Ministering To Our Father’s Children” is a series of periodic articles compiling selected journal excerpts of Brother Christensen, who has travelled to many parts of the world providing charitable service to the poorest of our Heavenly Father's children, many living under the most severe of conditions. Experiences he describes [without editing] have been organized into collections that demonstrate Christ-like attributes or qualities shown by these people.
Psalms 30: 5 ….”weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
2 Nephi 2: 25 ….”and men are, that they might have joy.”
Over the past eight years, I have travelled the world, seeking out children who have been orphaned by disaster, disease, violence or poverty. This endeavour has taken me to Haiti, the Philippines, Guyana, Japan and many parts of Africa.
Although born and raised in Canada, I have felt a need to help my young brothers and sisters wherever they might be. I have sought out those who could not help themselves and provided the blessings my Father has given me with the charge to, 'Feed my sheep'. These accounts are some of the many wonderful experiences I had through this work in Africa.
For many years, I was of the opinion that people who lived in poverty would also be the most despondent and unhappy. As I have spent much time with people in the poorest of
circumstances, I have come to learn that joy and happiness do not come from having a comfortable life and an abundance of possessions. African children have taught me that true joy is a feeling that we experience when we feel loved and comforted. Happiness can be experienced without any possessions and enjoyed by two friends just spending time together.
African children love to sing. They don’t just vocalize the words, they put their heart and soul into it. Today, I unexpectantly visited one of our homes in Nairobi. As the children saw me coming, they ran out of the building and started singing. The younger ones took me by the hand and brought me into their shack where they continued to sing with all their hearts. Then a sweet little 12-year-old broke out into a beautiful solo with the rest of the children joining in at the chorus. It was heaven.
We support the school which is also a children’s home. Unfortunately, there is not a great amount of support for the disabled in Africa so we have become a lifeline to these wonderful children.
Journal Entry: NO BALL TO PLAY
On my travels through Mozambique, I came across a children’s home in a remote part of the country. The children were aged from 6 to 16. They seemed to be fairly well cared for, but spent most of their time sitting around with not much to do. I noticed a basketball hoop that had been put up years ago and asked why they don’t play ball. In a sullen tone, they responded that they had no ball. In a nearby village, we purchased a ball and then had to search to find a pump for the ball. Having found a pump, we then had to look for a needle which took a while to locate. Once all together, the ball was brought to the centre. There was instantly a buzz of excitement as the boys all jumped at the chance to play. I tried to show them some moves, but they move so fast they kept overtaking me for the ball. We had a great time and laughed all afternoon as we played together.
Of all the children struggling in the slums, it is the street children who fare the worst. They have no home or shelter and struggle through the night sleeping under bushes or in culverts to try and stay dry. They have no food and survive by either begging or stealing. I have been accosted several times, but I understand their motives and give what I can. Their clothes are tattered and they are rejected by all. Bringing them into homes is often difficult as they are unaccustomed to confinement in any way. The longer a child struggles in the street, the deeper those instincts become in their character.
In all my journeys, I have found children laughing, playing and singing in the most dire of
circumstances. When they feel accepted and recognized, they radiate the positive feelings that are within them. There are often no words required. Oh, that we could return to those pure and simple sources of contentment.