in other countries. Sometimes, in the Zambian communities, you can find children who don’t eat all their food and throw it on the ground. Yet in the DRC, they make sure that even food which is dropped is eaten. When I came back to Zambia, it challenged me. We need to manage and keep things that God has given us sacredly, because there are other people who are in need more than us.
A challenge as I continue to serve the most vulnerable is my family. I desire for my wife to understand more of what I do because I need to be supported. If she doesn’t understand, then I can push her but she might be pushing in a different direction. Whenever I come home, I try to share some stories, especially when I have done Holy Home Visits.
Sometimes when I do Holy Home Visits, I struggle, especially when the situation is not good. Yet what encourages me is asking myself why God showed me that, and if Jesus saw the situation what would He do?
This journey hasn’t been the easiest thing, but God’s plan is the best and I need to rely on God and be an encouragement to other people. It was not always easy to be with different people who can challenge and also encourage you but through that I am healed so I want to help pass that same healing to other people.
Michael lives in Luanshya, Zambia, with his wife and has five children and one grandchild. He continues to serve as the coordinator of the Hands at Work local office team in Luanshya.
Are YOU being called? Come!