In case you missed it: President Nelson’s invitation to #GiveThanks, Black 14 food donation and 7 more stories

During the week of Nov. 16-22, President Russell M. Nelson extended two invitations related to gratitude and reached out to wildfire victims in the Western United States. Ground was broken for the McAllen Texas Temple.

The Church sent emergency supplies and food to Central America in response to recent hurricanes and is teaming up with Black 14 Philanthropy to deliver 180 tons of food to U.S. eight states. This year’s #LightTheWorld campaign kicked off with a new video.

The Church News released its fifth podcast episode, highlighted volunteer efforts with JustServe and compiled invitations President Nelson has extended since becoming President of the Church.

Here are summaries and links to those nine articles below:

1. President Nelson invites the world to #GiveThanks

President Russell M. Nelson records a video message on the healing power of gratitude, which was shared on social media on Nov. 20, 2020.
President Russell M. Nelson records a video message on the healing power of gratitude, which was shared on social media on Nov. 20, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

During this time defined by the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic — as well as racism, violence, political tensions and a lack of civility — President Russell M. Nelson shared “a fast-acting, long-lasting spiritual remedy” with the world on Friday, Nov. 20.

“Over my nine and a half decades of life, I have concluded that counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems. No matter our situation, showing gratitude for our privileges is a fast-acting and long-lasting spiritual prescription,” he said.

Read President Nelson’s full message and his two invitations on gratitude

2. President Nelson gives hope to fire victims in Western U.S.

President Russell M. Nelson addressed wildfire victims in the Western United States on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, asking them to look forward to the future with hope.
President Russell M. Nelson addressed wildfire victims in the Western United States on Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, asking them to look forward to the future with hope. Credit: Screenshot

Following a series of record-breaking wildfires in the Western United States this year, President Nelson promised fire victims on Sunday that their “brightest days are yet ahead.”

“The Lord will perform some of His greatest miracles,” he said in a Nov. 15 video message. “And some of those miracles will be in your lives. If you wonder if happy days will ever return, I assure you that they will. Your children will yet have many opportunities to grow and progress, and your families may enjoy a promising future.”

Here’s what President Nelson promised members of 23 stakes in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho

3. Invitations from President Nelson since he became Prophet

President Russell M. Nelson, center, is announced as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018.
President Russell M. Nelson, center, is announced as the 17th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

In a press conference in January 2018 immediately following his ordination as President of the Church, President Nelson said, “Now, to each member of the Church I say: Keep on the covenant path. Your commitment to follow the Savior by making covenants with Him and then keeping those covenants will open the door to every spiritual blessing and privilege available to men, women and children everywhere.”

President Nelson has issued multiple invitations to help Church members strengthen themselves spiritually — the most recent being to #GiveThanks.

Take a look at other invitations President Nelson has extended in the last three years

4. McAllen Texas Temple groundbreaking

Latter-day Saints and invited guests listen to the dedicatory prayer during the groundbreaking for the McAllen Texas Temple on Nov. 21, 2020.
Latter-day Saints and invited guests listen to the dedicatory prayer during the groundbreaking for the McAllen Texas Temple on Nov. 21, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

On a warm, late-autumn morning with the silhouette of swaying palm trees in the distance, Elder Art Rascon, an Area Seventy, offered the dedicatory prayer to begin construction of the McAllen Texas Temple.

COVID-19 restrictions kept attendees to the Saturday, Nov. 21, ceremony to a minimum; however, the proceedings were made available to Church members throughout the temple district, which includes stakes throughout McAllen, Corpus Christi and Laredo, as well as the northeastern Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon.

Read more about the groundbreaking ceremony for the fifth temple in Texas

5. Black 14 Philanthropy and the Church donate food

Black 14 member John Griffin, of Denver, hugs Elder Rick Balli, of Centennial, Colo., after sharing his thoughts on a food donation partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Salvation Army’s Emergency Service Center in Aurora, Colo., on Tuesday Nov. 17, 2020. Food donated by the Church of Jesus Christ was unloaded and and will be redistributed to a number of charities in Colorado.
Black 14 member John Griffin, of Denver, hugs Elder Rick Balli, of Centennial, Colo., after sharing his thoughts on a food donation partnership with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Salvation Army’s Emergency Service Center in Aurora, Colo., on Tuesday Nov. 17, 2020. Food donated by the Church of Jesus Christ was unloaded and and will be redistributed to a number of charities in Colorado. Credit: Marc Piscotty, for the Deseret N

When 14 Black football players at the University of Wyoming approached their coach to tell him they were interested in protesting a race-based Church policy half a century ago, he kicked them off the team the day before their game with BYU, jeopardizing their educations and football careers.

This week, the 11 living players and the Church are working together to repair that breech by helping others. Latter-day Saint Charities is delivering 180 tons of food, truckloads of food, to eight states near the homes of members of the Black 14.

Why this donation is ‘all about healing and really the Savior’s grace’

6. JustServe’s endless potential for good

JustServe volunteers pick up trash in Warner Valley, near St. George, Utah. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have participated in JustServe projects in recent years.
JustServe volunteers pick up trash in Warner Valley, near St. George, Utah. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have participated in JustServe projects in recent years. Credit: Courtesy of JustServe

“When we serve together,” said President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “we realize that our similarities are stronger than our differences.”

Legions of Latter-day Saints and many others are unifying their communities — even while following the Lord’s second great commandment to “love thy neighbor” — by participating in JustServe.

Learn more about the Church-operated initiative linking volunteers to service projects in their communities

7. Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Deseret News photographer Jeffrey D. Allred

In the fifth episode of the Church News podcast, Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Deseret News photographer Jeffrey Allred about capturing unique moments with Church leaders.
In the fifth episode of the Church News podcast, Sarah Jane Weaver interviews Deseret News photographer Jeffrey Allred about capturing unique moments with Church leaders. Credit: Screenshot

Pulitzer Prize-nominated photojournalist Jeffrey D. Allred has worked around the world capturing iconic images at events from the Olympics to natural disasters. But some of his most beloved photographic memories fall into a special category.

In the fifth episode of the Church News podcast, Allred shares his unique experiences and views of the Church that he has captured through the lens of his camera — from sacred moments at temple dedications to joyful moments of President Russell M. Nelson with children.

Listen to Allred describe how his faith has been strengthened

8. Church sends relief to Central America

Volunteers in Central America help organize Church-donated relief provisions to be distributed to people in the region affected by recent hurricanes.
Volunteers in Central America help organize Church-donated relief provisions to be distributed to people in the region affected by recent hurricanes. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The past several weeks in Central America have been defined by deadly, destructive storms and floods that have claimed more than 100 lives and displaced many more.

Latter-day Saint Charities and local members recently delivered a large shipment of emergency supplies and over 120 tons of food to those whose lives have been upended by Hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Read more on what Latter-day Saint Charities is doing in Central America

9. #LightTheWorld kicks off with new video

The Church launches its annual #LightTheWorld Christmas initiative using the website LightTheWorld.org to provide ideas and resources to serve as the Savior did.
The Church launches its annual #LightTheWorld Christmas initiative using the website LightTheWorld.org to provide ideas and resources to serve as the Savior did. Credit: Screenshot

The 2020 #LightTheWorld campaign was officially launched on Nov. 15, using the website LightTheWorld.org, which includes a new video called “Hope Shines Bright.”

Other resources featured on the website include a daily calendar of 25 simple ways to serve others during the month of December, a lesson about the Nativity, digital and printable pass-along cards, and an option to sign up for #LightTheWorld daily service prompts on a mobile device or via email.

Watch the new ‘Hope Shines Bright’ video