…under a pink sunset sky.
There is so much power in friends.
A while back our Stake President, the church leader who presides over a group of wards (or church congregations) in our area, made friends with a fellow church leader in a different religion nearby.
He found out that this other church had combined with another church to create a ministry to feed the homeless. They had seen a need and had figured out how to make it happen.
They have now been providing a meal for a nearby homeless community every single Tuesday for the past eight years.
They’ve never missed a night.
I just think that’s such a beautiful thing.
So our Stake President asked if he could volunteer with his family.
They said sure.
When he saw how much work this takes, he asked if his church congregation could be involved as well. Because he sure had plenty of willing helpers! And they agreed to let our church help once a month.
So each ward takes a month each year and gets to go to this sacred spot to serve and learn and alongside these members of other faiths.
I know there’s a lot of hoopla around the world about church…who has it “right?” Who has all the answers? So I just think it is extra beautiful when varying religions work together to serve a community. We are all trying to do the same thing after all, right? Become better human beings as we connect to God. And we can do that so much better together in my opinion.
Oh there is so much truth and goodness in the world!
Ok so fast forward to when our congregation’s turn to serve was coming up.
Only a handful of people were needed to actually prepare and serve the food (to nearly 100 people), but we wanted the whole congregation to know about this opportunity and to be involved leading up to when we got to be there.
So we held a donation drive to collect the extra things the ministry told us they were in need of (we had wrapped up big boxes to collect any donations in the two church foyers each week leading up to December 13th when we were assignet to help).
The youth had a contest to see who could come up with the most beanies to donate (warm hats).
The primary kids all wrote special cards we could hand out when we handed out the food.
I got to talk to the lady in charge a few times to help situate, and she is just so full of light and goodness.
We arrived that evening lugging in all kinds of donations, and ready to serve.
They gave us a little tour of what they do there.
They have some wonderful programs to help people get off the street, and there is such a special spirit there.
We had a special welcome followed by a prayer:
We passed out dinners but also the beanies and cards:
I loved that I got to sit at the tables with so many of those who came for dinner, all glad to share their stories as they ate, one in particular making sure I got a picture of his new card from Ruthie above:)
The Pastor from the other church gave such a sweet lesson.
And the spirit filled up that room thick and beautifully.
The lady in charge was happy when I asked if I could come back with my girls the next week (Grace and Claire were coming home from college and I knew they’d love it, along with Lu):
I loved introducing them to the people who run this place, and having them feel the special spirit that was there.
One of the women from another church congregation asked some questions about our religion, and told us how, when she was a young mama, pregnant and with a couple toddlers, members of our church showed up. She and her husband didn’t have any temporal needs, but emotionally she was spent. And that group of women showed up and kept showing up in her time of need. She is eighty-four now and still remembers that all these years ago.
I loved that story and loved that ministering can inspire in so many different ways and through different beliefs and people and religions.
My favorite was watching my girls big smiles, immersed amongst all different faiths and life situations merging together to love and lift.
Didn’t hurt that this guy was there too:
Excited to go back to see our friends again soon.
Yes, there is so much goodness in friends, and I love these ones we’ve met in this other religion who have taught me so much.