In our short history as a church, we at Connect have been able to make some incredible changes in the lives of many overseas. Over the past months, we've supported Hands at Work Africa by sponsoring children and raising funds for supporting the volunteer care workers in their efforts to provide home visits, daily nutritional meals and access to education for the most vulnerable in Mulenga, Zambia. Currently, they are supporting 175 children which is astounding and speaks volumes about the commitment and selflessness of these volunteers who often give of themselves and their own meagre resources.
As a result of the work of advocates in Saskatoon, and the partnering of several churches in our city, we have been able to secure the finances to ensure that these children are sponsored and cared for for a full year. This is amazing! It not only is so integral to the lives of these children and their care givers, it is such an encouragement to the care workers who volunteer day in and day out to provide for them. They know that they are not alone and that there is a city across the ocean filled with people who love and support them.
As a result of this milestone, we at Connect Church are going to be taking on responsibility for a newly formed group of volunteers in the community of Sukubva, Zimbabwe. What this means is that for those of you at Connect who have committed funding to Mulenga, Zambia, we ask that you continue this support as usual. For those of you who are new to Connect or maybe have not connected to Hands at Work at this point, there is a new opportunity to get involved in changing the lives of vulnerable and orphaned children.
In 2012, my family, which consists of my husband, Jason and our two sons, Aidan and Easton, who were 13 and 10 at the time, travelled to Africa and spent 4 months volunteering with Hands at Work. We spent a month in Zimbabwe and in Sukubva and it was an incredible experience. Sukubva started out as mining community, with accommodations built to house single men who would come in from outlying communities to work in the nearby diamond mines. As the economy and governments changed, these accommodations soon became home to many families searching for work in the nearby city of Mutare. It's hard to describe the conditions that people are living in and the incredibly tiny spaces that they are crowded into in their search for shelter. Whole families living in tiny rooms, sharing spaces with other families with only a blanket divider for privacy, children and parents and unrelated others sharing accommodations that were never intended for more than an overnight shelter for a single man. The care workers in Sukubva are an incredible example of Christ's love for their neighbours. They walk miles and visit children who are vulnerable. They have started to feed preschool children so that older siblings are able to go to school and know that their younger siblings, that they are responsible for in so many instances, are cared for and looked after in a safe place. This is what we at Connect feel that God is calling us into. Partnering with the care workers in Sukubva means supporting the children in the program so that there are finances in place to purchase food for them and to provide access to education. It means giving of our finances, our time and our resources to stand with them and speak up for those that have no voice. We will send teams to encourage and support and learn with the care workers and we will advocate on behalf of the Sukubva care workers for the children in their community.
In the next while, I will be introducing some of the incredible care workers to you as we learn more about this community that will hopefully become a place that resides in your hearts as you connect with them. We will also be taking a team to Sukubva in October 2015 so if you are interested, please let me know and we can talk through the details of that.
Let's move into this with celebration for all that God has accomplished through our Saskatoon Hands at Work family in Mulenga and looking forward to the partnership between the Sukubva care workers and our Connect Church YXE family.