We have begun in Chimoio, Mozambique and Dedza, Malawi to address some of the most immediate challenges, through emergency repairs to homes, providing food security to the most vulnerable families, and ensuring healthcare reaches our children facing increased risk of malaria and other water-borne diseases.
Late last week and through the weekend Cyclone Idai hit South Eastern Africa. What initially looked like a bad storm has turned into disaster for tens of thousands of people, affecting Malawi first with floods, then Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
It is said to be the worst ever weather related disaster to strike the southern hemisphere according to the UN.
Anna “Oumie” Snyman is a true blessing from God to the Hands at Work Family. She is the mother of our Founder and CEO, George Snyman, and now lives at the Hands at Work HUB in South Africa where her gift of intercession calls God into the lives of all volunteers, Care Workers, and vulnerable children. Though Oumie prays for all our countries from South Africa, the entire Hands family rejoiced when she recently had the opportunity to travel to Zambia. We knew it would be special for the Hands Family there to be blessed with her presence, and as she describes her journey, we see God used her as a great encouragement.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart - Psalm 37:4
“I couldn’t believe I was going. I mentioned it and three days later, I was going!” Oumie said God gave her one of the greatest desires of her heart when he made a way for her to go to Zambia recently. Psalm 37 had always been her favourite and she felt so blessed to see the Lord’s word in action.
Having never been to Zambia before, the whole journey was an unexpected adventure. Describing the ferry she took to cross the Zambezi River she said, “As far as I’m concerned, a ‘ferry’ is a small boat. This ferry had trucks right on it! I seriously considered hitchhiking”. She saw beautiful sunsets and was blessed with her first visit to Victoria Falls where she was amazed by the size and sounds of the incredible waterfall.
In Zambia, James Tembo, Zambia RST Coordinator, walked with Oumie in the community of Zimba. She was touched by a group of local people who were building a house all on their own. She was also blessed by two people she knew only through her son George, and on this trip got to meet: Hilda and Charity.
Ten years ago, as George walked across Africa, he came across a lady who took him in to her church where the congregation prayed for him and prayed that he would go out and tell others about Africa. This lady’s name was Hilda. George never saw her again until a few years ago when he was in Zambia for the Hands at Work celebration. George was in Zimba, walking through the village, when he saw Hilda! He brought her to celebrations and she has since been a Care Worker at Zimba CBO.
One year ago, George came home from Zambia with a photo of a three year old girl named Charity. She looked like she was only one years old and George knew she was close to death. She was neglected by her family and her Gogo could not care for her properly. As a family, the Snyman’s began giving extra to her; Oumie sent clothes and sweets with others travelling to Zambia, just for Charity. And Oumie prayed for Charity.
On this trip, Oumie met Hilda when she went on Home Visits with James. When they arrived at the Community School, Oumie met Charity. “She was healthier, she was laughing. Now she looks four years old!” Oumie said, “Hilda is a lady of God who has adopted her and cares for her so much.” Charity immediately connected with Oumie and made sure everyone knew Oumie was her friend. When Charity’s brother came to meet Oumie, Charity became jealous and sent him away! Oumie was so thankful that Charity looked so well, that their family had been blessed to be involved in this young girl’s life. Oumie saw the transformation Zimba CBO is making in the lives of vulnerable children. She saw how wonderful the Community School is and how the children have a safe place to go each day and be fed and be filled with joy.
As the Gogo of the Hands at Work family, it was special for everyone to know Oumie was going to Zambia. The HUB in South Africa felt connected to our Zambian family knowing she was going to be with them and encourage them. While visiting, Levy took Oumie to see where he was born and where he met George – events in God’s perfect plan that shaped Hands at Work. After this inspiring trip, Oumie said she fully trusts God with her next desire, “Next trip – Nigeria? Who knows!”
A look back at what made 2011 a special year for Hands at Work and our children across Africa. Mouse over "NOTES" to read about these special moments.
David and Jane Newsome, from the UK, have been close friends of Hands at Work for about six years. Both David and Jane are pastors and the Hands family at the Hub in South Africa recently had the privilege of hearing David speak. Below we'd like to share his timely and humble (as well as humbling) message.
This is our sixth year of visiting Hands at Work and yet we still feel very much as beginners. I was reflecting this time, as we visited communities, that I think I probably understand only about ten to twenty per cent of each encounter. I have been reminded of our first visit to South Africa, which wasn’t to Hands. We first came as a family as tourists in 2001. I had a colleague who was South African and we came with her to stay with her family. Her brother-in-law was a zoologist with the Natal Parks Board and so we spent a week with him and his family at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park. It was wonderful, it was like having our own private game guide, taking us on bush walks every day and benefiting from his expertise. I always remember him telling me one night as we sat around a camp fire watching the moon rise, how their Zulu trackers gave nicknames to all the zoologists. One of his colleagues they called in Zulu ‘The man who looks and looks and doesn’t see.’ What an indictment and what a challenge! ‘The man who looks and looks and doesn’t see.’
When high school students in Soweto started protesting for better education on 16 June 1976, police responded with teargas and live bullets. It is commemorated today by a South African national holiday, Youth Day, which honours all the young people who lost their lives in the struggle against Apartheid and Bantu Education.
In 1953 the Apartheid Government enacted The Bantu Education Act, which established a Black Education Department in the Department of Native Affairs. The role of this department was to compile a curriculum that suited the "nature and requirements of the black people." The author of the legislation, Dr Hendrik Verwoerd (then Minister of Native Affairs, later Prime Minister), stated: "Natives [blacks] must be taught from an early age that equality with Europeans [whites] is not for them." Black people were not to receive an education that would lead them to aspire to positions they wouldn't be allowed to hold in society. Instead they were to receive education designed to provide them with skills to serve their own people in the homelands or to work in labouring jobs under whites.
An excerpt from 16 June 1976 Student Uprising in Soweto
Hands at Work in Africa is asking you to join us in 40 Days of Prayer for orphans:
16 March to 24 April
This time of prayer will coincide with our two Hands at Work celebrations in South Africa and Zambia and we will post a prayer guide here and send it out via a special newsletter.
Gather two or three (or more) people in a home or a church or anywhere, or pray on your own. The Lord will be with you and hear your prayers.
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. - Psalm 17:6
Last weekend the atmosphere at the Hands at Work Hub in White River, South Africa, was quiet and serene as the 'local' Hands family engaged in a 24-hour, devout time of prayer and meditation.
It was a fruitful time of putting on the full armour of God and of asking, seeking and knocking. Thank you to our international family who stood in the gap with us.
"I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land..." - Ezekiel 22:30
“In worship, God imparts himself to us.” - C.S. Lewis
The Hands Family, South Africa, invites you to join us in a time of prayer and fasting, of petitioning, meditating and listening.
On Friday, 19 November at 18:00 SAST (South Africa Standard Time) or GMT +2, the Hands Family will enter into 24-hours of praying and fasting. We will set up a schedule of 1-hour prayer slots, forming a strong chain. At 18:00 on Saturday, 20 November, with a breaking of the fast, we'll enjoy a meal together and share what God has imparted to each of us.
Though you might not be at the Hub in South Africa, we would love to band together with you in prayer. Please consider committing to an hour slot – and letting us know which slot you've taken – to worship, to intercede and to seek His wisdom. Email us any thoughts, words or pictures you might receive, then check back next week for prayer reports from the Hub. (Email firstname.lastname@example.org)
During this week leading up to Friday evening, we will be meditating on various topics and scriptures. Check back, daily, for updates here.
“There has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer.” - D.A.T. Pierson