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. Barbra shares her story and the journey that has led her to fully trust and serve in her local area in Zimbabwe.
I grew up in with four siblings but lived with my auntie because my mom and dad had separated. Eventually, I went to stay with my dad and stepmom who had four children of her own. When my stepmom passed away, I started helping to care for the children. Shortly, thereafter, my dad got remarried and then went on to have three more children.
After I finished school, I went to live with my brother in the town of Nyanga. I was trying to further my education, but I was unable to do this continuously because I was unable to provide the money required. After four years, I went to live with my cousin’s sister and joined her business, helping to type things and be a part of sales. At that point I was a Christian and was going to the Apostolic Faith Mission Church. Farai Gunhe (African Volunteer, Zimbabwe) was my youth leader, along with another lady, which is when I started hearing about Hands at Work and the work that Farai was involved with. He did invite me to join but I just didn’t think I had the gifts it took to serve the most vulnerable. However, it encouraged me when Farai kept pursuing me – he must have seen something in me.
Eventually, in 2009, I agreed to join for a short time, but I didn’t think that I would be there for long. I started by doing the bookkeeping for the local Hands at Work team in Mutare. While I was doing the bookkeeping, I grew in my understanding of Hands at Work and what it meant to serve the children. My plan was to stay for only a few months and then move on. But as time went on, I started thinking that I would like to serve God in this way. I’ve seen the impact that serving with Hands at Work has had on my life.
I served as the bookkeeper until the end of 2016 but then my role changed. I didn’t think that I would like the change that was coming, as I left the role of a bookkeeper and became the coordinator of the local Hands at Work team in Mutare. Yet Hands at Work leadership saw my growth and so, at the beginning of 2017, I became the coordinator.
I feel like God is using me to serve the most vulnerable because I grew up within the kind of vulnerability that our children are facing. I understand what these kids are going through when they have nothing to eat at home or are struggling to go to school. My prayer is that God can help me make an impact in the lives of our children. I desire to speak into the lives of young girls and boys, helping them to not simply focus on the negative parts of life but instead to help them realise the hope that is coming ahead of them.
Sometimes I struggle to differentiate between my own desires and what God is calling me to. I want to be able to discern God’s voice better in my life.
One of my highlights serving with Hands at Work is being a part of a bigger family. I never thought that I could work with people like this. In many organisations and workplaces it is every man for themselves – it would be uncommon for people to think or ask about your life. Yet Hands at Work is different. I have met and built relationships with people from across the world. Sometimes I receive messages from people who say, “Hey Barbra, how are you? I am praying for you”. I never thought that there would be people from around the world praying for me.
Barbra lives in Mutare, Zimbabwe. She continues to serve as the coordinator of the local Hands at Work team in Mutare.
Are YOU being called? Come!