George Snyman

A Piece of Our History

A Piece of Our History

"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

A Family United

A Family United

A past volunteer with Hands at Work, Jessie's story reveals the wrestling she faced when she met the most vulnerable children and those who serve them in Africa. Years later, she continues to be challenged by God and the Hands at Work family to care and advocate for the most vulnerable back home in the US.

 

A Letter from George

Tuesday December 10, 2013

Family,

Looking back at 2013 for Hands at Work on the very day of Nelson Mandela’s funeral is very emotional and yet a rewarding experience for me as an African and a South African. Today I am so proud to belong to the global Hands at Work family fighting injustice by reaching out to the most vulnerable children in Africa.

I see some characteristics in Mandela’s life that we hold dear to in the Hands family. He had an amazing ability to cross cultural barriers. His whole life reflected sacrificial giving. Not only did he spend most of his adult life in prison, but once he was released he continued to live a sacrificial lifestyle. During his time as President of South Africa he gave his full salary every month towards those in poverty. After he completed his career as a politician he started the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. He never stopped living a life of giving! He believed in and encouraged others all the time that an individual can make a difference in this world. Each one should just do what he or she can do.

Care Workers together in a Maranatha Workshop in ZimbabweIn the beginning of 2013, Hands at Work leaders across Africa came together in Zambia. After a time of prayer and deep introspection, a renewed commitment was made to accept full responsibility for Hands and the vision we believe God gave us to live out. Part of our time together was living in one of the poorest communities with the children and grandmothers we care for. It was a time of deep impact and out of it we developed Maranatha Workshops. Maranatha means, “Come Lord”. These workshops are an invitation for Jesus to come and reveal His Father's heart to the Care Worker. In this time, Care Workers begin to recognise the wounds that are deep within themselves. That due to the wounds they carry, they have often wounded others out of that pain. Now the realisation is being awakened to the One true healer. The One who came to pour His life into their hearts and bring restoration to their lives. The workshops have clarified the different role players in the Hands model and how we can support and encourage each other to reach the children and their Care Workers in the best possible way. Our commitment is to do this workshop in every one of our communities before the end of June 2014. As we end 2013 we have already reached many communities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The stories from the workshops are encouraging and we have discovered just how much pain and brokenness exists within the communities.

A highlight this year was to see how individuals and families not only visited us in Africa, but how they went home and mobilised their international communities to adopt the African communities they visited on the ground. We also saw short-term volunteers return home and then bring teams to Africa. They refused to just carry on living their lives as they had before coming to Africa. They became advocates among their circles of influence. I stayed in the homes of families all over the world where they would show me photos of our children in Africa and tell me those children’s names. They were praying for them every day!

In 2013 we had our first advocacy day in Chicago and friends of Hands came from all over the US to join us. A number of people with professional careers have cut back their working hours so they can volunteer their time to support Hands. Their skill and time will make such a difference in the countries where they live, and for us in Africa this is such an encouragement to see people accepting our vision with us and committing themselves to it.

Carolyn and George speaking to the Hands at Work family at the Hub in South AfricaAs I mentioned, this is the day of Mandela’s funeral. But this is also the day when Carolyn and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary. Early this morning, as we prayed together we had such a sense of overwhelming gratefulness. God is so good to us! He kept us together, He provided for our daily needs, He blessed us with children, grandchildren, and many amazing friends. He gave us a heart and dream to serve others. He showed us His heart! We raise an Ebenezer today declaring loud and clear that we serve a great and faithful God. Right from the start of our marriage, Carolyn and I agreed what our core values would be and we never negotiated away from them. We held to Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

We want to give that verse to everyone who is part of the Hands family and who believes in the dream of a better life for those we are serving. Hold to a dream bigger than yourself, commit to core values, and be held accountable. Today we stand as living testimonies that once you start to live for others and not yourself, you will always look back and say, “I received undeserving favor!”

George.

 

George in the UK

Hands at Work Founder and CEO, George Snyman, will be in the UK in November! We hope you can come out to one of the following events to hear him speak.  If you would like to know more about Hands at Work, volunteering on the ground in Africa, or God’s calling for His people to serve the poor, these events are an opportunity for you to learn more. 

Saturday November 9th

4:00 – 9:00pm

Great Wyrley, Staffordshire

St Andrew’s Church, Hilton Lane, Great Wyrley  Walsall WS6 6DS

George will be speaking to supporters and friends of Hands at Work and a team who visited Africa in 2013 will be sharing their stories. A shared meal will follow.  Please contact rose@uk.handsatwork.org for details.

www.link4lifeproject.blogspot.co.uk

Sunday November 10th

10:30am

Greenfinch Church

Gusford Primary School, Sheldrake Drive, Ipswich, IP2 9LQ

Phone Jan Bedford on 07977027999 for more details, or visit www.greenfinchchurch.org.uk 

4:00-6:00pm

Battisford Free Church

Straight Road, Battisford, Stowmarket, IP14 2LZ

www.battisfordfreechurch.com 

Tuesday November 12th

London

Wednesday November 13th

Birmingham

George Snyman, Founder and CEO, Hands at WorkThursday November 14th – 7:30pm

Swaziland Fundraiser - £10 per ticket, includes meal

Wade Street Church, Lichfield. WS13 6HL

An evening about the country of Swaziland: the need of the most vulnerable children and the opportunity for Hands at Work supporters in the UK to be a voice for the voiceless in this country. 

Contact 01543254110 for more details.

 

Friday November 15th

Bristol

Sunday November 17th

10:00am

Family Church (formerly Eternity Church)
Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, Surrey GU1 3UX 

www.eternitychurch.co.uk

Monday November 18th

London


We hope to see you at one of the events mentioned above! However, if you are unable to attend but would like to meet George, it may be possible to arrange a meeting that suits you better.  Please note his location on each day and contact Rose at rose@uk.handsatwork.org and Nick at nick@uk.handsatwork.org to potentially arrange another meeting.

 

George in the US

George Snyman, Founder and CEO of Hands at Work in Africa will be visiting many churches and advocate groups in the U.S. from October 4th through the 20th. Here is a breakdown of his schedule. If you are in the area, we would love for you to come out and connect with George. If you would like more detailed information, please contact Lauren at lauren@us.handsatwork.org

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

October 5: Artist Showcase at Christ Church http://www.handsatworkbenefit.com/

October 6: Sunset Church http://sunsetchurchsf.org/

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

October 7

MINNEAPOLIS

October 8 – 11

October 10: St. Leonard's Church http://www.stleonardmn.org/

CHICAGO REGION

October 11- 17

October 12: Event for Hands at Work U.S. Advocates

October 13: Grace Church http://graceinracine.com/

NEW YORK CITY

October 17 - 20

Because I understand that love is not expressed in words but in deeds



 

 

Download Audio File

Today I want to do something dangerous. I want to try to define short-term missions, or teams coming to visit Hands.  Why are we doing it? What does it actually mean?  Maybe I should just say what it does not mean.  It's not a missional experience that we are trying to create, or a sort of short-term outreach that is good for a team to go on as an experience and say "I can tick the box of being in Africa". Rather it's a sacrificial, well planned commitment in friendship through servanthood.  It is ongoing, bringing healing and maturity and encouragement to both those going and those receiving.  Those going are saying, “Because I understand that love is not expressed in words but in deeds.”  Those receiving are saying "I am blessed because I am not forgotten. I'm known by name and I have hope. Many people are coming here to help me, encourage me, and they receive healing themselves."

Initially when we come to Africa it is difficult for us to understand that “me” and “my time” are actually the best gift I could give Africa.  Me, as a person, and my time. It's so hard for us to believe this is really the best we can give when meeting all the amazing people in Africa and experience the pain and suffering in the villages where we work. 

I was recently told a story about one of our Care Workers in one of the communities where we work.  I was told how the words of Jesus in Matthew 25 came alive to her.  The words, "I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. Whenever you give even a cup of water to one of these little ones …" It revolutionized her whole life and the way she cared.  She confessed that now when she gets up in the morning she gets up and she looks for opportunities to have an impact.  She looks for opportunities to reach out,  even if it is only a cup of water to one of the most vulnerable children.  It went further.  One night, late, there was somebody knocking at the door.  Initially she thought she could never open it up and put herself at risk.  Again the scripture came to her.  What if it is somebody that you could help, somebody that is in need?  She opened the door and it was a vulnerable and orphaned girl from one of our communities who was kicked out of the house where she stayed.  She had nowhere to go that night. This young lady who had this wonderful revelation of the word of God, took her into her house and she kept her there. In the morning she went to the hut where this young girl was staying.  She dealt with the dispute that there was and why she wasn't welcome there anymore. She said it changed everything between her and this girl. This girl now trusted her at such a deep level. There was such a strong bond between the two of them that it gave her a beautiful opportunity to become deeply involved in her life.

Yes.  These are stories that we hear at Hands at Work very often.  It's beautiful. Of course we all know these stories are contagious.  We've seen through the years that relationships are the core ingredients that change everything.  We see people coming together from different cultures, different educational backgrounds, different thinking.  And as they knit their hearts together in the dusty roads in Africa, and they meet the children, there's something beautiful and lasting in both their lives.

A part of the Hands Vision has always been that we want to serve the body of Christ. We believe in the body. We believe in the church. We especially believe in the young people coming to Africa and sending them back to take their rightful place as upcoming leaders in their communities and churches.  The volunteers who have been with us from years ago, and a bit more recently, I have met on my journeys when I go to their countries and speak. Some of them come back to Hands and they share their lives with us.  Their voices become tender and soft when they start sharing how grateful they are.  They don't take things for granted anymore. They came to understand and ask “What is the difference between me and the people in Africa?”  That's a humbling experience. It's also liberating. It sets you free and gives you a purpose to live a life that's continually blessing people around you, not just in Africa, but even in their own community. You are compelled to get involved in the lives of broken people around you.

I was recently in Australia with one of our church partners who has been with us for more than 10 years.  The fire is still burning so high in that church. I asked the pastor, “How do you do this? How do you keep the flame alive? You are so compassionate about Africa. Every year teams are coming. Your involvement is amazing. Young people come to serve. It's incredible and it doesn't slow down its actually growing.” The pastor looked at me at that moment and very clearly said to me, "George, we are not good for Africa. Africa is good for us.  Africa's impact in our church is so big.  All of us know that it has played a huge defining role in helping us grow to maturity - to go and see and to go and learn - going to meet people by name.  When they come back it brings purpose, it brings maturity, and it brings life."

Missions don’t exist because there's a church. Churches exist because there are missions and because all of us live to worship our Father and to make His name known. What an incredible privilege to do that in the place where the pain and brokenness and the suffering is at its worst. Surely, surely that is getting very close to our Father.

Diamonds in the Dust

Diamonds in the Dust from Hands at Work in Africa on Vimeo.

 

“Diamonds in the dust.” It’s a beautiful phrase that we have been using in Hands at Work right from the beginning of our history. -Hands at Work Founder, George Snyman

Buried in the backrooms of poor communities, these youth are truly our diamonds in the dust, and worth a lifetime of searching for and discovering them.