Monday, May 25, 2015

Public Affairs and Relationship Building

By Rodger Dean Duncan

We are happy to report that there were no new shootings in Waco this past week. Although the Waco police are still getting intelligence reports that some motorcycle gang members are planning retribution (including car bombs and other terrorist-like behavior) against law enforcement people here, there's been no further disruption. Yet. We continue to hope and pray for peace.

In previous posts we’ve mentioned our meetings with organizations like Prosper Waco, the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, etc. The purpose of all these meetings is to build bridges of understanding and establish relationships with the movers and shakers in this town. So far, there is very little evidence that church members have done much reaching out in this regard. For the church to grow the way it needs to, there must be a visible and credible public affairs presence here. So we are working to lay the groundwork for this.

Last week I met with the leadership team at the Waco Foundation. This is the most credible group in town when it comes to getting things done. It has the active (and financial) support of most of the major businesses in town, as well as business and civic leaders.

The Waco Foundation has asked me to:

  • Conduct three or more of my two-day CHANGE-friendly IMPLEMENTATION workshops. The focus will be project management, cascading sponsorship, effective messaging, and all the other elements required for effective work in behalf of the poor. Participants will be leaders of the top non-profit organizations in town as well as civic leaders who work in behalf of the poor.
  • Conduct at least one CHANGE-friendly IMPLEMENTATION train-the-trainer workshop. Translation: I will certify trainers who will carry on the work after we’ve left Waco. This will be an important component of the sustainability that we’re trying to help foster with the civic-minded people here.
  • Provide leadership coaching to groups of civic leaders.
  • Conduct a two-hour training session with alumni of the Leadership Plenty Institute. This program is an important vehicle for developing leadership capacity for up-and-comers in the city of Waco.
In addition, I’ve been invited to keynote a conference of the Heart of Texas chapter of the Society of Human Resources Managers. SHRM is the premiere organization for human resources professionals. This chapter includes key people from most of the companies in the Waco area, and certainly all of the major employers.

I’ve also been invited to give speeches on leadership at the Waco Rotary Club and other civic organizations.

Of course all of this is being done on a volunteer basis (no charge for materials or the training) because we are missionaries, not professionals selling services. In addition to the good this will do for a wide range of non-profit organizations, it will enable us to make a lot of high-profile friends for the church.

Relief Society Women’s Conference

On May 30, Rean and I will give a 60-minute keynote presentation at the Waco Stake Relief Society Women’s Conference. The theme is “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” We’ve been asked to talk about service—not only from a public affairs perspective, but from a covenant-keeping perspective. We will share many stories from our 50 years of observing wonderful Latter-day Saints giving Christlike service in public and private ways. We've enjoyed working together to prepare this presentation, which includes dozens of images and two videos.

Reading & Study

We completed the 65-Day Book of Mormon challenge in 56 days. And last night we completed our own 50-Day New Testament challenge. Our goal was to finish by the Day of Pentecost, which was yesterday. We did it. Our next goal is to re-read the Doctrine & Covenants. After that we will re-read the Old Testament. We've engaged in these kinds of scripture marathons for many years. We find that reading the scriptures aloud to each other is the best way to enjoy and learn from this.

We're keeping busy here, and love to be with our wonderful Texas friends. We do, however, really miss our friends and family around the world. To you we have this message: If your hands are broken and you cannot operate a pen or keyboard, we are so sorry and hope you heal soon. Otherwise, please post a comment on this blog or write to us at :)

Blessings to you and yours.


  1. Well I left a comment but I hadn't previously signed into Google, so I will try again.
    I'm glad you are safe from the Banditos, et al. The Mongol motorcyclists came to The Elms this weekend in full force and they were well behaved and were warmly welcomed on Excelsior Springs. Mosby has dried out from their floods almost biblical on proportion. Just like the Texans are experiencing now.
    A bunch of people in the ward had their basements flooded. The Edwards had a horrible time of it all.
    I hoped when you get back you will show us your 60-minute presentation. You always have interesting speeches.
    It has been a very overcast and cool Memorial Weekend. Glad I didn't go to the Lake like everyone else did.
    You missed a great sacrament speech yesterday. Brother Engemann got up there and had me mesmerized for 15 minutes or so. Sort of the way you speak. Miss you two!!!

  2. Mary, you are so kind to drop us this note. We miss all our friends in Liberty.

  3. Hi Rean,
    It was wonderful to talk to you for a few minutes the other day! I came home and thought a lot about visiting teaching. Came across this talk by Mary Ellen Edmunds and wanted to share it with you. Sending lots of love!

  4. Karen, the Mary Ellen Edmunds talk is wonderful. Thanks for calling it to our attention. Hugs to you. R&R