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The Early Homecoming podcast is dedicated to helping missionaries who return home early and to helping those who care about them. Below you can listen and learn more from those who are serving or have served in leadership positions in the church. You can also listen to episodes in other categories.

This podcast can be found on any major podcasting platform.

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Podcast Episodes: Church Leaders

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Episode 38: Richard Ostler, former YSA Bishop, shares what he has learned about helping those who feel marginalized in the Church

In this podcast episode, Richard Ostler (host of the podcast Listen, Learn, and Love) shares what he has learned about helping those who feel marginalized in the Church, including early-returned missionaries. Richard has served in multiple leadership positions, including as a YSA bishop for three years. Richard is also the parent of an early-returned missionary (due to COVID and OCD Scrupulosity) and shares his experience of going through that trial with his son. In addition to these things, Richard also shares what is challenging about leadership positions, gives good advice to those who return home early, as well as to leaders, and lay church members. He emphasizes honoring personal revelation, utilizing the gift of the Atonement, and loving everyone–especially those we do not understand. And, he tells of his great love for millennials. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!

Episode 8: What is a Service Mission and Should I Consider Serving One?

In this episode, Elder and Sister Wilkey discuss their roles as Latter-day Saint service mission leaders in the Utah Valley Service Mission and share valuable information about the way service missions are developing and all the different ways to serve in Utah Valley (which they hope will extend to other areas soon!). They share with me the similarities and differences between a service mission and a proselyting mission. They also discuss the role of parents in service missions and explain the involvement of parents better. They are very candid and honest about the best parts and hardest parts of serving the Lord as a service missionary while sharing real examples of the various experiences that service missionaries they work with have had. Finally, they discuss the stigma that still surrounds service missions and how they hope that will soon change.

Episode 7: A Chat with YSA Bishop Barry Rellaford

In this episode, I chat with my friend and colleague Barry Rellaford, who is currently serving as a YSA (young single adult) bishop. During this interview, Barry tells me about the most challenging aspects of being a bishop and the training he receives from the Church (as well as from his life). He also discusses with me how he helps the members of his ward overcome the shame and stigma (both cultural and self-imposed) for coming home early and other reasons, how he leads others along the path of repentance, and how he tries to help early-returned missionaries (and others) when their lives don’t go as planned. Finally, Barry shares with me how he tries to make sure someone is ready to serve a mission. Barry also discusses the importance of keeping the Savior as his focus and how his main goal as a bishop is to lead others to Him.

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