All God’s Children

Through the eyes of three families, All God’s Children tells the personal story of the first boarding school for children of missionaries to be investigated for abuse at the hands of the parents’ missionary colleagues. The survivors and parents share their journey of seeking justice, redemption and healing.
The Beardslee, Shellrude and Darr families left North America for West Africa during the 1950s. They followed what they believed to be God’s Calling – to spread Christianity throughout the world.
Their children however – starting at the age of 6 – were required to attend the boarding school in Mamou, Guinea, run by the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Cut off from their families for 9 months out of the year and without any reliable means of communication, the children quietly suffered emotional, spiritual, physical and/or sexual abuse at the hands of the all-missionary staff.
It took the children decades to acknowledge the effects the abuses had on their lives. When they finally dared to break the silence and speak out, the Church denied all allegations and refused to help.
But through years of persistent activism the survivors and their parents finally compelled the Christian and Missionary Alliance to conduct an investigation and acknowledge the abuses. The healing could begin.
The investigation of the Mamou Alliance Academy was the first of its kind but has since inspired investigations at other schools of many different denominations. For more information, resources and links to support groups, please visit the official site.

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  1. What a horrible thing to have to
    endure! I felt awful for Howie Beards…(Sorry can’t remember the spelling). He
    will need a tremendous amount of therapy to be able to move on for his own
    sake. I felt his mother had little remorse and almost laughed her way through
    interviews. Perhaps that is her way of dealing with the situation, but I
    expected a lot more remorse and sadness (of course she knew it wasn’t a good
    place-otherwise she would have asked her children what it was like and she
    would have investigated why her son hated going time and time again). Also, why
    weren’t the police involved? Why wasn’t this taken through the justice system? Why
    did the organization just take away their “license”? Why didn’t they go to the

    Also why weren’t the abusers held
    accountable-even if they were dead, why didn’t the victims approach and
    confront the family members of the abusers? I like that we were told what
    happened and that the church organization apologized but really they were not
    sorry since no one was ever put in jail and criminal charges were never
    assigned to them.

    Also, in that decade, parents were not
    encouraged to have open relationships with their children, like we have now. My
    parents never talked to their parents about important matters such as feelings
    and abuse was quite common. I am not saying that this is an excuse but it is
    the reality of that time.

    My heart goes out to the victims
    and their families. I do hope that in time there will be complete healing. It
    saddens me to think that this school/organization has given evangelical
    Christians a bad name.

  2. This brought back childhood memories that I wish would have been blotted out of my memory. Forced to strip naked and being switched or beaten with a belt I felt humiliation and shame. Another adults word was truth and contradictions of a child was a lie and got you beaten in the same way.
    I learned to just do what they wanted me to or my parents would beat me if anything I did or did not do displeased big people. Don’t talk or ask about the things people were doing to me because I was lying and beaten until I would say the truth was a lie, and then get beaten more to teach me about lying. In the 70’s going to school with bruises and cuts a kid my former neighbor told a teacher about my wounds inflicted by my father the teacher said nothing to anyone.
    This was not a different country this was in America and NO one would tell any parent what they could and could not do with disciplining their kids especially in God fearing communities.
    If have anything to offer as wisdom in my life its this.
    Hitting your kids is not going to make good adults tomorrow.

  3. This documentary took a while for me to warm to, I was ready to stop watching after 15 mins, but I decided i shouldnt rate it badly and not watch it all. After seeing the whole thing i warmed from a 3 to a 6 out of ten. I wont say much more as I dont have a lot that is productive to say.

  4. Quite a good documentary but seems to be more based on the reaction of the children than what actually happened.

    • Thank you! Time-wise it’s actually about half and half in the documentary – about what happened during their childhoods and then how they dealt with it in their adult years.