Following up on the success of the “Meet the Elders” musical program in 2018, missionaries serving in the Denver North Mission are preparing a 2019 “tour” of a new performance called “Meet the Missionaries.”

Meet the Missionaries promised to be a candid glimpse into the life of a full time missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with all of the associated challenges, opportunities and blessings.  And most of all, the important message they share about Jesus Christ.

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On the afternoon of February 7, 2019, representatives of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met with leadership of the Intermountain Division (Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming) of The Salvation Army.  Elder Thomas T. Priday (Area Seventy) was joined by Jonathan Toronto (Director of Public Affairs, Denver North Council), Heather Scott (JustServe Director, Denver Area) and Aaron Titus (Area Welfare Specialist), represented the Church of Jesus Christ, while Major Mike Dickinson (Commander), Major Richard Pease (Secretary) and Bernard Lodge (Deputy Director of Emergency Services) represented The Salvation Army’s Intermountain Division.

The meeting began with a tour, led by Deputy Director Lodge, of The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services Warehouse in Aurora, Colorado.  During this initial stop, the group discussed the many resources and assets of The Salvation Army which can be used in the event of an emergency to administer relief to the hungry and displaced, as well as to facilitate communications among a variety of government and non-profit organizations.  This discussion included a brief tour of a fully equipped “Mobile Feeding Unit” truck which can be used to deliver meals, on site, in immediate proximity to a disaster site.

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In the fall of 2018 one high school teen had an idea to spread the light of Christ to more people by creating a “Just Serve” club at her high school, Discover Canyon Campus.

Abbie Adams sought out the necessary signature from a principal and obtained a teacher sponsor. Then she set up a booth during their school club sign-up fair.  Sixty students signed up to participate.

This club fills an important niche in the school because there are many clubs and some classes that require the students to do service such as National Honor Society, Spanish club, ROTC as well as Civic classes there in Colorado Springs.

It also provides an opportunity for students not participating in other clubs to complete service hours for college applications and other various reasons without any requirements such as grades or expense.   

The JustServe.org Club is offering one activity per month. Most activities will be held during lunchtime in the school library. Abbie sends out meeting notifications and reminders to all participants through the app Remind.

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Members of the Boulder Stake and the Bishop’s Storehouse donated nearly 1,500 pounds of food and toiletries to the Emergency Family Assistance Association. The EFAA serves the Boulder community in need of basic food and housing and they were thrilled to have a large January donation following the holidays. Individuals in the Boulder Stake collected the donations as part of their #LightTheWorld effort.


Dropping off the donations at Samaritan House

This fall, as John Fielding Toronto was preparing to plan and organize an Eagle Scout project, his father suggested that he contact Mark Hahn, who is over Volunteer and Parish Relations at Catholic Charities, for service project ideas.  Mark was a great help to John Fielding, putting him in touch with Denver’s Samaritan House, a Catholic Charities shelter for homeless members of the Denver community.  Mark also volunteered that Arvada’s St. Joan of Arc Catholic church might also be interested in announcing and supporting the project.

Inspired by these contacts, and leveraging relationships of his own, John Fielding immediately set to work organizing a project to collect travel-sized personal hygiene and other related items to be donated to the Samaritan House.  In particular, John coordinated announcements at Arvada’s St. Joan of Arc parish as well as in his own home congregation (the Arvada First Ward) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in addition to using the “Nextdoor” neighborhood social media platform and making door to door contacts throughout his own neighborhood.

Following weeks of announcements, distribution of flyers and posters, and ultimately coordination of an extensive collection process, John Fielding and a number of fellow scouts, friends and family members gathered and organized products donated for the project.

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Jessica Carney of Arvada felt inspired to do a Christ-centered flash mob during this year’s Christmas season. She invited people from various Christian faiths and held a single rehearsal the night before.

“I want to light the mall with the true spirit of Christmas” said Jessica in the week leading up to the event. She chose the busiest day of the Christmas season and organized the event with the Flatirons mall in Broomfield Colorado.

On December 22nd at 2pm a 4 person mini orchestra began playing “Angels We Have Heard on High” for some surprised shoppers outside of the Nordstrom store in the mall. Soon a small number of voices joined in and before it was over more than 100 voices and instruments were heard singing the message of Christmas. The group included 25 to 30 missionaries and President Savage of the Denver North Mission was present to view the event.

Here is a video recording of the event:

Thank you to all who find their own way to Light the World this Christmas season!


Mayor Hancock, Elder Priday and friends at the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square’s Christmas Concert

It was a big weekend for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Elder Thomas T. Priday, Area Seventy, and Denver South Area Public Affairs Director Craig McIlroy accompanied Mayor Hancock to Salt Lake City for a red carpet weekend. Activities kicked off with a tour of the Bishop’s Central Storehouse.

Shawn Johnson and Mayor Hancock prepare care packages

Not your average service mart, Mayor Hancock was blown away by “so expansive an undertaking.” With the idea that so much of the needed goods are paid for through members’ fast offerings, Pastor Del Phillips, who accompanied Mayor Hancock, said he felt inspired to implement Fast Sundays and Fast Offerings with his congregation. Home to thousands of pounds of food, its own trucking line, and many unique features that enable the Church to be first on the scene at natural disasters, the Bishop’s Storehouse is an impressive sight.

Elder Priday shows Mayor Hancock the Light the World giving machines

Next on the agenda was lunch at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The team got to visit the charity vending machines unique to the Christmas season and used in connection with Light the World. Buyers can choose to give a goat, fresh water, or a myriad of other necessities to people in need around the world. After Mayor Hancock’s introduction to these vending vehicles for good, maybe Denver can be home to a giving machine next Christmas.

 

Mayor Hancock receives instruction at the Family History Center

After lunch, Mayor Hancock was introduced to Salt Lake City’s Family History Center. With one on one attention, he and his associates had access to millions of records, including access to the Freedman’s Bureau. On the trip with Mayor Hancock was Shawn Johnson, Director of Community Relations. She reports being pleased to “have the opportunity to dig deeper into [our] family’s roots.”

Saving the best for last, Mayor Hancock, Elder Priday and their teams rounded out their evening with dinner and a show. Dinner was hosted by Elder Wilford W. Andersen, General Authority Seventy. He presented each couple with their own “Faith in Every Footstep” sculpture. Dinner was followed by the Tabernacle Choir on Temple Square’s Christmas Concert. This was a highlight for multiple reasons. Earlier that day, the USOC announced Salt Lake City as the US nominee for a future Winter Olympics games. Mayor Hancock was able to congratulate Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski in person at the conference center.

Elder Wilford W. Andersen, General Authority Seventy hosts Denver guests for dinner before the show

 

Tale of Two Cities – Denver Mayor Hancock and SLC Mayor Biskupski meet

The biggest highlight was of course hearing Christmas music sung by the Tabernacle Choir. While beautiful in and of itself, the icing on the cake was enjoying special guest artist Kristin Chenoweth sing. Her first number received a standing ovation. Brother McIlroy reported, her presence was “breathtaking from start to finish.”

One year ago, Elder Priday and Brother McIlroy first met Mayor Hancock in his office. Since then, their relationship has blossomed with joint ventures in community service, working together on a faith council, and attending musical events together. Said Elder Priday, “We were able to have substantive discussions with the mayor and his team that will build significant goodwill and relationships for the Church in this area for years to come. It was apparent that they had been touched by the Holy Spirit.”

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Colorado Gives

 

For all who have volunteered time, talent or energy to others in need, it’s easy to understand the feeling of wanting to do more. You might wish for deeper pockets or unlimited resources to make your giving more significant. Today is the day where a bit of that wish comes true. December 4 is Colorado Gives Day, which means that as each of us goes online to give, our donations have potential to be magnified by the $1 Million Incentive Fund. You can help through ColoradoGives.org, a year-round, online giving website featuring more than 2,300 nonprofits. Last year brought in $36 million in a 24-hour period.

Wondering where to start? Below are a few JustServe partners who stand in extra need and would benefit from a boost on this day of giving.

 

 

Volunteers of America

The Volunteers of America provides a variety of year-round support to those in need. Areas that need the most right now include serving meals at a daytime shelter and helping with yard clean up for senior citizens. They also have several volunteer from home ideas that include writing letters to veterans, decorating bags for meals on wheels, or even putting together a craft kit for low income preschool students.

Catholic Charities

In like manner, Catholic Charities offer a variety of services and can use volunteers to help pull together. Current opportunities include helping at a women’s shelter, either serving dinner, decorating cookies, or hosting a movie night. You can also host a Christmas party for residents of Catholic Charities housing, or adopt a family for Christmas.

 

Lutheran Family Services

Lutheran Family Services (LFS) is the largest refugee resettlement agency in the Rocky Mountain region. Every year LFS responds to needs of 30,000 people. One simple but constant need is for diaper donations. Clients often have large families and always need diapers. You can also help with creating baby baskets for refugee families who are either expecting or have just had a new baby.

In this season of giving, and as we Light the World, we hope you will consider joining in this day as Colorado Gives.