Here we feature some of the faces you’ll see around Harvest City Church and dig a bit deeper into who they are and how they live for Christ in their daily lives.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves and your family.
My name is Florence. I’m from Zimbabwe and I’m married to Vincent. I’ve been at Harvest City Church since 2004 and I’ve got 6 kids, Connie, Suko, Virginia, Abraham, Nozipho and Jonathan.
Florence, what do you do for a living?
I’m a social worker in mental health. I work with a team of doctors, psychologists and nurses to support patients with their care needs in a forensic low security unit. We deal with people who have developed mental health issues while in prison. They are brought to our service because they can’t be managed in prison without impacting their mental health. My job is quite diverse as I get to work with both the patients and their families on a range of issues like safeguarding, finances and children.
How do you think your duty as a social worker is serving God?
It’s difficult to deal with people who have committed crimes and also understand their mental health issues. There’s a stigma attached to mental health. As a social worker, I find it rewarding working with those people because people don’t understand what families go through, they only look at the patient. My role is giving an emotional support that they need but they didn’t have, and serving other needs that other professionals don’t really meet. I look after people who otherwise would be ignored, and that is how my work can serve God. Busyness is one of our biggest excuses for not spending enough time with God.
How do you make sure that you always put God first with a big family and a busy job?
What I like about my home is that we are people who put God first, no matter what happens. There’s a lot happening behind the scenes, not just for us but with our family and the things we go through day to day. But we have realised if you put God first everything will fall into place. I wake up every day at 5.30 in the morning, to pray for 30 minutes. I can’t go to work without praying. That time is for me and God, before I even do anything else. I’m the first one in to the office, just so I can pray for my job, which I find very beneficial. With my commute I work 12-15 hours a day. But I’ve always known God will give me strength. There is no way I can live without church. We always put our church first. If we don’t make it then something serious has happened!
You and Vincent lead the Care Team. Could you explain what the Care Team does and the important role it plays in the church?
The Care Team is one of the most challenging areas as it takes heart and time. It’s not a programmed thing, but I can’t count the number of people who have benefited from this it. We make meals for people (like those who have just given birth), we visit people in hospital and we support people in times of loss. We have an opportunity to be with that person at that precious time of their life. We pray with people and bring a word of encouragement. Just talking to people who are going through tough times, we have seen the benefits of it and it has helped us, too.
As the church grows, Pastor Chip and Sarah and the elders can’t be everywhere to support everyone. You never know what people are going through; they come to church and they pretend that everything is ok, but when you visit them at home or when you speak to them that’s when you see. It’s not easy to stand on your own two feet in difficult times. We give time to people and just talk to them, hear what they feel, try to support them and help them pick themselves up. So many people have really appreciated that.
What is it about helping and working with people that you are drawn to?
It gives them hope. That’s the key. When you have someone to talk to it really gives you hope. No matter how much faith you have, life can throw things that seem beyond you, and you need someone to stand with you and support you going through it.
In work I can’t pray, but inside I do pray. I have consultants and agents coming to me and saying “I believe you can pray for me.” Although they don’t come back to say so, but you can tell afterwards that they have benefited. Even the team I’m working with, they look at me and they know that I am a Christian. I stand on my faith and I believe in it. No matter what I go through, no-one can tell unless I tell them. That’s how God strengthens you. You walk with confidence, knowing that God is with you and that He’s on your side.
Vincent and Florence are Core Leaders in Harvest City Church and lead the Care Team providing help and support to people in need.