Hands at Work believes in equipping the next generation, both in Africa and around the world. Our desire is that they will grow up to be Godly men and women, who love Jesus Christ and are obedient to the calling that has been given in Scripture – to serve the most vulnerable.
When International Teams come to serve with Hands at Work in Africa, they often include young children and youth. Frequently they are inspired and challenged by what they have seen in Africa, and desire to make a lasting transformation when they return home.
Kayla Chang, is a 16-year-old girl living in California US, who came to Malawi in 2016 with her entire family on the Grace Alameda Church Team.
“I was 13 when I first went to Malawi. I thought I was mature but when I returned from that trip, I felt like I had learnt lessons that some people may never learn in their lifetime. My big ‘aha!’ moment came during the last day when we played games, sang songs and ate a special lunch of goat, veggies, nshima and juice with the kids. Their cups of juice were only filled halfway because we didn’t have much. I watched one of the girls drink her juice. She smiled so wide and beautifully, as she savoured it, and made a satisfied sound after each sip. That was the moment when I truly understood my privilege and their poverty. It brought me to tears. In that moment, I loved all those orphans. I don’t think I’ve ever felt that sad.
Driving home from the airport, I promised myself that I would be more grateful for all that I have. To these vulnerable children, I had the world. It’s been three years, and I still try to take time out of every day to appreciate everything God has given me. I still think about those kids and how much of an impact they’ve made on me.”
Angie Chang (Kayla’s Mum) reflects on the impact that coming to Africa has had on her children’s lives:
“We wanted our entire family to have a taste of the lives of the Care Workers and most vulnerable living in Malawi. We had heard about Hands at Work and wanted our family to see firsthand how God was working through the organisation. One of our desires was to help our children understand that missions are for anyone willing to serve, no matter what their age. Equipping the next generation, to me, means obeying the call that God put forth in Scripture to train up children in the Lord and to make His name known to all generations. It is an essential part of the ministry, and it also places value on our children. They are being given a treasure to pass on to their own children.
Our children saw the stark difference between our comfortable lifestyle and wealth and the hardship and poverty that the people of Mcheneke Community, Malawi, live with daily. They also saw the difference in attitude between their own complaining and discontent hearts and the joyful, grateful hearts of the Care Workers and children that they met, despite their impoverished conditions.
My daughter met a girl of similar age who carried the burden of caring for her younger siblings in the absence of their mother. She expressed her fears and anxieties with my daughter, who couldn't believe they were the same age yet had vastly different concerns. One of my sons met a boy named Peter* who was around his age and showed him his home. Peter’s meagre belongings made an impression on my son, who came home expressing more gratitude and complaining less.
Our children are continually growing in their awareness of poverty and how it is more prevalent in the world than they had thought. They saw it firsthand, whereas they had only heard about it before the trip. During prayer times, we can tell that it's still an impression that has remained with them. Since returning home, my elder children want to be more involved with Hands at Work and are continuing to pray for the Care Workers and children who they have met. I can't think of many instances of them complaining about our food since that trip.”