In July, Phil McLaughlin led a team from Sunbury Baptist Church, Australia, to South Africa, where he spent three weeks: two weeks with the team in various communities and one week supporting a building project in Sommerset Community. He reflects on worship and justice.
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.
When I first came to Africa, I think that I subconsciously associated the word ‘brokenness’ with weakness. I was fearful of sharing the broken areas of my heart because I was embarrassed by my past and ultimately feared rejection and judgement. I struggled to share because I didn’t fully understand and recognise the depth to which the brokenness and pain in my heart had spilled over into many different areas of my life.
We are grateful for the amazing support that we have seen growing in our church and surrounding communities. We have not only seen God’s hand in this but we have witnessed a deep appreciation for what Hands at Work is doing. Through regular visits and strong relationships, people have realised the love and trustworthiness that Hands at Work is based upon and therefore are willing to support the work with their finances and prayers.
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.
“I find that often people think of discipleship as something that needs to be taught in a course but from what I can see in the Bible and from personal experience, discipleship is being with people and walking through life with them. If I think back to the people who have discipled me, I think about the people who have spent time with me and have been a part of my life. It is the act of being together.”
“I recall that when I came back from my family's six week trip to South Africa in 2011, I promised that I would remember the orphans every day — that I would not take what God has blessed me with for granted. But six years later, my friends and I were struggling to make this fundraiser a reality. Our priorities were focused on our individual universes that orbited around shallow, temporary things that should not have been guiding our lives.”
George Snyman will be visiting Germany and the UK at the end of May to the middle of June. 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.
Jesus was born to die and, in doing that, won for me a life that He desires to be lived in all its fullness. Easter also helps me to surrender myself afresh to living a life that honours Christ and seeks to serve those around me. For me, it’s a time of thankfulness, self-reflection and recommitment.
A relative of Kayin’s took advantage of his already vulnerable situation, using him to work for far too small a wage which proved insufficient to provide the family with enough food and basic necessities. Morufa Taiwo, a Care Worker from the Apatuku CBO, who lives nearby to Kayin, was quick to involve the other Care Workers when she recognised the extent of the challenges that life was throwing his way.
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.
Before he could even walk, Agnes would carry him on her back and he would look on as she cultivated her small plot of land, often working for 12 hours a day. Today, eight-year-old Jonah accompanies his grandmother to her field when he is not in school. He plays his part in helping his grandmother to secure their future.