McKenna and Maleah (left) raised funds for Hands at Work through their love of basketball. They also joined the UK team on a trip to South Africa in February.A 10-member team from Locks Heath Free Church in the United Kingdom recently returned home after a two-week stay in our South Africa offices. The group represented their church, which has been supporting a community in Belfast, South Africa for four years. They visited the community to see first-hand who their support and prayers were affecting, to encourage the care workers who volunteer there, and to gain a new perspective from the other side of the world.
“During our time there we met the volunteer care workers from the local church and the orphaned children who will benefit from the funds raised here. We joined the care workers in their daily visits to the vulnerable people in the community and quickly grew to admire and respect their commitment.”
Prior to leaving the UK, the team organized a fundraiser to benefit Hands at Work. They staged a ‘free throw’ basketball contest with a goal of making 3000 baskets over the course of eight consecutive hours. The event was successful, as 3002 baskets were made, in addition to a total of £735 donated to support Hands at Work. Upon reflecting on their experience in South Africa, and visiting the community they were supporting, Sharon, a member of the team, felt that the things they had seen and felt in their hearts would leave a lasting impact on their lives.
“There is so much that I want to take back with me. We went out [to Belfast] on Monday, and we came across this little girl named California. This little girl was so precious, like a diamond. She really shouldn’t be alive and she sang to us. Her hurt and her pain was in her singing, but she was singing that she was only bearing the pain that God had carried and that He had gone to the cross so that she could be saved. She was such a thoughtful person to meet, and God has given her life. I will take that memory back among many other things.”
The group was inspired by what they saw, and concluded their stay with a promise to share the memories with their friends at home, and eventually a return visit.
“The scope of the problem is huge in Africa, but we’re grateful that our family and friends could make a difference by contributing financially and personally to encourage the care workers and orphaned children in Belfast.”