Tag Archive for: charity

“Look how far we’ve come…”

After their final departing testimonies, I asked the six missionaries to line up in front of the rostrum.
“Elder Johnson, can you stand the middle of them please.”
“Now take 13 steps away from Elder Johnson, in any direction you like.”

And off they went.

“Elder Santos, you take another 4 steps, so 17 in total.”
At that point he was in the corridor and then he came back into the chapel.
“Elder Johnson, will you please represent Jesus Christ.”
Some further instruction was given to them all.


“Take 1 step towards Jesus Christ”.
“Now, take your second step…”
“Third” and so forth until all 13 steps were taken and all of the sisters had returned to stand by Jesus Christ (Elder Johnson).
Elder Santos was still a little distance away, so I asked him to take his final 4 steps towards Jesus Christ.
Tenderly, they embraced one another.
In the analogy, each step represented a 6-week transfer in the mission.
Sisters have 13, and Elders 17.
As they immersed themselves in their purpose, to invite others to come unto Christ through their 18 or 24-month mission, something miraculous happens.
One by One – they 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆.


Step by step, day by day, week by week, transfer by transfer, they edge closer to Jesus Christ.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” – 2 Corinthains 5:7
What did He see in each of them?
As they struggled, with their faults, failings, and human frailties, they too felt of His healing hands and frequent tender embraces.
Like each of them, He sees all of us as souls worth saving.
“As we are made new in Christ, our very natures change, and we no longer want to go back to our old ways.” Elder Robert D. Hales.
We literally become “in Christ… a new creature…” 2 Corinthians 5:17
On your journey through life, how does Jesus Christ give you the strength to change?
Ask the missionaries – they can help!


Recently I was asked “How do you build hope?”
There are many compelling reasons to lose hope at the moment.
We may lose hope because the future for the world in general or for ourselves personally – looks increasingly bleak.
We can lose hope because it seems there are no solutions, there is no way out, or perhaps no escape from the challenges ahead.
Is that your reality?
I believe there is great hope for everyone…
Hope is “the anticipated fulfilment of a desire, to expect with confidence.”
For me, hope is the antidote for despair.
Working with missionaries every day I find that when we have hope, we trust in God’s promises.
Dieter F Uchtdorf said: “Hope is one leg of a 3-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time. The scriptures are clear and certain about the importance of hope. The Apostle Paul taught that the scriptures were written to the end that we “might have hope.”
In a recent Zone Conference I used a 3-legged stool to reinforce this principle even further.
See Moroni 7:33, 40-43, 47-48 in the Book of Mormon.
Hope will always lighten our load and it strengthens our resolve to succeed.
Here are some ideas to build hope…
– Work on your self-discipline
– Focus on the positive
– Identify and challenge any negative beliefs
– Take care of yourself -physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually
– Surround yourself with hopeful people and environments
– Celebrate even the smallest of victories.
How are faith, hope and charity like a 3-legged stool?
What do you need to do to develop them?

Arm in Arm

Early on Friday, we said farewell to our departing missionaries at Schiphol airport.

An hour later, we welcomed 11 new missionaries to the Netherlands.

It was an emotional rollercoaster of a day.

Elder Ranse Cottam drove us back home.

For those who know Ranse, or have met him for even a moment, will know that he is filled with and serves with the “pure love of Christ”.

Pure Love

Love indeed, is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.

His parents and little sister were coming to collect him, mid-afternoon.

What unfolded during their visit was beautiful.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” – Matthew 5:8

It was a sweet reunion.

After 2 years, a family together again, in pure love.

It was heavenly, as if “angels above us are silent notes taking” (Hymn 237 – Choose the Right)

The feeling of pure love permeated the room, filling our hearts and souls.

I beheld joy.

For a moment, Heaven’s doors were unlocked.

I beheld wonder.

In the stillness, God’s presence surrounded us.

I beheld pure love.


I witnessed the love of a mother for her son, and a son for his mother.

They sat, snuggled next to one another.

Time stood still.

With one another, they linked arms, held hands – tightly, yet gently, wrapped tenderly, in each other’s love.

Honouring sacred covenants, I observed the selfless love of a devoted mother and son.


It was beautiful.

In that moment, I was changed, by the pure love of Christ.

Tears came easily for all of us.

Motherhood is a divine role.

Motherhood is about loving and nurturing others.

Symbolically, Ranse was held by two mothers, arm in arm, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, surrounded with pure love.

I will treasure this hallowed sweet memory – forever.

I hope and pray that our hearts may be filled with charity, the pure love of Christ.

Travelling the Road of Life

What a challenging year.
As I slow down for Christmas and reflect upon the last 12 months, I am reminded of one of my favourite old fables. Time and again it reminds me of what really matters most of all. Despite the challenges of 2020, I hope it will give you some clues to your own purpose in life.

The King’s Highway

“Once a king had a great highway built for the members of his kingdom. After it was completed, but before it was opened to the public, the king decided to hold a contest. He invited as many as desired to participate. Their challenge was to see who could travel the highway best.
On the day of the contest, the people came. Some of them had fine chariots, some had fine clothing, fine hairdos or great food. Some young men came in their sports togas and ran along the highway. People travelled the highway all day, but each one, when he arrived at the end, complained to the king that there was a large pile of rocks and debris on the road at one spot, and this had hindered their travel.
The Finishing Line
At the end of the day, a lone traveller crossed the finish line and wearily walked over to the king. He was tired and dirty – but he addressed the king with great respect, and handed him a bag of gold. He explained, “I stopped along the way to clear away a pile of rocks and debris that was blocking the road. This bag of gold was under it, and I would like you to help me return it to its rightful owner.” The King replied, “You are the rightful owner.” The traveller replied, “Oh no, this is not mine. I’ve never known so much money.” “Oh yes,” said the king, “you’ve earned this gold, for you have won my contest. He who travels the road best is he who makes the road smoother for those who will follow”… Author Unknown.
As you have served others this year, what have you discovered?
It is my sincere hope that as we serve and help others along their paths in life at home, in our families, in our communities, in government and business organisations we will be ever mindful of the greatest servant of all, whose birth we celebrate this Christmas Season.
It has been wonderful working with many familiar folks this year, making so many new friends along the way too. In addition, working with new clients and organisations as well in 2020 has been incredible. To each and everyone, may I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year.


What can I give today?

That thought alone – has helped me to endure the challenges of recent weeks. How often have you intended to help, but something else has come along and you’ve left others to help instead?

Right now we are surrounded by so many in need of our attention, our help, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our sympathy, our understanding and our kindness. Kindness is what charity is and being kind is what we do when we have charity and compassion. The charity that we render unto others will surely define each of us and the organisations that we work for. Indeed l know that charity never faileth.

In times past when the busyness of the world blinkered our view of reality, perhaps we didn’t see? But now that we have been forced to stop and step back – take a look around, what do you see? In the grand schemes of things, perhaps you have been focused on things that don’t really matter at all?

What can you do to help someone in need today?

Mary’s Meals

Over the last 2 years, I have worked with the leadership team of Mary’s Meals.  It has provided me with a great insight to the important work they do globally.  They  provide chronically hungry children with one meal every school day, encouraging education that can lift them out of poverty in later life.

As I have worked with them, I have come to understand the challenges that children face all over the world.

So, my daughters, Megan, Cristi and I have decided to help raise some money for the charity by jumping out a plane (skydiving) on Monday 25th May 2020.

We’d love your support.