Twice a year, Hands at Work welcomes a new intake of volunteers. In September 2014, 8 volunteers joined us to serve for one year and in February 2015 we were blessed with 13 more. They each received the same calling of God to serve in Africa, but the work He is doing in their own lives is unique. Here, some of them reflect on their journey so far in Africa.
150 children like Siyabonga* have daily experienced the love of Christ through a group of 15 dedicated volunteer Care Workers in the community of Welverdiend since 2009. These Care Workers not only understand the necessity of access to lifesaving services such as basic heath care, education and food security; they see the deep need for each child to know their Heavenly Father.
This Christmas, Hands at Work invites you to join us in giving to support the most vulnerable children across Africa. Each day, volunteer Care Workers from the local church care for the poorest children in the poorest communities in the eight countries Hands at Work serves.
Your gift to support a child will bless them with access to education, basic health care, and one nutritious meal per day. Your generosity will not only be a part of bringing life to a child, and encouraging their Care Workers, but Hands at Work believes you too will be blessed as you witness the transformation that occurs in the life of the most vulnerable children when ordinary people reach out to give them hope. Children like Lumumba…
Volunteers from around the world of various backgrounds and ages comprise the Hands at Work team. Hands at Work invites volunteers to come and invest a year or more of their life on behalf of the most vulnerable by becoming a part of our work, family and community of faith. During a five week orientation in South Africa, they are prepared to mobilise, equip and support the local church across Africa to transform the lives of the most vulnerable. We ask our volunteers to learn and serve in whatever way is needed. Like scaffolding, they are an essential yet temporary tool in building a structure and leaving it stronger than when they arrived.
Zwelisha, South Africa
When Nkosenhle and Innocencia’s mother abandoned them, they were left with their father Ringo who married a second wife, Gabisile. Gabisile and her children are from Swaziland. Refugees face many challenges if they do not possess South African identification or birth certificates from their own country.
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. Farai tells his story of following Jesus in Zimbabwe, and how compassion for the poor and a desire to mobilise the local church has defined his life.
At Hands at Work, we are continually blessed by international teams who travel to Africa to be a part of God’s work among the most vulnerable people. We strive to embrace our short term teams as not guests, but family. Our desire is they will not stand on the outside and look in, but be on the ground, confronted by God’s heart for those who suffer, and challenged to serve with the love of Jesus. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together – 1 Corinthians 12:26
Praise’s grandmother Bertha began caring for him, but she was desperately poor and trying to survive. Praise was hungry - continually crying. People in the community said he would die and tried to put ritual charms around him but Bertha refused and knew God would provide. After her husband passed away many years ago, she said she learned to trust God throughout any hardship.
Jade joined Hands at Work in February as a volunteer from Australia, committed to serving in Africa for one year. After orientation in South Africa she travelled to Zimbabwe where she spent one month building relationships with the team of local leaders, and gaining a deeper understanding of the vision and heart of Hands at Work.
For the past four years, Chumai has suffered from epilepsy. His mother decided to return to her family because she could not deal with Chumai’s illness or those of the rest of the family, including Chumai’s father. A few months after leaving her children, Chumai’s mother remarried. Tragically Chumai’s father, Joaquim, died after falling from a platform used to dry maize cobs.
When many children were not going to school in their community of Mngwere, Malawi, Royie and Violet responded. They knew they were called to bring life to these orphaned and vulnerable children. Their vision began in 2007, when a group of people from the church Royie serves in as a pastor started caring for the most vulnerable children in Mngwere. In their poverty stricken community, mobilising the local church to sacrifice their own meagre resources to care for others was a challenge.
I met my husband Dan when I was 10, at Christian camp. He was teasing me and stole my necklace – that’s how I always remembered him. As a teenager, my friends and I toured other church’s youth events. We started going to a Bible study – turns out it was Dan’s church. He didn’t go to the Bible study, but when we heard a group of girls had started coming, there he was! We started dating; I was 16 and he still had my stolen necklace.
Ama is a 10-year-old girl from the community of Ilaje, Nigeria. When she was young her father passed away, leaving her in the care of her paralysed mother, Esther. At a very young age Ama was forced to become the breadwinner in order for her family to survive. As a result, Ama has not had the opportunity to be a child.
"When you are a part of something, a history, a family, it gives you faith. And it also helps you to learn lessons. God has allowed Hands at Work to be a part of His story, and we have a family and a history. When we know exactly where we have come from, we become resilient. We remind ourselves how He protected us in hard times, and we take courage that He would do it again." - George Snyman, Co-Founder
Our ministry in Southern Africa began in 2009 when we volunteered for three months with Hands at Work. After our first season, we knew God was calling us to return to Africa for another year. After that year, we again spent time searching God’s heart only to discover that we needed to make the move to South Africa more permanent.