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How Great Shall Be My Joy!
21 minutes | May 16, 2022
Episode 37: Joy With A Temple Open House!
The Washington DC Temple Open House is currently going on. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit and share with five people the opportunity to visit our temple open house. It’s rare that that many missionary opportunities naturally surface in one day, so I made it the topic of this podcast. Whether at work, at the actual open house, or in an elevator, natural opportunities to help point others to the temple are all around us. Being involved in these opportunities brings a lot of joy. And joy is what member missionary work is all about. Enjoy this podcast!
42 minutes | Nov 4, 2021
Episode 36: ¡HOLA! ¡Cómo observar, escuchar y actuar como miembro misionero!
Hola es la palabra en ingles por hola. Así es como tienden a comenzar todas las relaciones nuevas: alguien dice hola. También es el acrónimo perfecto para guiar a las personas en la obra misional exitosa de los miembros. La H significa hola o cómo hacer esto; la O significa observar, la L significa escuchar y la a significa actuar. Seguir este sencillo acrónimo le ayudará a ser un mejor miembro misionero.
30 minutes | Jun 13, 2021
Episode 35: H-O-L-A! How to Observe, Listen, and Act as a Member Missionary
Hola (Oh-law) is the Spanish word for hello. It’s how all new relationships tend to start out: somebody says hello. It’s also a perfect acronym to guide people involved in member missionary work. The H stands for How, (we then insert the preposition “to”), the O stands for Observe, the L for Listen, and the A for Act. How to Observe, Listen, and Act as a Member Missionary. This episode gives examples of how these steps have worked over and over for me in my day-to-day activities. Whether I step into a McDonald’s, a gas station, a grocery store, or I’m driving down the freeway, the same steps surface and allow me to be an instrument in the Lords hands to help move forward His latter-day work.I am particularly excited for my next episode, which will be this same episode, simply translated into Spanish. It will be the first episode of some 36 episodes that has actually been recorded in Spanish. Remember this acronym Olah and use it to guide you in assisting the Lord by Observing, Listening, and Acting on the situations he will drop in your pathway. You will be successful if you follow this acronym!
23 minutes | May 9, 2021
Episode 34: My Missionary Mother
She’s named after her grandmother, and that’s a good thing. Her grandmother served on the general board of the Young Women’s Mutual Improvement Association for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 25 years. Then she was called to be the president of the same organization and served there for another 25 years. Her mother was the personal secretary to Dr. James E. Talmadge for many years. She helped Elder Talmage proofread the Book of Mormon and get it ready for its 1921 publication edition. She even found an error in the spelling of one of the names in the book and brought it to the attention of the general authorities. It was corrected with great praise and admiration. It’s a wonderful thing to come from a strong heritage. I did that on both sides of my family, but since today is Mother’s Day I will focus on my mother’s story, particularly her abilities as a missionary.I have bragged about her before on social media and in other ways. One of her great traits is that of being a missionary to those she’s around. Missionaries aren’t always preaching; they’re probably serving, studying, praying, and doing other types of work as much as they are teaching or preaching. My mother is no exception.Enjoy this podcast which highlights seven traits of successful missionaries, be they full-time missionaries or member missionaries: their service, their focus on families, their happiness, their knowledge of the scriptures, their love of the temple, their knowledge of their role and how to fulfill it, and their obedience.
27 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
Episode 33: Dropped in YOUR Pathway-The Conversion of Michael Seay
Michael Seay is a realtor in the Washington DC area. He’s been a friend of mine for about 30 years. He is one of the most loving people I’ve ever met. He’s the first guy I’ve seen in my life who told fellow employees that he loves them right there in the work environment. That stunned me!He is also one of the best member missionaries that I’ve ever met. I was delighted to interview him and learn a little bit about his conversion and how he has shared the gospel with other people throughout his life. These real life stories are a treasure because of the principles they teach. He believes, as I do, that God drops people in YOUR pathway that YOU can naturally help to learn more about the Restoration of the gospel. If you want to increase your capacity to love others, be like Michael Seay. If you want to be a successful member missionary, be like Michael Seay. Most importantly, if you want to be happy, be like Michael Seay.Thank you Michael for your wonderful example! We love you!!
3 minutes | Feb 4, 2021
Episode 32: A Time for Healing: My Piano Arrangement of “Bro. James’s Air”
Music has a way of healing people. James Leith Macbeth Bain knew that. Born in Scotland in 1840, he was known to his friends as simply Brother James. He was a musician, poet, a mystic, and had a great interest in healing. In 1906 he published a book called “The Brotherhood of Healing.” His song Brother James Air was first published in 1915 as part of a New Year’s greeting. He founded the Brotherhood of Healers, where he and his fellow healers would often sing to their patients during healing sessions. He spent the latter years of his life working with the underprivileged in Liverpool, England. So, do YOU have a need for healing (and do you believe in miracles?) Do you believe it’s possible to heal, especially during a pandemic? For example, do you believe you can listen to a song one night, then sit down and play it the next night without any sheet music? 🎹Well, it’s possible, even in a pandemic. And the process has a healing element to it. I listened to the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square‘s beautiful rendition of “Brother James’s Air” last night. Recognizing that my son is named James, and the beautiful way the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed it, it just stuck in my mind.Given that I had no sheet music—and I probably couldn’t play it if I did—the process I used to help organize the song was simple:1. I used dots to outline the melody first.2. I drew vertical lines do identify the various segments.3. I labeled each segment.4. I grouped the segments together into 5 repeatable sections.5. I then laid out the sections in order at the bottom of the page. (That was a quick reminder to me of what was coming next while I played.)It took me probably 60 attempts to record the song until I finally got it right. Sometimes my mind would wander and I would forget what chord came next, sometimes I would accidentally hit a wrong note, and sometimes I would inadvertently skip a whole section. In each case, I had to start over. 60 times. But I’m glad I did...In total, I probably spent four hours on this project. I would guess 3 1/2 of those hours were the repeated attempts to try and play it right.Do you believe in miracles? In my case, they tend to happen with a little bit of inspiration and an awful lot of perspiration. But they happen. Thank God! 🙏I hope you enjoy this arrangement.🎶
30 minutes | Jan 20, 2021
Episode 31: “God Loves Me (and you too)!” Brian’s Conversion Story
Have you ever felt like there was more out there in life for you? Maybe something was missing but you’re not sure what?Brian felt the same way. Surrounded by loving family at a young age, he was exposed to four different churches, Brian eventually found The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has never looked back. This is his story, told by himself. He has a special affinity to the Prophet Joseph Smith in that Brian, too, was 14 when he was going through part of his spiritual search. His story is a testimony to the fact that God is real and that He does not give up on people. It is also a testimony of the power of truth and the impact it can have on your life. Brian is very grateful to a childhood friend who stuck with him through the years and invited him—at a critical part in his life—to come to church.Thank you Brian for sharing your wonderful conversion story!
20 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
Episode 30: A God of Miracles—Alyssa’s Conversion Story
She just graduated from Harvard, and she found heaven while she was there. Part of it came in meeting my nephew, Westley Cook, part of it came from learning about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while on campus, and the rest came from Harvard itself. Meet Alyssa, an accomplished chemistry major who believes in miracles. If you’ve ever wondered if God has a plan for you, knows you personally, or cares about your progress, you need to listen to this interview. This young lady expresses herself extremely well and outlines her experience in wonderful detail.And if you’ve ever wondered if God is there to help you through life‘s challenges, you REALLY need to listen to this interview. Thank you, Alyssa, for sharing your experience with us!
23 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Episode 29: The Spirit of Elijah—My Conversation with Mom
Enjoy this wonderful conversation I had this afternoon with my 89-year-old mother. She understands the need for temples and how to be involved in genealogical work as well as anyone I know. She is the mother of 11 children. She has 56 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. She was widowed at the age of 47 with 10 children at home and one child on a mission. She faithfully moved forward. All 11 of her children have been married in the temple. She is a faithful temple worker who has indexed over 400,000 names. In this episode, she talks about the Spirit of Elijah, the prophet Elijah’s life, and how to be more involved in temple work. Enjoy the inspiring message she conveys here to help us all be more involved in genealogy and temple work. She is a living, breathing example of someone who carries the spirit of Elijah with here wherever she goes. Thanks, Mom! This was a lot of fun to do!
3 minutes | Oct 3, 2020
Episode 28: Piano Joy: “Come, Ye Children of the Lord”
Sometimes, the best podcasts don’t have any words. Instead, they have music. And music heals the soul.Recently, while visiting my mother in Utah, I sat down at her piano and started to try to play a favorite hymn of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Written by James Wallis, that hymn is called “Come, Ye Children of the Lord.”I had never played the song before. I simply sat down at her piano and tried to sound it out. It was fun!Today, during the first session of the worldwide conference for the Church, the first hymn that was sung was “Come, Ye Children of the Lord.” I took it as a sign from God that He appreciated my efforts.Children are innocent, and we are all God’s children. Perhaps my arrangement of this hymn will bring a little peace and harmony into a fairly troubled world right now.The first verse of this hymn reads:“Come, ye children of the Lord,Let us sing with one accord.Let us raise a joyful strainTo our Lord who soon will reignOn this earth when it shall beCleansed from all iniquity,When all men from sin will cease,And will live in love and peace.“if this podcast helps us all to live a little bit more in love and peace, then my recording it was a success. Enjoy!
11 minutes | Sep 13, 2020
Episode 27: How Facebook Found Oliver Cowdery’s Descendant!
I run a Facebook ad for one dollar a day, offering to give people a free copy of the Book of Mormon in my local area. I’ve run it for about 10 days and 263 people have seen it so far. One of the people who saw it commented that his “...ancestor had translated the book!” Sure enough, his relative is apparently Oliver Cowdery! The connection goes back to upstate New York and even into Canada back around the year 1800.You can imagine how excited I was to get that message! I have since told my new Facebook friend a little bit more about his ancestor and some of the things that he experienced. It’s now in the Lords hands, and as He guides me I will guide my new friend.Facebook currently has 2.45 billion users out of an earthly population of 7.7 billion. That’s 38.1% of all the people on planet earth! Any member of the Church can run an ad offering more information about the Church to the ad’s viewers. I do it for only one dollar a day. I just renewed the ad for another 10 days. I’m excited to see what happens!In the meantime, God bless Oliver Cowdery and his descendants!
27 minutes | Aug 30, 2020
Episode 26: From Uber to Ethiopia to Philadelphia: The Rest of the Story (Clayton & Marla Foulger)
Meet Clayton and Marla Foulger, two of the best people on the planet. They had the privilege of being involved with Yitbarek and his family’s conversion. Their humble attitude about member missionary work is inspiring and instructive. Their story about Elder Eyring, while they presided over the London Mission, is priceless. Catch the spirit of these two wonderful people, and of Yitbarek and his family, as Clayton and Marla continue Yitbarek’s story about how his family got sealed in the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple. Clayton not only baptized them, he performed their sealing in the Philadelphia Temple. Everybody involved here received a fulness of joy. Simply put, it’s the Rest of the Story. Paul Harvey would be proud! 🙏
26 minutes | Aug 19, 2020
Episode 25: From Uber to Ethiopia-The Conversion Story of Yitbarek
The members of the Church needed a ride to the airport. He was their Uber driver.They invited him to their home, he met the missionaries, and read the Book of Mormon. He went to the visitors’ center in Washington DC, told his wife about it, and then joined the Church.With his strong testimony, he picked up two copies of the Book of Mormon in his own Ethiopian language and traveled 7100 miles home to Ethiopia to share it with his brothers.He is now the ward mission leader of the Potomac Ward in Potomac, Maryland.Meet Yitbarek, my good friend, and a wonderful example of how to get a testimony and share it with others. I hope you enjoy his story!
16 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
Episode 24: Design Your Own Plan—51 & Counting!
In response to President Nelson’s email of January 1, 2020, I designed my own plan to share the gospel and the message of the Restoration with as many people as possible. As of August 16, I have shared this message with 51 people. I am about to release my third member missionary book, which details the experiences I’ve had with these 51 people.This episode is the 24th podcast episode and the final one for my first season. Season two starts next week! It will focus on a number of individual conversion stories from friends and acquaintances of mine, which are designed to help others learn about the Church and to share the testimonies of these wonderful people.I am on a mission, so when members of the Church hear the words “member missionary work”, the first word that pops into their mind is the word “joy”, not the word “guilt.”As of today, August 16, my podcast has been downloaded 347 times and has been listened to in 14 countries and 141 cities. Those statistics bring me a lot of joy!I spent three hours today proofreading my third book, getting it ready for publication. It focuses on how to find joy by sharing the message of the restoration. I appreciate President Nelson‘s counsel to design your own plan. I have done that and it is working! There’s also plenty of time for you to design your own plan and carry it out before the end of this bicentennial restoration year. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of help. God bless!
11 minutes | Aug 6, 2020
Episode 23: Not the Best Example...!
I don’t know if you’ve ever been used publicly as an example of how NOT to do member missionary work, but I have! It happened when I was a student at BYU in front of about 2000 people.The incident occurred on a plane flight to New Zealand when I was 21. Little did I know that a man I met on that flight, Wayne Chamberlain, would later come to B.Y.U. as a regional representative and tell a story about that flight that didn’t put me in the best light as a member missionary. I was sitting in the audience when he told the story.Wayne is one of the classiest guys you’ll ever meet. Learn from my bad example so that it never happens to you! Enjoy this podcast.
15 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
Episode 22: Sharing the Gospel-Thank You, Elder Oaks!
One of the great general conference talks that’s been given on member missionary work was given in October 2001 by Elder Dallin H Oaks. That talk, Sharing the Gospel, was a foundational talk for me as I served at that time as the bishop of a ward in the Washington DC Stake. Member missionary work was an important theme of my service as bishop and I leaned on this talk a great deal in helping members of the ward have success as member missionaries.I encourage you to re-read that talk. More importantly, follow what he says and practice the principles that he teaches. If you do, you will be a very successful member missionary!
7 minutes | Jul 12, 2020
Episode 21: Joy at the Gas Station
Sometimes member missionary experiences happen because you notice someone else’s efforts to spread the good news. That’s what happened when I exited a small gas station market in McLean, Virginia recently.Positioned on top of the sanitizing towel dispenser, which is on the right side of the exiting doorway, were some Spanish religious postcards promoting faith. Those postcards caught my eye to the point where I came back in the store, picked one up, and then gave one of my own religious postcards to the Muslim lady behind the counter.What you’re looking for are people who are open to spiritual experiences. The fact that this gas station has those cards right there in plain sight for everybody, tells you that they are spiritually sensitive in their own way. That might be fruitful ground where you can leave a message of the Restoration. Enjoy this latest episode of my podcast!
6 minutes | Jul 5, 2020
Episode 20: It’s All About the Receiver
Successful member missionary work is always about the other person. Sometimes on a flight you sit next to an open-hearted person; sometimes you sit next to a closed-hearted person. I had the experience of sitting next to one of each on a recent trip across the country. The condition of their heart is not in your control. Just do your best in the situation you’re put in! ✈️ ❤️
12 minutes | Jun 29, 2020
Episode 19: Joy with the Dining Room Set Delivery
Sometimes God drops a member missionary situation in your pathway when you’re at work. That was the case with this story which happened two days ago in Chevy Chase, Maryland.A lady purchased a dining room set we had hauled away from another customer’s home. It turns out it was the exact style set that her mother used to have in her home for many years. Recently the lady‘s mother passed away out in California and this dining room set was a little gift from God to compensate her for the loss of her mother. We both felt that as the story unfolded.It was also not a coincidence that she noticed the background photo on my personal Facebook page. It showed me paragliding over the cliffs of Torrey Pines California, just outside of San Diego. This lady had visited Torrey Pines when she was a youngster and said it was one of the happiest trips in her life. As a result of the Torrey Pines connection and the dining room table appearance, I quickly bonded with this lady and she felt more joy than she had been feeling before she purchased the set. It was a wonderful example of how God is mindful of all of His children’s situations and intervenes to cheer them up at various times in various ways. And perhaps what’s most exciting, is that He uses members of the Church to assist Him along the way.
4 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
Episode 18: Joy at the Piano (All Creatures of Our God and King)
I was supposed to be on a plane to Utah tonight. For various reasons, I decided to stay home. Around 8 o’clock I was listening to a song performed by the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square. I had the thought, “That would be a fun song to play on the piano.” So I walked over to the piano and gave it a shot. 30 minutes later I was done.Wanting to record what I had created, I turned on the Voice Memos on my phone and started to play. Before long I made a mistake, so I started again. Another mistake. Keeping in mind I’m making this up as I go, it was inevitable that I was going to make a bunch of mistakes before I got a clean recording. I was right. It took about 40 attempts over the next 90 minutes.Prior to tonight, I’ve never played this song before. And I don’t have any sheet music. It was pure inspiration matched with pure perspiration to finally get it right.That’s how a lot of things work in life: God steps in when you least expect it and inspires you to do something above and beyond what you were planning to do. It’s the same in dealing with other people: follow the inspiration and you’ll probably have a worthwhile experience.I hope you enjoy my newly created arrangement of All Creatures of our God and King.
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