Once upon a time two church denominations became friends. Why does this not happen more? Is it because we are so worried about being “right” that we forget that we are all worshipping the same God? And all trying to be like the same Jesus? Or maybe we just don’t think about it enough. I don’t know, but I love this relationship that has blossomed over the last few years between our church congregation and another local Christian denomination. To honor those lost on that fateful September 11th all those years ago, our church got to join our “friend church” to pull of a pretty large-scale service project. Oh I loved this day working with the Lutheran church to make a difference on the Saturday before September 11th.

I just love the lady who runs this ministry and her golden heart. They feed the homeless community in a few different locations every single Tuesday evening. Our church joins them once a month. I love that it has created such a wonderful friendship.

Our September 11th project with the Lutheran Church

For this special September 11th project, I loved meeting at their church that Saturday, filled with mountains of donations, both clothing and food that they are in need of for their ministry.

service project with the Lutheran church

Here’s the woman with the golden heart:

a lady with a golden heart at the Lutheran church

I am kicking myself I didn’t think to take a photo until after all the piles and piles of food donations were sorted and taken to the truck…and shoulder to shoulder helpers. But here’s a little of the aftermath:

large donations for our service project

There were so many clothing donations that they had to rent a storage unit to keep some while they work through the first wave. I love that Lucy was so willing to help, even carrying tons of boxes to help move.

We packed that unit high and deep.

I also love that Dave actually agreed to come with me to Walmart the night before to gather extra supplies no one had signed up for. (He is not a big Walmart fan…ha!).

Hopefully there are lots more ways to join together trying to do what Jesus would do in the future. So much synergy in working together in love.

Lots of thoughts about the “one true church” in the comments of this post. So much truth and goodness everywhere in the world!

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  1. You just sent another child off to tell others they are ‘wrong’. A Lutheran never knocked on my door nor approached me in public. Volunteering and time to study are fine of course. Lovely right of passage. I just don’t get the rest.

    1. Oh I really appreciate this comment. I think even missionaries get this confused sometimes. The way I see it, the purpose of a mission is to “give Jesus” to those who are seeking and wanting. Not to tell anyone they are wrong, but to add more Jesus if they are interested. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints we believe we have truth restored from the church Jesus established on earth. It gives us a beautiful framework to help us connect with God and make covenants to return to Him some day. It augments the faith people have in “God’s Many Voices” (such a good podcast that is perhaps my favorite of all time: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/faith-matters/id1307757928?i=1000535905354)
      A missionary serves to share this “good news” message that can help augment the faith and beliefs of others, if they would like to take it. Add more to their foundations. But there are people all over the world “answering calls from God” in myriads of ways. There is so much to learn from them, too!
      Claire actually talked about this in her farewell talk at church and I loved it so much. She told about how she had this beautiful evening at Westminster Abbey while studying abroad in London. She talked about how she looked around at all those faithful people and questioned why she was heading on a mission. Those people earnestly worshipping didn’t need her to come in and try to “change” them. And then she realized she wouldn’t be trying to change them at all. She just had more to give them if they wanted to hear it. And if not, she would have the opportunity to learn from them and how they connect to God in their own ways. We have so much to learn from each other!

      1. Since I’m close in age to you I am old enough to remember them knocking on the door, the attempts to market the religion from ordinary members. But I’m not trying to pick at that just answering the question you wrote earlier of why we all don’t work together and leave each other be. Seems odd coming from a person actually in the religion to wonder such a thing. For some reason you want everyone else to convert. It’s in the marketing. Changes made to attract converts. I’m sure your daughter is learning Chinese and hoping someone will want to be baptized. If she runs into a Chinese Lutheran in Australia she isn’t going to encourage them to return to the Lutheran faith. It seems to matter which Sunday building people go to in your church. Your church also seems excessive in volunteering so glad you filled some slots up for them.

        1. I can see where you’re coming from with your thoughts since missionaries work hard to share their message. When you have something you love that you believe has the power to make lives better, you want to share. The power of the Atonement to help us through all our sorrows and the hardships that come our way. The gift of repentance. The strength that comes from working to build strong families. A community to find belonging as you all work to be more like Jesus. The comfort that comes from coming to know the Savior in a deeper way through attending church and studying the scriptures. This stuff has the power to change lives for the better. There are so many people in the world who need comfort right now.
          If people are feel they are getting these things in their own religion and don’t want to learn more, I sure hope missionaries respect that and just love them!
          I think that’s what I love so much about this joint service effort and the joining of any varying religions in mutual respect, putting in the work to lift others. There’s lots of power there.

  2. the biggest message in the Gospels is to serve one another. This is Jesus’ biggest message- “love your neighbor as yourself”. To help others- in any capacity is doing the right and good work. I’m Catholic but mostly I’m just spiritual- deep into my spiritual journey. To Kristine and others- there are many paths up the same mountain. Despite dogma and teachings that differ- seems that the goal is the same. I’m a social worker and I appreciate anyone helping and serving in good ways.

    1. I love what you said about the goal being the same: serving one another. If we realize this we have so much synergy working together.

  3. Your comment to Kristine was even more beautifully written than the post itself if that is possible. I attend a Lutheran church, but not regularly. Over the years I have been visited at my home by a few of the wonderful young lady missionaries from the LDS church and I adored each visit with each young lady. I learned so much from them and I even attended a few events that they invited my daughter and I too. My daughter and I had moved back from living internationally and it was as if God had/did send them. We needed and looked forward to their visits each week. They will never know the impact they had on us, but may God continue to bless each young lady wherever this finds them today. I’m sure that your daughter will make such an impact in Australia as well xx

    1. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful thoughts, Theresa! I’m sure you helped those sisters as much as they helped you…two girls just trying to do good out in the world and you took them in and listened. Thank you from a fellow sister missionary mama.

  4. I live in the Midwest in a rural town of about 11,000. It’s common for churches to work together. Earlier today, “Meet me at the Pole” had students from at least ten different churches out 21 in town. Church groups together run a food pantry, a weekend food program for students, grief support groups, etc.

    My backyard borders the LDS meeting house. It’s not uncommon for missionaries to come to the border of our yards and ask to help me with yard work and chat. They are always kind and respectful but not willing to dig into differences in beliefs. I’d enjoy and learn from a discussion comparing doctrines, sacraments, history, etc. My opinion might be skewed but it seems the missionaries who visited me didn’t want to talk to someone knowledgeable in a belief that is not theirs. I didn’t get the sharing vibe so I’m glad Clare is thinking about that perspective. I hope she has a wonderfully powerful experience.

    1. Thank you Kara! I’m so glad you’ve been able to make contact with the missionaries. I do think that although missionaries go through training, it’s for a short amount of time, and they are still learning. They are young still and still have lots to learn. I sometimes have to remind myself that with my kids too. Many may not be quite ready to delve into deep doctrine of other religions since they’re still learning their own. I remember going to the MTC after having grown up in my religion all my life and learning things there that I swear I had never heard of before. Ha!

      Anyway, each missionary comes from such different circumstances and has such a different personality. I hope you keep trying to relate, and I hope they will be open to learn from you just as you may learn from their earnest endeavors to share from their hearts.

      We just had the missionaries in our area over for dinner the other day and my heart goes out to them, especially since Claire had freshly left. They are doing things so out of their comfort level, but they learn so much! Especiallly when kind people like you are willing to talk to them.

  5. Thanks for not posting my comment, Shawni. Very inclusive of you. You post Kristine’s ramblings but not actual questions…

    So I’ll ask again and see if you have the sense of fairness to post and maybe even answer me.

    Since you said that the followers of the non LDS religions are sincere, devout…. If they like their choice of church then, hey – great!

    So they will be with the Mormons at the highest level of heaven? Standing beside you in front of Heavenly Father?

    Please, do a hard thing here and respond.

    1. The LDS absolutely do believe that they and only they who have been through the temple and made their covenants will go to the top tier of heaven and be with Heavenly Father AND Jesus Christ. The missionaries are much more of a hard sell than Shawni is admitting here, they absolutely want you to join their church because they think it is better than yours and if you want to join then your baptism in a different ‘denomination’ doesn’t count and you need to be baptised again. If you were a relative of hers and you died having not joined then they would do temple work for you, baptism, anointing and sealings for you so that you can accept them after death if you wish to. I don’t doubt that Shawni is anything but honest in her professing of love for everyone and I know her to be a very kind and caring person, but it’s untrue to suggest that the missionaries will just leave you alone, if you once express any interest at all they will continue to try and contact and convert you. The lds church do believe that they are the one true church on the face of the earth and that yours is not good enough. Sure they’ll visit other places of worship on holiday and think they are beautiful and the people sincere but by saying they are the one true church, they can only say yours isn’t good enough or they wouldn’t be true to their beliefs. Which is fine, what they believe is fine but it would be much better to own it than to say there are many paths to God. LDS doctrine doesn’t allow for that.

      1. Jo, you’re right, some missionaries will be so excited to share what they know they may not know when to leave people alone. It sounds like maybe you’ve had experience with this? Just know that those cute kids are sure trying! There are all kinds of missionaries out there, from all kinds of different backgrounds and situations, and with all types of different social skills.

        I think what you are referring to at the end of your comment is that we believe that God’s authority for baptism and ordinances has been restored to the earth so we believe in baptism with that proper authority. So if people are wanting to join the church, they are baptized again even if they’ve been baptized before. It doesn’t mean they were wrong, it just means they are taking another step. This whole life is about progression.

        I know people of our faith have said this is the “one true church” but I think what they are referring to is that we believe we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. That same gospel that was lost after Jesus and the apostles were gone, restored in the latter days. There are many keys and covenants to be shared with anyone who will listen. Things that help build the scaffolding to return to God some day. Beautiful truths that we hold sacred and want so much to share. We have a prophet who we believe truly receives revelation for the church. And he is so awesome you guys! I’m so sad he won’t be at conference this weekend because of an injury, but look up any of his talks and try not to feel the love he’s sharing from God. It’s tangible.

        But anyone who has felt stirred by other religious services, while reading sacred texts, while communing with God in myriads of ways knows that there is so much truth in the world. God has many voices and whispers to people of all faiths who are seeking HIm. I know I’ve shared this podcast before, but I’ll share it again because it explains this so much better than I can! Here you go:
        Here it is on a different platform maybe easier to listen to if you’re not an Apple person:https://pod.link/1307757928/episode/bed212932d5c5345264d7e3c48c4b870

    2. Hello Jenn! I’m not sure what comment you are referring to that I didn’t post? I’m genuinely so curious why you sound so angry. I find it really difficult to engage in conversation with people who are hostile. Doesn’t seem to serve any purpose to me. So I don’t generally respond when that happens. I love to build mutual respect and to be able to learn from each other though! If you are genuinely seeking to understand, perhaps it would be good to re-read your comments before you send them to see what kind of tone you are sending out into the world.

      Giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming this question does come from honest curiosity, we believe there are lots of things we can and must do to help us return to God. Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost are all important steps. (Acts 2:37–38). This is what missionaries are trying to teach and share. We believe that we have authority from God restored to the earth to help people take these steps. To help them make sacred covenants with God. But we believe that truly turning ourselves to God is more than just the words and steps. It is a continual process of being “born again.” Repentance, softening our hearts, and striving to love God and love our fellow man. There are so many not in my faith who do this better than we do! So perhaps they’ll be closer to God when it’s all said and done. Thankfully we don’t have to be the judges of that.

      There will be so much to learn at General Conference this weekend…you should join in and listen!

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