There’s a saying John and Ami Christensen have on their living room wall that talks about family, saying that it’s not always blood, but it’s those who accept you for who you are and would do anything to see you smile. It’s those who love you no matter what.
For Christina, Ryan and Mason Wilson, the Christensens are trying to be that despite a very difficult season of life.
The Wilson kids have lived with the Christensens since early July, right after their mother, Shelly Wheatley, unexpectedly passed away. They lost their father in 2005.
A benefit was held Saturday evening at the Greenfield United Methodist Church to help the Wilson kids. A meal, live auction and silent auction were held as part of the event thanks to a host of volunteers who wanted to help.
John Christensen grew up with the Wilson kids’ ther, Tim.
“He was a year younger than me,” John said. “After high school, we were together, Christina was born, and she was always with us. Her dad and I hung out all the time. Fast forward, when their mom passed away the kids wanted to come live with us.”
John and Ami, who have four grown children of their own, were very welcome to bringing in the Wilson kids.
Christina, who now attends college classes at Southwestern Community College, was involved in basketball, volleyball, dance, FFA and student council in high school. Ryan, a freshman at Nodaway Valley, plays football, basketball and runs track. Mason, an eighth-grader, plays football, basketball and runs track.
One of the things the Wilson kids’ mother, Shelly, is remembered for was being a good mother to them.
“She was a good mom,” John said. “For a single mom to raise three, that’s pretty tough. I don’t think she really ever got over Tim, but she did her best.”
John and Ami are simply trying to be family for the three kids. They’re grateful for a community who wants to stand beside them in this time.
“I’ve brought back out the color coded markers,” Ami said. “We’ve got the schedules pretty much down, have stepped into a routine and I think we’re doing pretty well.”
“We were asked about [having a benefit]. We took the kids in and asked them what they thought. We thought it was a good thing but wanted to include the kids on what they thought of it. The kids are OK with it, so we’re going through with it,” John said. “It’s just a community wanting to help and we want to understand that. It’s very enlightening. We’re very appreciative.”
And the committee who has come together to put on that benefit were eager to see how much their event can help the Wilson kids.
“I have been super thankful for all these ladies [on the committee with me] and all the work that they’ve done,” Pastor Eric Schubert of Greenfield United Methodist Church said. “The response, look at this. This is an awesome thing. I pray that it can be and know it will be, in some way, a blessing to the Wilson kids and I’m thankful for that.”
“It’s a community giving to these precious children,” committee member Darla Baudler added.
Benefit planning committee members included Baudler, Schubert, Deb McElfish, Leslie Russell, Tara Bower, Tanja Wiggins, Susan Marnin and Tisha Davis.