…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.

Similar Posts


  1. It’s wonderful to hear of folks working together for such a worthy cause. That people are hungry and without homes is such a tragedy in our country and this is a good reminder that instead of feeling hopeless there are concrete ways we can help.

    While working together with other churches and talking about it here I wonder if you’re sugar coating, or perhaps even obscuring, the LDS belief that you, and only you, are THE ONE TRUE CHURCH. A super quick google search shows that your leader Oaks likens the belief in other churches to the belief in the “anti christ.” This is a direct quote from your church website.

    “The fashionable opinion of this age is that all churches are true. In truth, the idea that all churches are the same is the doctrine of the anti-Christ,”

    Also stated on the website.

    “Only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can we receive the true teachings, essential ordinances, and opportunities to serve that help us return to Heavenly Father.”

    I believe the amazing work this other church is doing (and that you are supporting) is true, and living, and essential.

        1. We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same church/gospel that Jesus Christ established while He lived on earth. We believe certain things were taken from the earth after all His original apostles died, and those things were returned to the earth (or “restored”) through the ministration of heavenly messengers who appeared to Joseph Smith and others during the early history of The Church. Does that help??

          1. As well as believing the ordinances and covenants found in the restored church are necessary for salvation, we also believe that those ordinances and covenants can be made available to people after they die through the work done on the temple. In fact we want to give every singe person that opportunity. Because of this we can trust that all people from all religions who are seeking God will have the opportunity to return to live with Heavenly Father and the Savior, it is definitely not limited to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

          2. Thanks for trying but not really. So much language I don’t understand like “ordinances and covenants” and “ministration of heavenly messages.” Or “the work
            Dine in the temple.”
            Honestly, I don’t know what any of those phrases mean in real practice; kinda sounds like insider jargon

        2. Ok I’m back, Thank you so much to those who offered resources and thoughts to Jenny Also’s good question. (Above and below this comment). I have never heard that talk from President Oaks, but I looked it up, and if you read further, you’ll see this paragraph right after what you quoted:

          “Certainly all churches and philosophies have elements of truth in them, some more than others. Certainly God loves all of His children. And certainly His gospel plan is for all of His children, all according to His own timetable.” I think those parts need to go together.

          I, like President Oaks, don’t think all churches are the same, and that we have some pretty incredible revelation from God to help us navigate this life and make covenants that will help us build our relationship with God, and really, figure out who WE are. I believe that through the restoration of the gospel, like Jill said above, so many truths and ordinance and covenants have been restored to our church that will help us return to God one day and we want everyone to have them! I believe that our prophet has direct revelation from God to help guide us, and I’m SO grateful for him! Because we believe in continuing revelation. It didn’t just come when the church was initially restored, it comes today. If you look at all the changes that have happened in the last ten years you will see it: that continuing revelation. It is a beautiful thing. But that doesn’t mean we have the market on the only truth in the world. Nor that our church is perfect (remember, it is run by imperfect humans). There is truth and light in everyone who is trying to do good.

          If you want to know more about restoration, please read the book called “Restoration” which you can find here: https://amzn.to/3XA8zmg. It helped me to better understand where we are coming from as a church. I love how Patrick Mason explains that in the early days of the church when members were persecuted everywhere they went, they felt compelled to build up a “fortress church” to protect themselves and the doctrine that was so precious to them. I think much of that protective “fortress” still exists and it’s where this idea that we are the only true church sprung from. But I think the Prophet, Elder Oaks, and all the apostles would agree that there is so much goodness and truth everywhere where people are trying to do good.

          And listen to that podcast and come back and tell me what you think, I’d love to know!

      1. I love your blog Shawni, I love your family but don’t try to say you’d have to check this talk out. It’s the foundation on which your church is built, that it is the only church that has the full truth of the restored gospel and the only place from where you can go to the temple, receive ordinances and learn the secret signs you need to get you into the top level of heaven where Heavenly Father and Jesus will be and where your family can all be together after death. Other churches may have truth in them but they don’t have the full truth and therefore their members will not be able to go to the top tier and be with God and Jesus. I joined the church and left after I realised how much of the truth of your church is kept from investigators so they won’t be scared away by the more out there stuff. That’s the reason why people not brought up in the church don’t stay very long, you’ve lived it all your life and it’s normal to you but myself and many others felt lied to about what you really believe and what really goes on. I don’t understand why if it’s true and good and the best, why you just can’t own it and answer truthfully.

        1. Hi Jo! Please see my comment above for more clarification, but I wanted to reach out to you and say I’m sorry if you think my quick thought before I could come back wasn’t truthful. I had never heard that talk before and have never heard of the way was quoted so I wanted to look it up. And I do wholeheartedly think there is truth and light all around us. I am ok saying that I believe my church has the most truth restored from the church Jesus established on earth, and I am so grateful for the framework to help me connect with God and make covenants to return to Him some day. I just have so much respect for everyone who is “answering calls from God” in myriads of ways. There are so many people in this world who will never even hear of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in this lifetime who probably have a much better connection with God than I do and who are sharing much more light than I do, even with this beautiful framework I have to build my faith upon. And I just know that God will make up the difference and it will all work out because He is in charge. Everyone is coming from different angles and I respect and so appreciate all the good ways in the world to live a good life. I just always feel compelled to share mine because I love it and I’m so very grateful for the framework to build my relationships, my family, my faith, to try to understand where others are coming from, and to try to give my heart to God.

          Over and over again.

    1. Every religion believes they are the one that is most right or only right. Heck the atheists also think they are the only ones right. This is America. People can the feel the spirit of Flying Spaghetti Monster if they want to. The weekly dinners are as much to give company as a warm meal to people. Religion doesn’t matter for feeding or joining in a meal. If those speaking to congregations were to say it doesn’t matter which church, shul, mosque or temple you go to, people would leave. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist all give charity including getting people fed. Ironically never heard of the Flying Spaghetti Monster people giving away free pasta. But maybe they do? There are also nonreligious org to feed people.

      1. No. It is absolutely false that every religion thinks theirs is the “most true!” There many religions that don’t think that don’t proselytize at all. Think of all
        The horrible things that have happened from “missions.” The brutality of the CA missions on indigenous Americans is just one example.

        1. If people don’t think the religion that they have chosen and practice is the “most true” then they should not be a part of it. Why would you want to be in a religion that you feel may or may not be true. Of course they all think theirs is the true religion or they would not choose to be involved in it, unless they are just there for the fellowship and potluck casseroles. Proselytizing has zero to do with it.
          And “most true” is a ridiculous oxymoron. True is true and false is false. Everyone can’t be right!

  2. We serve about 200 once a month at our church. Looking for new food ideas. Can you shared what meals they provide? And I LOVE your blog!! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jolene, I LOVE that you do this! We did pulled pork this time. I think they rotate every other month between pork and enchiladas (since our church only provides the meal once a month). I can share recipes and how they assign them out if that would be helpful to you!

  3. Shawni, you and your family do so much good in the world!! And you are an inspiration to me, and so many others. Thankyou!!

  4. Thank you Shawni for sharing your experiences. My family are converts to the lds church. I am thankful everyday that my Catholic Father and Jewish mother listened to the missionaries who happened down their street. I still have a great respect for the Jewish faith and the Catholic faith and for my relatives who still practice these faiths. As others have mentioned there is light and goodness and truth in all faiths and each one of us was born with the light of Christ and we can learn wonderful things from one another.

    1. So beautifully said, Shekra. Thank you so much for sharing, what a beautiful legacy of faith you have come from and what a beautiful framework you are building for your own family merging all that goodness together!

  5. Thank you everyone for the thoughts! (and also for the kindness shared!) This makes me excited for Season 2 of our “In the Arena” podcast where we will be airing a whole episode on faith and growing up in a religious family. I’ll be sure to share here when it airs!

  6. Thank you for posting about this organization. It is in my neighborhood and I have been looking for more opportunities to serve in my community. This may be just what I was looking for.

  7. This comment is for one of the previous posts about the genetic testing for BBS. Comments must be closed on that one….

    Whitney, while that is very responsible of you, I can’t help but wonder – after you selected one of the non diseased embryos for implantation, what did you do to any that were diseased? Flush them? Aren’t they viable humans as well? I think anyone in Shawni’s family would think that was horrifiying. Not that it is, but that is most likely not looked at in a positive light – at least by LDS couples.. but hey, the Pothier’s don’t follow any of the rules that don’t fit in with their life/plans…. so……

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *