Jakob and Candece share their personal reflections on how the five weeks of orientation at the Hands at Work Hub in South Africa and four-week placement at a local Hands at Work office have helped to shape their understanding of what it means to serve the most vulnerable and give of themselves even if it personally costs them.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
George Snyman, co-founder of Hands at Work, will be visiting Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of May. This is an exciting opportunity for people to come together to hear stories from Africa. We invite you to join him at one of these venues and listen to what God is doing in the lives of the orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa:
These are the responses of the Sunbury Baptist Church team, Australia, when asked to describe their team trip to South Africa in one word or sentence. God truly was a faithful Father and showed the team His heart for the most vulnerable. They returned with impacting stories and life-changing perspectives.
Today, the first team from Australia will be heading to South Africa. Phil and Rachel McLaughlin are leading a team from Melbourne, leaving June 29, and about a week later, Leyton Wood and Tamara McLaughlin will be leading a team from Sydney to South Africa. As these two groups from Australia head across to South Africa, we encourage you to keep them daily in your prayers. We are expectant that God will greatly bless both teams and the communities they visit!
Advocates are always coming up with creative and new ideas to raise awareness for the most vulnerable people in Africa. Rob and Helen Shaw, based in Australia, have been advocating for Hands at Work for the past few years, creatively finding ways to be a voice to voiceless, whether it be busking at the local farmer’s market or their latest venture – biking across Canada!
Throughout the past few weeks I have had a number of opportunities to walk alongside our African brothers and sisters as they tirelessly fight for justice (making wrong things right) in their own communities. I have witnessed them being Jesus’ hands and feet. Running headlong into the darkness. Bringing the true ‘light’ to the darkest of places.
During this placement, the volunteers were out visiting communities, helping wherever was needed and observing the work of the local office teams. It was a time to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to live out the biblical mandate God has given in James 1:27, ‘to care for the orphans and widows in their distress.’
“I planted 12 meda* of soya beans, I expected to harvest 18-20 x 50 kg bags. I only harvested 2 bags.”
“I planted 20 kg of maize seed, I expected to harvest 60 x 50 kg bags. There is no harvest; the rains just did not come after I planted.”
“I planted 15 kg of maize seed. From planting the same amount of seed last year, I harvested 32 x 50 kg bags. This year I only harvested 12 bags.”
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.
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.
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
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.