The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a church of service. They strive to serve others in many capacities; sharing the joy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing training to save newborn babies, drilling safe water boreholes, improving vision, and providing disaster relief worldwide. Another area of service comes with the distribution of wheelchairs allowing the gift of mobility.
The Church presented 20 wheelchairs to the CANSA society on 16, August at the CANSA headquarters in Benoni. The wheelchairs will be dispursed to cancer treatments centres to get the patients from their cars into the centre and back after treatment is completed. This simple thing will make a terrible experience a little easier. A wheelchair not only transports the frail body but, more importantly, it eases a burden on a weary soul.
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Joy Henrickz, a Church member and volunteer at the centre, brought the Church and CANSA together as she recognized the need and the ability of the Church to accommodate that need. Relay for Life coordinator, Rina Burke, came on board immediately and expressed her joy at this gift. Mariet Swart, General Manager- Services for Northern Business unit, and herself, a cancer survivor, said in her remarks at the presentation ceremony, “You cannot understand how cancer affects your life unless you have gone through it.” Several cancer survivors were on hand to celebrate and also to receive a “survivor” medallion and T-shirt. The word survivor denotes that a battle has been waged, a great fight has been fought, and this time someone was victorious.
Jacques Van Reenen, a leader of the Benoni congregations, was on hand to represent the Church and express their goal to serve. He remarked about the importance of hope; hope through faith and hope through entities such as CANSA. He quoted Romans 8:24, “For we are saved by hope”; and in the The Book of Mormon, Ether 12:4, “...which hope cometh of faith, making an anchor to the souls of men.” He correlated the advertising on Weetbix which reminds us to be aware of good and bad foods which can contribute to cancers; and also sunscreens which bring relief and protection from the sun. CANSA helps bring relief to the victims and educates the public about what is available as support to cancer victims and families.
Don Peterson, a missionary and the Director of Humanitarian Services for Southeast Africa for the church, spoke about the distribution of more than 450,000 wheelchairs which have been donated worldwide by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1985 with 35,000 of those coming to South Africa. He reminded us of the joy of service and this great opportunity to bring hope to many.