“During the week, we saw people coming to Jesus for the first time or coming back to him after years apart, and levels of forgiveness which were quite miraculous because no one, in their own strength, would be able to bring such forgiveness, reconciliation and, ultimately, peace.”
In February 2017, Emerance, a dedicated local volunteer Care Worker, from the Maisha Community Based Organisation (CBO) was passing by the fields and noticed four young children working in the field and Liu laying lifeless in her great-grandmother’s lap; helpless and severally malnourished. Emerance acted out of compassion and urgency and took the children directly to the Care Point, so they could receive a meal that day. She knew that if they did not eat, there was a possibility that they would not survive.
In early 2015, while visiting children on Holy Home Visits, Care Workers came across Clement and his siblings once again. The children were begging for food and the four of them looked malnourished and unwell. The loving Christ-like hearts of the Care Workers compelled them to follow the children back to their home and find out more about their situation.
At 10 years old, Xiluva* has faced challenges that no child should ever have to face. When her father passed away in 2010, Xiluva was living with her mother and three siblings in Mudzidzi, Mozambique. When her mother remarried in early 2016, she took the children to the community of Macadeira and abandoned them with their ageing grandmother, Orpa*. Xiluva’s world fell apart.
“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.”
Michael* is a 13-year-old boy who was found by Care Workers in Apatuku Community. As they knocked on the door of his home, it seemed, at first, deserted, but they heard a small voice croak from inside the home. As the Care Workers entered the house, they found Michael all alone and in a desperate situation.
In the mountainous area of Swaziland, nine-year-old Nolwazi leaves her house at five am to make the long two hour trek to school. Now that it is winter, it is very cold, and dark; often Nolwazi cannot even see the road in front of her. She walks alone in the dark for the first 45 minutes, and is gradually joined by other children along the way. Nolwazi does this walk every day, with nothing to eat or drink, Monday to Friday. By the time she gets back home after school, it is dark again.
When Nicholas* was just five years old, both of his parents tragically died in the same year, leaving him in the care of an uncle. His uncle was emotionally and physically abusive but with no one else to turn to, Nicholas was trapped in his home. His uncle refused to pay school fees so Nicholas was unable to attend school. Nicholas’ Aunt Mildred* visited the family and was appalled by Nicholas’ physical and emotional state.
Today I met Sarra*. A mother of three, who lost her husband sixteen years ago. Left as a widow, her husband’s brother came in and “claimed her”. He used her solely for sex, and she bore two of his children in the subsequent years. He took no responsibility for her or her children, and has now completely abandoned them.
Care Workers are the key in bringing healing and transformation to the lives of our children. They are men and women from the local churches within our communities who recognize their Biblical mandate and answer their call to care for the most vulnerable children. They demonstrate what it means to give freely, love unconditionally, and sacrifice everything. Often, Care Workers face their own traumas and live in dire poverty, just as the children they care for do, but their determination to persevere and care despite their own circumstances challenges everyone they come into contact with. They are greatest in the Kingdom of God!
Moses’ life is a miracle! His very existence speaks of the faithfulness of God and the loving compassion shown by the Care Workers of Zimba Community Based Organisation (CBO). Hilda, the Zimba coordinator, together with Charles, a local volunteer Care Worker, call Moses ‘the first child of Zimba CBO’.
Just a few weeks ago, Blessings had the opportunity to return to the DRC and visit Praise again. He shares an update about him and says, “This year Praise turned three. Last year when I met him, he was very sick – at two years old he was not able to stand on his own. I had very little hope that he would make it in life. We surrounded him with prayer and interceded, but I still had little hope, and doubt overwhelmed my heart.
Royie Nazombe, Dedza local office coordinator, shares, “This feeding program had a great impact. Grandmothers and caregivers could not believe this was happening to them. I remember meeting with the grandmothers after the packages were distributed. Before, all they were eating was a small amount of vegetables for lunch and supper. I heard them say ‘today I will taste nsima for the first time’. People were very happy.”
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.
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.
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.
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.