During winter, Donavan Kack, Trout Creek Adventist Church pastor, met with church elders to identify and pray about needs in their church and the surrounding community. A primary concern identified was the depression and suicide epidemic our community seems to be facing after the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the outreach ideas born in that meeting was the thought that our local church should host meetings by Neil Nedley here in small-town Montana.
A live seminar by Nedley? Isn't he the president of Weimar University and the founder of a world-recognized depression recovery program? We continued to receive both text messages and phone calls asking if he was really going to come in person.
It seemed like a big idea for such a little town, but they gave him a call and, within a few weeks, God had worked it all out. Nedley and his wife were indeed coming to Trout Creek, Montana, May 5–6, 2023.
That's when the hard work started. Flyers were created and passed out, signs printed, neighbors invited and several local Adventist churches came together to plan and provide a sumptuous vegetarian haystack lunch for all the attendees. A larger hall was needed, so a local non-denominational church was rented. Local church members and our local church-school teacher planned children's programming during the meetings.
During the preliminary introduction, an elder welcomed Nedley to "Nowhere," Montana. Nedley responded, "Well, there sure are a lot of people who live in 'Nowhere,' Montana!" That night, the audience was around 25% community and highly engaged. Everyone was taking notes, photos and asking questions during the Q & A session at the end. Everyone was excited to learn more about how nutrition and brain chemistry work together toward our emotional health.
The following day brought an even larger crowd, filling the church with more than 200 people from all walks of life, eager to learn how to "Optimize Emotional Health in Children and Adolescents" and "Correcting Thinking Errors to Improve Emotional Intelligence," ending the day with "Understanding Dopamine to be Addiction-Proof." The sessions kept everyone spellbound and left them excited and empowered for the positive possibilities of the future.
Ultimately, all received a huge blessing. It was beautiful to see multiple churches work together for the common goal of sharing hope and the light of Jesus with our community, and it has inspired us to continue to think big for Jesus.