In Ubuntu, Malawi, last year, Charity Ramos of the Sandy Utah Hidden Valley Stake and her 17-year-old son Sam were working hard every day, and they loved it. Despite all the labor — and no cell phones — they had true joy.
“We lived the first two great commandments,” Ramos said. “We loved God, and we loved our neighbor.”
They prayed, attended church meetings, studied the scriptures, shared gospel messages with others and built friendships as they helped build a chicken farm for refugees living in Dzaleka Refugee Camp in the southern African nation.
“We shared our talents, we served with all our hearts, might, minds and strength,” she said.
The Ramos mother and son duo were in Malawi to help a non-profit organization called Fraternity Without Borders. Between July 25 and Aug. 5, Ramos and her son helped lay bricks for the walls of a new chicken farm.
The non-profit organization works to create more services to help build self-reliance among the more than 52,000 refugees living within the camp.
Fraternity Without Borders has also built a school, counseling services, a tailor shop, soap shop, charcoal and woodworking shop, a library and gardens to provide jobs and resources for the refugees — many of them from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ramos said.
When describing the joy she felt during all the hard work, Ramos used the words of Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a talk he gave at BYU–Idaho last February: “When your love of God consumes your service, interests, priorities and affections, you are blessed and joy attends those blessings.”
She said she has a testimony that everyone can feel such joy in their daily lives, because as Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught in April 2022 general conference, when people look unto Christ in every thought, “everything else begins to align. … Over time, it all becomes One work. One Joy. One Holy Purpose. It is the work of loving and serving God. It is loving and serving God’s children.”
On her way to Malawi, Ramos met an African woman in the airport who asked where Ramos and her son were headed. When Ramos told her they were going to be working in a refugee camp, she said the woman told her, “God bless you. Thank you for not forgetting the people of Africa.”
Ramos said since the trip, several of the other Church members who were there have given service and donations to help build self-reliance and educational opportunities at the camp.
She said she knows Heavenly Father has not forgotten the people of Africa.
“He is aware of each of them and we saw and felt this over and over again as we served with them, worked with them and spent time with our refugee and Malawian friends,” she said.