Arise & Build

Smiling Again

“Ilary is smiling again.”  In October and November of 2010, George Snyman shared with churches and groups all over the Midwest the joy that filled his heart when he heard those words.  Ilary, a Mozambiquan refugee in South Africa, used to wake up each morning not knowing if and how she would eat that day, and her haunted gaze used to keep George, founder and CEO of Hands at Work, awake at night.  But Ilary’s story, which George shared often on his recent tour of the U.S., is a story of hope, thanks to God’s grace and the home-based care volunteers in Ilary’s community.   

Some highlights of George’s tour in the U.S. included:

  • Celebrating with old friends at Grace Church in Racine, Wisconsin, and sharing with them the latest on the impact their church has made in rural Susu, Zambia
  • Worshipping God with The Spark in Kenosha, Wisconsin
  • Radio interviews with Milwaukee Public Radio and Chicago Public Radio
  • Praying for Daniel and the entire village of Baraka, Zambia, with supporters in Chicago
  • Sharing the story of George’s adopted daughter Nikiwe at Salem Baptist Academy in Chicago
  • Making new friends and sharing dinner with old ones at Bethlehem Bapist Chruch in Minneapolis
  • Celebrating a cold, snowy Thanksgiving in Minnesota
  • Speaking at a new church located in Garden Grove, CA, called Cornerstone. 
  • Sharing dinner with advocates Stephen and Amy Jo, who are committed with their friends to raising support for orphaned and vulnerable children in Ilaje, Nigeria
  • Stopping finally in Puerto Rico, where advocates Isa Velez, Diane and Dolores Rodriguez are busy translating Hands materials into Spanish in order to spread the word about Hands in their country

Thank you all for your prayers and support for George’s trip!  Plans for 2011 are already underway.  If you are interested in getting involved with George’s next trip to the U.S., please email

 Chicago supporters praying for Baracka, Zambia, and for George


 George on the chilly waterfront of Lake Michigan with Jed and Pam Heubner


Sharing about Africa with students from New Trier High School in Glendale, Illinois

A Taste of Africa

 “In 2008, more than 14 million children in sub-Saharan Africa had lost one or both parents due to AIDS.”

 “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the rights of all who are poor.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Proverbs 31:8-9

From Taste of Africa Fundraiser

On Tuesday, June 1, my wife and I who have spent 3 years serving with Hands at Work in Africa hosted, “A Taste of Africa,” a fundraising dinner and awareness event at Grace Lutheran Church in our hometown of Hibbing, MN. 

We have been so challenged by what we have seen during our time here that we wanted to share stories and challenge others to take action. 

We started planning an event before we left South Africa where we are working.  After debating for awhile what we should do we decided on doing a traditional “African” meal.  The meal consisted of chicken, mealie mealChakalaka, Coleslaw, and ifisashi

After the dinner we shared a video and then a presentation about what Hands at Work and the church in Africa are doing in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.  People were shocked to hear that 6000 children a day will lose a parent.  The devastation we have seen throughout Africa caused by disease and poverty is immense.  But the hope that churches across Africa are bringing to their communities is also astounding.  Hands at Work in Africa works through local churches in communities in Africa.  They find areas where HIV/AIDS infection rates are high and support structures like clinics and hospitals are low, and then challenge the church with what the Bible says about helping the poor, orphaned and widowed.

James 1:27, “Pure religion is to help the poor and widowed in their distress and keep oneself unstained by the world.”  Having seen what we have seen it is impossible to stay silent.  To find out more about what Hands at Work in Africa is doing to help visit  To read more about the affects of HIV/AIDS on Africa go to or visit