Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are called to serve in many different locations throughout the world. Some are called to serve in areas not far from their hometown and are able to teach in their native English, whereas others are called to serve in faraway lands where they must learn not only a new language, but a new culture and lifestyle as well. Such was the case for Tylan Glines, Connor Peck, Davis Blount, Jake Mingus and Sumner Mahaffey, five returned missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who served their missions in the Philippines. Although their missions may have been challenging at times, the life lessons that they learned and their new-found knowledge has made a major impact on their lives.
The Idea of Making a Video in Bisava is Born
The five young men served in the Philippines Cebu Mission where they learned to preach the gospel in Bisava, a dialect of Cebuano. The Filipino people that they interacted with were astonished that they had taken the time and effort to learn their language which was a rarity. This gave Mahaffey and Mingus, who were companions at one time during their mission, the idea about making a short, single video of them speaking Bisava. Later, at a mission conference, they presented the idea to Glines and Blount, who were also companions at the time, and Peck. They all agreed that it was a great idea, but with a year left on their missions, they decided to shelve the idea until a later time.
In 2014, after returning home from their missions, they decided to revisit the idea of creating a video in the Bisava language. The first video that they made was an introductory video where each of them took turns introducing themselves, and talking about their interests and hobbies. The entire video was in Bisava.
It was so successful because they had never had entertainment in their own language. We were trying to put out good, wholesome, clean entertainment to help them, and once we started doing that, we got these messages saying, ‘Thank you so much for making us proud to be Bisaya people,’ and that is what kept us going. We want to make them as happy as they have made us.
The Hey Joe Show Comes to Life
Filipinos are well-known for referring to Americans as “Joe,” and everywhere they went while on their missions they would always be greeted with “Hey Joe!” So, they decided that their channel should be called Hey Joe Show. Peck further commented:
We really, really wanted to go back to see the people and really interact with them, not just through videos but person to person. There’s a big difference. Especially with the kinds of things we wanted to express with the Hey Joe Show, like our love for the country, our love for the people, all those things we really wanted to do in person.
Glines organized Hey Joe Show’s first tour, and in April 2015, the young men returned to the areas where they had previously served their missions and performed five live shows in five different cities. Prior to their first show neither of them really knew what to expect. They had set a goal of at least a couple hundred people showing up for the shows, with realistic expectations of maybe 25 people actually coming to the shows. Much to their amazement, an estimated 5,000 people were in the audience of their first show. Glines remarked, “It was exciting because we love the people so much and to know that we are now even more permanently tied to the country that we love and served with was so exciting.”
In addition to the live shows, the five returned missionaries spoke at firesides and had the opportunity to visit families they had taught and served with on their missions. Glines further commented, “The love is incredible, and I hope we can, by the end of our lives, explain or show the Filipinos how much we love them. The tour kind of did that, but I still don’t think they will ever know how much we love them.”
The Future and Hey Joe Show
Since creating their YouTube channel on 27 April 2014, the Hey Joe Show has garnered almost 60,000 subscribers and over 5 million views, with each video getting anywhere from 7,000-540,000 views, and more than 451,000 likes on Facebook. With the overwhelming success of the show, Tylan, Connor, Davis, Jake, and Sumner plan to continue making videos and hopefully do another tour next summer. Their ultimate goal is to collaborate with charities and schools in the Philippines and perpetually serve the people they love. Beyond the Hey Joe Show, the five Brigham Young University students have hopes for graduate school, marriage, families of their own, and promising careers.
Addressing the typically taboo topic of male fertility, Latter-day Saint ethnographer and sociologist Liberty Walther Barnes suggests abolishing gender stereotypes to encourage and increase medical breakthroughs.
Liberty Walther Barnes, who holds a Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Sociology from the University of California at San Diego and a B.A. in Media Arts from Brigham Young University, is now a Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge.
She began conducting an ethnographic study of male infertility among heterosexual couples in the United States in 2007. She shadowed medical professionals in fertility clinics and followed up with couples receiving treatments from the clinics. Her resulting findings formed the basis for her book Conceiving Masculinity: Male Infertility, Medicine, and Identity.(more…)
When Suzette Steward was nominated for the national “Top Teacher Award” in conjunction with the Live With Kelly and Michael morning show, it was obvious she made a big impact on those around her. The award the result of a nationwide search of public and private schools from Pre-K through 12th grade; the Top Teacher program aims to honor teachers who make a difference in and out of the classroom.
An Exemplary Teacher
Written by Lisa Clements and placed on the show’s website, the submission about Suzette is sincere and telling:
Suzette is a unique, awesome, amazing person, teacher and friend. She grew up in the Katy area and returned after college to interact and teach our “special” kids. She teaches Special Education Kids at the Junior High School during school hours, but it doesn’t stop there. (more…)
Valerie Hudson Cassler is a feminist—and “as a feminist, I remain a steadfast member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” sometimes inadvertently called the Mormon Church. Hudson Cassler, who converted to The Church of Jesus Christ from Roman Catholicism, writes, “How remarkable and in some senses ironic it still seems to me to have experienced ‘women’s lib’ by conversion to Mormonism!”
Men and Women are Equal Before God
Hudson Cassler shares what she believes are “the main points of doctrine that make Mormonism the most feminist of all the Christianities.”
“The Restored Gospel teaches that the term ‘God’ means an exalted woman and an exalted man married in the new and everlasting covenant (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20—the Doctrine and Covenants is a book of modern revelation). We are taught that there is no God without men and women loving each other as equals. …” (more…)
One role of a Mormon bishop is to protect and help those in need. One bishop honored that role in an unexpected way when he defended a woman under attack with a samurai sword.
Kent Hendrix’s teenage son awakened him with the information that a woman was being assaulted outside their home. He sent his son to call police while he grabbed his samurai sword and headed outside. Others had also arrived to help, this being a largely Mormon community, but the sight of that sword startled and unnerved the attacker. The man raced for his car down the street. Those who had come to help chased him, but he escaped. However, Hendrix was able to get his driver’s license and also found a chap stick the man had dropped. He called out to the man that he had DNA and a license plate. This most likely encouraged the man to give up and he turned himself in later. He was arrested on burglary, robbery, and violation of stalking injunctions charges.
Hendrix is a fourth-degree black belt and collects the swords, which he uses for training. He reminds people he did not need to use the sword—he only showed it to the man. The element of surprise was the power behind the experience. (more…)
At an age when most young women are starting their careers and families and dreaming of bright futures, Mariama Kallon was fleeing for her life. She lived in war-torn Sierra Leone and whenever rebel soldiers came into her village, everyone ran. One day, when she was twenty-five, as her family raced to safety, her parents were shot just behind her. She and her brother and sister escaped, heartbroken but knowing there was nothing they could do. There was not even an opportunity to return and bury them. Her brother was kidnapped and then killed. Then rebels limed up the frightened women and systematically and brutally cut off their legs. Her sister had her legs cut off and Mariama’s legs were to be the next to go. Unexpectedly, government soldiers arrived and the rebels escaped. Her sister was taken to the hospital and later died. Mariama escaped again, her legs intact, but with no real family. Ultimately, she would have only a two-year old nephew and a ten-year-old niece left alive and she would have to try to find a way to care for them herself. She prayed that God would help her understand why she was saved and what he wanted her to do with the life she’d been given.
She moved to another village, where she lived with a friend who introduced her to a neighbor. This neighbor had had both her daughters taken by rebels and invited her to church, saying it was all she had to offer in the way of safety. The woman was Mormon, the nickname sometimes used to refer to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mariama found that Sunday a congregation filled with hope in a country that seemed to have none. She listened to a speaker explain that families could be together after death because God loved His children enough to give them that and she thought of all those she had lost. She went home and began to study the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture used with the Bible by Mormons. There she read that our bodies will be made whole again in the resurrection and thought of her sister’s legs. She quickly gained a personal testimony of the Church and was baptized. (more…)
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