Welcome to the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast.
Tune in every Thursday as we share inspirational stories from the world’s greatest creators, entrepreneurs, and go getters about how they’ve turned life’s lemons into lemonade. And now here’s your host of Lemonade Stand Stories, Charan Probakar. What is going on, guys? This is Charan Probakar with the Lemonade Stand Stories podcast. And today is a very monumental day. We are recording this on Presidents Day, even though it’s not going to come out on Presidents Day. But in front of me, I’ve got two people that should be the presidents of the world combined. I’ve got two of the famous Bonners in the house. Yeah.
I think the most famous Bonners.
Of the most famous Bonners ever existed. Yeah, us two. Yeah, Yahosh and Oba Bonner. Can you say that one.
Yeah, one more time. I’m so.
Our voice can hear?
I’m so sorry.
You’re going to get us in.
Trouble, man. Well, you guys trusted me. That was your fault. No, we got Yahosh and Oba. And, oh, man, I love you guys so much. We’ve been buddies for a while. And it’s funny, we were joking about this. But Oba and I were, quote unquote roommates in California. That being said, even though we were actual roommates in California, we never saw each other. We never did. Either you were in town and I wasn’t, or I wasn’t in town and you weren’t. And we always joke that we see each other way more on set in Utah than we ever did as roommates in California, which is hilarious.
I probably saw you twice?
I think so.
I probably saw.
We were roommates for six months.
Six months, you saw me twice. And you taught me to sing and the very next day I’m like, Well, I’m gone. I am embarrassed.
It’s a vulnerable thing. It was a.
Very vulnerable thing.
You share your heart through music. Once I share in my heart, I’m like, Well, my heart realizes singing isn’t a part of it. So I’m going to go ahead and go and cry myself all the way to Utah, wondering why I was so vulnerable to oba.
There’s unfinished business.
There’s a lot of unfinished emotional…
We need to finish.
Our voice lessons. We really need to. We really need to. I got a couple of years before that will come back. But no, it’s great. Dude, here’s the thing. We were talking about that. And then you got into acting more, I remember because you were getting way more into acting. And then you were in some commercials, and then we were like jamming about that. I’m like, finally, something I can actually talk to Oba about. So that was amazing to see you doing that. And we were talking about where we met, and I remember it was at a fireside that you and Henry and Mar were like, You were doing a duet or something like that. And I remember walking up to you and I’m like, Dude, you got to be Oba’s brother. I think we had actually, Oba told me about you because I’d seen some video of you and I think Madalyn Page or something. And then I met you in person and it was just awesome. And I don’t know, we all clicked, man. It was amazing.
And we became better friends than you and your roommates.
Who’s Oba? Can we cut that part.
Out? Yeah, let’s cut that part out. However, we did go to meeters first, right? Did we not go to meeters? We did. That was the best. And we were like, Oba, where you at?
We talked about you for.
About 30 seconds. We did. So that way we felt like you were part of it.
Yeah, you’re right. Okay, I guess it’s okay.
It’s okay. No, but it’s awesome, guys. I’m so stoked that you guys have made your time to come on here. I know it’s like a holiday, so thank you so much for.
Being here. We’ve been waiting for the invitation because we followed you, we watched you, and we’re like, Okay, he has his podcast.
We’re just going to wait. He’s going to call us. He’s going to call us. Yeah. Two years later. I’m like, Well, those botters. So I want to talk. There’s so many things we can talk about, but I really want to talk a little bit about your beginnings into how you guys became this musical family that you are, and then how you guys became solo artists because I know you guys all do your own solo work and sing as a family. Yahosh, I know you do a lot of athletic work. You work actually as a… Isn’t it a PE teacher, I believe, or at American Heritage? I’m the athletic director. Athletic director.
I’m the athletic director. Yeah. And then I also teach some basketball fundamentals classes, PE. Great.
Online science. Online science, it all makes sense. It all makes sense. So did you play basketball.
Growing up? Played basketball, but we all did. We all did. All the brothers, we.
Played basketball. He was just a little better. That’s just how it works.
I just spent more time out there on the out of the.
House, father. But right now, we went to all of his.
Basketball games. I remember being. We’re all about right here now.
It’s came down. Don’t worry. What high school did you guys go to?
I graduated from Mountain View High School in LISA, Arizona.
Okay, so you guys grew up in Arizona then?
Yeah, partially. I was born in Vegas but spent some time in Arizona. And then I graduated locally at Tempey High School.
In Provo. Sweet. That’s where I went to high school, dude. T Bird. Let’s talk about those. What year did you graduate?
Okay, sweet. That was last millennium. So let’s not worry about that. I don’t know if I’m talking about Brunson. Just kidding. No, it’s great. But yeah, I wanted to help you as well. So did you guys just grow up singing? Because everyone’s like the Bonner family. So let’s hear about how that all started.
Shout out to Mama Bonner. Our mom has really nurtured that gift of music within us. We love music. It’s in our blood. My dad’s auntie and uncles had a singing group. And just being involved with our family, you’re going to hear somebody singing every minute. Every minute. We used to fight over. I was singing that song first. You can’t sing that song. That’s my song. That’s your song. But our mom’s a vocal teacher. She’s a vocal coach. She teaches and she’s amazing. S he put us in all her productions. She taught us. She taught us how to teach. It’s just been a part of who we are, whether it’s through our praise or through our jobs or just for fun. Music has.
Been a part of what we do. Here’s something I want to talk about. Regarding music, there’s some people… I remember the first time seeing you guys both sing. It wasn’t just you guys had great voices because you do. It’s you sing with your soul. There was this soul that would come alive and it was almost like you gave me permission to just come alive. Then I tried singing and I’m like, No, there’s going to be a different way for me to come alive other than singing. But when I saw you guys sing, it was just electrifying. Was that something that your mom taught you about singing with your soul? Was that something that just came out as a result of you constantly singing and practicing and all that stuff.
Sheesh, you want to answer that one, your host? Yeah.
Because I can’t really describe it. It’s an individual thing, but I think a lot of it has to do with who our mom is and growing up in singing because she didn’t just sing to sing. When she sang, it meant something. What she was singing about had a connection, had a testimony or a story behind it. And so for me, I can only speak for me, usually when I share my songs, there’s a reason behind the song. I have to have connected with that song. I hope to bring the listener into that.
That’s amazing. What about you?
Especially as a family, we’ve been through so much together. When we perform together, it’s just awesome. Authentic because that’s what we did growing up. That was our profession. That was our hobby. That was what we did in our free time. It’s a family reunion now. Yeah. It’s really just like, we would do singing competitions as a ritual. We would be competing against each other every day. It was just something that just came naturally. We felt it. It was just so organic for me. It just felt so organic. That might be why it translates like that.
A big part is to what we’re singing about mostly, especially as a family, is what matters most to us. That’s our faith. That’s the same.
I want to talk a little about that. Yeah, because the thing is, we’re all members of the same faith and we all have… We we’ve talked about this before. We want in our own unique way to shine that light, that light of Christ. Wherever we go, whether it’s through music, whether it’s through acting, we want to figure out ways to say, hey, how do we magnify.
Him a little bit more?
Yes, glorify God in all we do. In all we do. Because I really feel like every single person needs to be their own personal convert to Christ to have that type of ability to share that talent. Because you can’t really fake it till you make it with this type of situation. It’s like either you have that real faith, that testimony, and that’s what’s fuel ing the fire. So what about for you two both? When was it that you realized, Okay, it’s not just we’re singing about the Lord. It’s like He’s near and dear to my heart, and that’s why I want to sing for Him.
Was there a moment? Something that my dad said is that I can echo. He said, I’ve seen too much. And so for me, I’ve seen too much with Christ and what he’s been, the example he’s been in my life and the miracles that have happened. It just shines through.
That’s amazing. Yeah.
Growing up, when we were in Las Vegas and then we moved to Utah and Arizona, we wouldn’t just go to our.
We’d go to our church and my mom would be the choir director. Then we’d go to another church where she was a soloist in the choir. Then we’d go to another church where she was the choir director. Then we’d have gospel choir wherever we lived. My mom had some gospel choir. We were always singing God’s praises. As we focused on God and came to know Jesus Christ, you could do nothing but praise him because he filled our lives. I think that’s a huge part of why we’re so passionate about this.
Well, I remember we all, in our own way, were part of that beautiful show, The Chosen. So I acted in it.
You’re on the last episode.
The last episode, right? You’re in.
The last episode.
You’re hilarious. I’m like, Listen, you.
Guys are wasting my time.
They are. They’re completely wasting my time. You know what’s funny is actually, I’m one of the guys that plays the apostle. He and I are taking a trip together this week actually on that scene. So it’s just funny how it all works. Oh, my God. But yeah, it was. I was just like, these guys, what do these guys do?
And does everybody know what the chosen is? Do they know that this is about the mortal Ministry of the Savior? And you get to come to know the Apostles before the Savior came into their lives and be able to see that transformation.
Magnificent, right? It is magnificent.
The way they did that.
We love the chosen.
So much. Now, how did you guys get involved to be a part of that show and to sing? Because you guys were part of the Christmas special, right?
Yeah. I mean, yosh.
You. I know, my man. Oh, yeah, that’s true.
It was so long ago, but so recent. My memory is so bad. That’s why I got a pretty hoch. But no, it was really just… So Brad Palo, he helps out with the show and he reached out to us about being on the chosen. I think it was really just… When we heard about the message of The Chosen and what it meant, it was just a no brainer. W e love Brad. W e were like, Yeah, of course. We would love to be involved in a faith based celebration. Am I missing anything? I think that’s.
Really how it started. Yeah. Really that relationship that you had nurtured with him and him coming to know who the Bonner family was through you. But God’s hand was in it.
It really was.
It still is. Well, it was so amazing because I remember watching that special and all these different artists. But when you guys came on, I don’t know how many times you did it because it was just that one time when you were saying, how great that art. Is that the one that.
You guys? Oh, this last year. Yeah, because we did the last.
Two years. Oh, you’ve done the last two years. Okay, awesome. But I just remember it was just soulful, man. It was just powerful and it was amazing. You just get chills. You get chills immediately. How was it working on that production?
God, gosh. It was freezing, but it was worth it. We were.
Warm by the.
Spirit of the Lord. That’s why I was going to say. The spirit warmed us because Goshen is a cold. It’s very.
Cold out there. It looks sunny, You’re like, Oh, my gosh. Do you ever say that? Because I said that.
People are going to.
Start saying that now. They’re going to.
Start saying that now. I just realized that. I’m slow.
Don’t worry, just rub your arms and be like, Oh, my gosh. Isn’t it feel good? It felt good, right?
Was that an accent?
What’s going on?
I don’t know. I felt.
It was. I’m lowkey auditioning for the chosen one now.
Don’t worry, you passed. You passed. You’re onto the round two.
It was so beautiful. The artists that were there, some of the first time, it was just us and it was just angelic. We did maybe a few takes, maybe several takes of different angles and everything.
We were the last ones to be filmed.
We were the last ones.
It was just we’re the only artist on set because they did everybody earlier in the week.
Then the second time to be with the other gospel Christian artists, that was just like a party.
How is that?
My gosh. They love God. Those guys are real. It was amazing. It was really awesome to be celebrating the Savior and the greatest gift.
People, too. Here’s something I was going to say. I had a conversation with my buddy about this just yesterday because we were at church, we left church, and we’re just talking about just the church experience. I was saying there’s a huge difference between talking about Christ and experiencing Christ. Huge difference. What do you guys think that experience is for you to experience Him versus talking about him?
Well, I love the story that I think someone gave a church leader in our church about how these two men died, right? Or the two people, and then they go up to heaven, get ready to go to the gates of heaven. T here was someone that said, Oh, hold on. It’s interview. I got to ask you a couple of questions before you can come in here. It takes the first person in the room and says, tell me what you know about Jesus Christ. T hat person said, Oh, a savior of the world, son of God. He redeemed mankind from their sins. The interviewer said, Sounds like quite a bit about Jesus. Okay, but please stand over here. Brings in the next person, and before the interview could say anything, before he could get a word out of his mouth, the person fell on the ground crying, My Lord, my God, my Savior. Who was the interviewer? It was Christ. It was Christ. It was Christ, and he recognized him. There’s a difference between, Oh, I know the stories. I know about his life. Then being able to recognize and know who he is when he’s right in front of you.
When he’s right in front of you. I feel like that’s a great description of how knowing the Savior, you can know his stories, but as you really study his life and you want to get to know him, you have to try to pad in your life after his example, have those conversations with him. Growing up, walking around the house, I would hear my mom talking and I’d be like, Oh, yeah, mom. She’s like, Oh, no, no. She wasn’t talking to me. She was talking to her best friend, the savior. And so that personal relationship is so important. There’s a difference between knowing who he is and knowing.
Him personally. Exactly. Well, that was the beautiful thing is when I was watching that production, I remember thinking as they were singing from their hearts and their souls and from you guys, I’m like, These are the guys that know the Savior. They’re singing his praise because they know him. There’s a difference between knowing about him. They’ve seen too much. Yeah, you’ve seen too much, man. You’ve seen too much. I love that. Now, here’s the thing. Every person going in life has their own set of challenges, their own set of trials, and all those type of things. Do you guys have anything in your own minds, in your own family’s lives, as you’re having this praise filled life? Were there ever times when you’re like, oh, boy, that was a hard blow? When has the savior come and redeemed you guys and saved you guys from hard blows?
So many times.
I can’t even.
There’s so many within the family that we grew up in and the places that we live, the things that we’ve come through together as a family and that we’re still I think our trials and things that we’ve been through as a family have strengthened us. We’re each other’s best friends. We talk every day. Within my own family and my wife and my children, we’ve had some issues. We just had our son, and it was amazing. So he’s our fourth child and he was in the NICU for two weeks, struggling with breathing and things like that. Just to have all these prayer warriors praying for our family, I just knew God was going to take care of it. It was going to be… That we were comforted through that time, hoping that he would be all right, be able to breathe on his own. And he did and he’s fine. I remember after graduating college, I had expected to play professional basketball. I love athletics. I love it. I love it. And this is 12 years ago, 40 pounds ago. And I just wasn’t getting picked up. I was going to tryouts and there were 100 athletes and about 60 of them were just like me.
I was like, This is my dream. Lord, you put this passion on my heart. How come this isn’t happening? But still trusting the process and seeing now looking back how God’s hand was in it and led me to where I needed to be. There’s just so many experiences within my own life and different chapters that I’ve relied on God and knew that he was going to bring me through.
I don’t even know if you realize this, but there’s been times where I’ve been down and I get a call from my brother and just, Hey, man, how’s your day? He doesn’t even know what I’m going through at that time. T hat’s happened so many times where I feel like the Spirit might have touched his heart to just send a phone call. I’m just grateful for siblings and for my brother. Just give me a call and just checking up on me, seeing how.
I’m doing. Hey, bro, you owe me $5, man. Not that call.
Not that call.
No, no, no, no.
It was a different call. It was a different call.
Different call, different date.
Here’s the thought I’ve been having, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it because it goes back to what you were just saying regarding trusting the process. I was thinking about this, but a lot of times I had a conversation with my bishop about this as well because he and I were having a chat and he said a lot of people in our congregation were very depressed. I’m like, That’s a bummer, man. Why are they depressed? He said, From my experience, what I think is they don’t feel like they their expectations were let down. God didn’t fulfill his part of the bargain. What do you mean by that? Well, they had all these expectations that certain things were going to happen, and it didn’t happen the way that they thought it was going to happen. And so they’re depressed about it. I thought that was an interesting thought. Expectations and thinking like, oh, this is how things are going to turn out because I’ve had faith and yada yada yada. And holy cow, it did not turn out that way at all. Have there been moments of that in your own lives when you thought a certain thing was going to go a certain way and you’re like, Whoa, I just got blindsided or I got changed to a whole different track.
But in the end, it was exactly where I needed to be. Is there anything that came in your mind that’s like, yeah, that was it?
I had a friend who was dating this girl for a long time and went on his mission and was just certain. He was my zone leader. Man, under one, this is my girlfriend. I’m going to marry that girl.
Yeah, I’m going to marry her.
He was so passionate about it. Yeah, he was certain. But her features were the exact opposite than the girl that he married. A completely different girl, different personality, different everything.
You’re not talking about me, are you?
No, no, no. Okay, okay, okay. Good to take it. But the girl that he showed me is not the girl that is in his photos now happily married. And so it didn’t go his way. And I think he even had a spiritual impression that he was supposed to be with that girl. And just to see how he bounced back and just happily married is just really a beautiful thing. And I don’t know what God’s plan necessarily was in that time, but I know that he’s happy and he still believes in Christ. So it must have only strengthened his testimony.
Right. Yeah. Well, I mean, going back to the basketball thing. Yes, I was going to ask you about that. I had a really hard year, my junior year. I came to the school, shout out to the UNC Bears, University of Northern Colorado. And my junior year, like the coach said, Hey, you’re going to start every game. We expect you to be scoring about 15 points a game. Then we’re going to get you the pros. We’re going to get you. I’m like, Okay, great. Yeah. Well, I get there. I started about the first six games, and then I was averaging 12, 15 minutes on the floor. And I was just like, What is happening? And then we were losing games at the last minute, like five games last minute. Oh, we’re up by 10. Oh, we just lost. How do we lose a 10 point lead?
Because you weren’t on the Yeah.
That’s what I’m saying. That’s what I’m saying. But I was like, This is tough. I think I’m done. I think I’m done with basketball. Then I go home and that spring break, I was talking to my girlfriend and we were progressing and we decided we were going to get married. Then she’s like, You should finish school. I was like, No, I’m going to do something else. I’m going to go back and sit on the bench. I expressed my feelings to my coach and he’s like, Just think about it. You’re a religious guy, pray about it. I’m like, How are you going to tell me to pray? You just said this to me in the locker room. You’re not going to tell me to pray. Anyway, I prayed and my wife prayed and I said, Okay, well, she’s going to come out with me and we’re going to be married and we’re going to finish this senior year. It was one of the greatest years of basketball of my life. I remember that year. Yeah, I was defensive player of the year, won the MVP at the outrigger Classic Tournament in Hawaii.
Didn’t you play against a NBA player?
A couple. Damion Lillard, yeah. Paul George. It was such a rewarding experience, but it was tough. But it was so great because I knew that as I prayed through it… In Romans, it’s talked about, all things work for the good of those who love God. I remember that, too. I love God. I love him. This is a perfect example of I’m so glad everything went the way that it went because the goals I had in life to be an inspiration for other children, specifically people in my community, to uplift my community by the life that I’m living and for them to see and to connect that to my faith and to my love of God. I feel like I’m doing so much more work for them and for my family where I’m at right now and hosting a TV show about families. I just see that God is going to put us where we need to be as we have faith in him and show him, not just say that we love him, but we show him that we love him by how we live.
It’s so great. We were talking about this earlier. We’re like, hey, is this going to be a faith filled pot? I’m like, I have no idea what’s going to happen. And here it is, and I love it. So how do you help someone that’s struggling with their own faith in God? How do you help them with that? Because look, you can talk about your examples, your experiences and all this stuff, but when someone is going through something really heavy, especially during 2020 when the world just shut down. No one expected that to shut down. And businesses shut down. And businesses shut down. It was funny. Well, it’s not funny at all. It’s very sad. A buddy of mine was working for a company, and he was their new marketing director, video director. And then they were really excited. They were getting going. I remember doing an ad for them and I’m like, Hey, how are things going with it? And they’re like, Dude, that whole company just shut down. They just really started a lot of funding and then COVID just wiped them out. Wow. Yeah. I mean, it’s just like you’re just getting cut from the knees and you’re like, Oh, my gosh.
So how do you find God in those circumstances?
What do you think? My experience with helping people, and I know maybe experiences might do it, I think sometimes the right person matches up with that trial. I think that’s why the trials that I’ve gone through, I feel like I relate best to people who are going through something who have had it or are going through a similar trial, so I can use my experience to relate to that person. I think sometimes, and I’ve seen it where God is connected to people and lock them in so that one can help the other. It’s through that trial that one has experienced.
I love that because your trials, a lot of times, it’s not even about you. It’s about the testimony that you’re gaining that you can share with somebody else, to uplift somebody else, to be able to say, Hey, I’m with you, man. I feel for you. Not trying to fix it, but just so they know that somebody else feels that way. We’re talking about being followed. And has made it through. Yes, and has pursued it. Exactly. We talk about being the body of Christ, being followers of Christ. We are out there serving. What did Christ do? Every day of his life, he served. He served. That’s what we are called to do.
I love that it said in the scripture, he went about doing good. That was his mission. He just went about doing good. Hey, what can I do good in the world? I think that’s amazing that he was able to do that. One of the things I’m learning as well, and tell me how you feel about this. I feel like my personal relationship with Christ is extremely funny to me. It’s just funny because I feel like he’s got the greatest sense of humor. I remember I was in California this one time, and it’s interesting because when Christ teaches me, he teaches me through humor, but I end up learning this really incredible lesson. So I was in California. I wasn’t even quite in LA. I was living in Ranch Kucamonga area, so just outside of LA. And I needed to buy three pairs of shoes. And if anyone knows anything about me, they would know that I struggle with shopping. I’m like, Oh, just like, if there’s too many options, I’m like, I don’t know. Just give it to me. I’ll take it. Whatever you need. I knew I needed three pairs of shoes. I needed some flip flops, some dress shoes, and some tennis shoes.
Even before I went in the store, I said a prayer to calm my anxiety down. I’m just like, Okay. This is serious. Yeah, this is very serious. He knows you. He knows you. He knows me. He knows me. I’m like praying. I’m like, Okay, God, all I need are three pairs of shoes, flip flops, dress shoes, tennis shoes. If you could just look, you’ve guided profits in the past. Just guide me. Just easily guide me to the pair of shoes I need, and it’ll be good. I go in the store and I swear this store stretches for miles in every direction with shoes. I’m just like, Be still my heart. I’m like, Pray some more. Well, the flip flops I found pretty quickly. The dress shoes I found pretty quickly. But the tennis shoes for whatever reason, nothing felt right. You know what I’m talking about? When you put a pair of shoes on, you’re like, I don’t know. It just feels weird. I’m trying shoe after shoe after shoe, Reebox, Nike, Ad idas, New Balance, everything you can think of. Nothing felt right. And women were walking past me looking me confused. But I like a man on a mission.
Shoes back, put new shoes on. And after about 20, 30 minutes of this, I raised my eyes to the heaven. I was almost just so frustrated. I’m like, God, why? I just want to find my pair of shoes and get out of here. Please, where do I need to go? And I kid you not, I felt his voice just come into my heart, calm me down. And he’s like, Sharon, I love you so much. All I want you to do is to look to the right. I’m like, very specific instructions. So I’m turning to the right, expecting to see my pair of shoes. Instead, what I see to the right, maybe 20, 30 yards away from me, was this huge sign, this huge sign that said men’s. And I realized I’d been trying women’s shoes the entire time. I was like, What the freak am I doing? What am I doing? And I felt him laughing and laughing and I’m like, Well played. You got me. Got me good. You got me good on this one. The thing is, to be fair, the boxes say M&W, so I’m like, Oh, it’s the men and the women.
Medium and wide, guys. It’s a common mistake among people that have no idea what to do with shoe shopping. That’s so funny.
So are you telling me that the first two pairs were women’s?
They probably were women’s. I have no idea. All I know is I went to the men’s section and very quickly I found my pair of shoes. I’m like, Oh, these fit great. These fit amazing. I need to get out of here. But it was just so amazingly fun. But the cool thing was, the lesson I did learn about it was, look, sometimes when you’re forcing things, and this is what I was trying to do, I was trying to force certain things to happen. It just wasn’t happening. But when I found the right section at the right timing, things fit perfectly. And I realized, Whoa, this is an analogy for my own life. Because so many times we’re forcing things to happen, and the idea is to make things happen. I got to make this happen. I got to do that. But the truth is there are so many things happening within us right now that we have no control over. And if any of those things were to stop, we die. If our heart stopped, we die. If our cells stop multiplying, we’d die. We have no control over those things. God is constantly in our lives aiding us and guiding us through it.
Has there ever been a time in your own life where you’re like, Oh, my gosh, I’m forcing this, or I just need to let God’s grace.
Come through. That always happens to me with song ideas. And it’s crazy because it’s an art of its own. I’m sure every artist can attest to this. For example, if you’re singing a song and it’s just not… You have to… Someone wants you to sing the song, but it’s like, Oh, this is not my style. That’s what I feel sometimes when I’m writing songs and it’s just not like gelling. I’m forcing the song and I know it’s not going to be a great song and I just have like, Okay. And literally, I just got to throw it away and just start. I spent literally five hours on the song and I have to let my pride go and realize, you know what? Maybe the next song will be great. And I write it in 20 minutes and it’s a hit song. And they do say the best songs are… They’re written so quickly because there’s no thought.
About it. It just comes out.
Of you. It’s like you’re downloading it, right? It just comes out.
I love how you said, sometimes these things just don’t gel with songwriting. Does that happen to you as well when you’re singing or something, where you’re like, I’m not feeling this. This isn’t connecting. Yes.
Okay, I want.
Just recently, I was in a studio session where I was getting paid and I was trying to sing the music and I was just like, Why did I agree to this? This is going to destroy my career. But also along those lines, recently, at the end of 2021, we got to go to Ghana, Africa. That’s like almost every black person’s dream is to go back home to the motherland, right? My ancestry. We’ve talked about it growing up because my parents served missions in Liberia, West Africa before they were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. I’ve always felt some a disconnect because I love who I am. I love being black. I love being African American, but I don’t have a connection to my African roots. I don’t have a language, I don’t have the name. I don’t have the village where my ancestors were. I don’t have any of that because of enslavement. I always wanted to go back. I had this opportunity and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’m a teacher. There’s no way that I can go. I was like, I think the Lord will want me to go to this.
There’s an opportunity for me to go and to fellowship with the Saints out there, this is a chance of a lifetime and to be with my brothers and my family there. I was just like, Well, let me just see. I think the Lord will want me to go. Maybe he’ll make a way. He’ll make a way. If I’m supposed to go, I’m going to go. Well, step after step, I went to my boss’s like, Hey, I have this opportunity to go. They’re like, You should do it. I’m just like, I’ll be gone for 10 days. They’re like, We’ll cover you. I’m just like, Okay, great. Okay. Oh, my visa. My visa is expired. I can’t get it back in time. I start talking to my brother and other people. Well, if you send it here, or if you do that, then then you’ll get it. I’m like, okay, so I did my visa but then I have to send in to get the stamp of approval from the consulate or whatever. And I’m like, yeah, that’s not going to work because I sent it, it’s going to be gone forever. It’s going to be gone for a few weeks and they’re going to be gone.
My brother’s like, well, just keep it and we’ll try to get you when you get to Ghana. And I was like, Oh, my gosh. But even before then, I just flew to Denver. I was trying to get the passport in the same day.
The expedited passport thing.
Yeah, we sent one in and it never came back. I was like, You can go same day. I was like, Okay. You have to have an appointment. I was like, I flew here from Salt Lake. Sorry, you can’t get in. I was just like, Why would I come all this way? Why would I come all this way? Making phone calls, posts on Instagram. Anybody have any… Anyway, finally was able to go. Call her a Senator. He got me in. I got that. Then went to Ghana. They did the paperwork on the back end, and I was in Ghana. It was life changing. It strengthened my testimony. It also made me more at one with who I am and saying, Wow, these are my people. Look at these people. They’re amazing. They were like, When we got there, they said, Welcome home, B onners. I was like, Oh, my gosh.
What a great feeling.
That was. It’s such an amazing feeling. I think the Lord is just amazing. He knew what I needed, especially in that time with how racial tensions are and things like that. People are saying, Go home to your country. I’m like, This is my answer to help build this country. What do you mean to go home? This is my home. Where are you from? Just to be grateful for my African heritage and also be thankful to live in this country and to have the things that I have. The Lord has just really opened my eyes because of that trip.
Dude, I think it’s so amazing. It’s so great. I was born in India and I lived there for six years before I came to the States. Whenever I get a chance to go back home, it’s so interesting because it’s my roots. It’s where my family are from. And it’s like, Oh, my gosh. These were my beginnings. And I had distinct memories of me being a kid running around in our house in India. And I often think, if I just grew up in India, what a different life I would have lived than if I’d grown up in Utah. I remember I was going back to India. The last time I went back to India was in 2013. So it was a while ago. And I got my ticket and I was ready to go and all this stuff. And then I ended up booking a really big show in LA, a new TV show, HBO show.
Was it Outpost?
Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley. And it was great because I was like, Okay, cool. I was going to film on such and such dates. And I had it. And then I was going to fly to India a week or two later. And it was awesome. But they had to change their schedule, and it turned out that my shoot date was after the date I was supposed to go to India. I’m like, Oh, my God. And so I was asking my manager, I’m like, What am I supposed to do? Because I already got my ticket to India and I need to go there. But Silicon Valley, this is going to be huge. I got to do this, too. So what should I do? And she’s like, Okay, let’s see what we can do. And so she emailed production and all this stuff. And the producers of Silicon Valley, an HBO show, they wrote back and said, Oh, my gosh, we are so sorry. We did not mean for this to happen. What would it cost for him to change the ticket and go another day? We will pay for all of that so he can go to India after.
Wow. So they paid for all of that stuff. I was able to go to India the day after.
I filmed Silicon Valley. It’s that hope. It’s that faith. You start moving and you got to move. Lord, put me where you want me. I know it’s going to be the best place. I might be uncomfortable.
But it’s going to be the best. It’s going to be the best place. Sometimes you’ve got to step out into the darkness and realize, Oh, hey, I still got you. Trust me, I got this. And that’s a great feeling to have, right? But it was so great to go back to India and to hang out. And last time I went back, I wanted to hang out with my friends. And so it was really interesting because when I’m hanging out with my friends, they all flew from the States there. So they’ve never even been to India. It was really cool to be there, not like a spokesperson, but like a person that represents India for them and be like a liaison. Like a liaison type of thing. But it was so fun to go back home and to connect with my family and realize, you’re my family. I came from here and so much of who I am is still is from here. And so that’s awesome.
I love that. I love looking around and saying, Oh, that guy reminds me of my brother. This one lady, she’s like, Call me grandma Africa. I just gave me a hug. And people are so loving.
Over there. So loving. It’s amazing. I ncredible, man. It’s awesome. So let me ask you guys this. What is the greatest source of joy for you right now?
I love Coldstone. It’s incredible.
I’ll tell you, we went from the gospel and now we’re at Coldstone.
I’m talking about my recipe in a different podcast.
No, I’m kidding.
No, I’m in Christ. Christ is my greatest joy. I’d like to think of him as a business partner. Everything that I do, he’s on my board. I love it. He gives me that advice. That is the essential advice. Christ is really fuels all aspects of my life.
It’s really beautiful. I love that, man. What about yourself?
Well, it’s definitely that. Involved in my family just yesterday, my brother came, and my other brother and family, we blessed my son at church. Just being there and feeling the love of our family surrounding my son. I just think about, man, this is a piece of heaven having your family with you forever. God has made a way through the Savior for us to have our eternal families. I felt joy yesterday. I felt joy like, man, I don’t deserve this, but God keeps giving it to me. He keeps blessing me. I don’t deserve it. I don’t. But he keeps finding a way to bless me and to give me more opportunities to feel his love and to feel joy. Now, not when I die, not after this life, but I can have it now. It’s just something that I keep working towards to feel.
I dig that, man. And I love that, too, because what people don’t realize is joy is a very present thing. It’s something that we can have right now, right here. And with it comes so much fun. I always remember, and I love how you said Jesus is your business partner. I love that because I think of him as my agent. I’m like, Dude, I just give him 10 %. He hooks me up with all these gigs. It’s incredible. It’s amazing. I love being able to pow out with him and be like, Okay, what do you think? Yeah, what if I did that, what would happen? It’s really cool because I can feel him and his voice coming to me. He guides me in so many different ways and in the most hilarious ways, too.
I believe it. I believe he does. And you. I see Christ in you a lot.
I appreciate that. Well, it’s fun, man. It’s such a joy. I remember I went on a date with this girl, and I wasn’t sure. I’m like, Okay, she’s a cool girl, nice girl. And all of a sudden I had to go to the bathroom. I went to the bathroom, and all of a sudden as I go to the bathroom, I hear the voice of the Lord saying, Sharon, I have to get you out of there for this one reason. I’m like, Wait, what? What are you doing? And he’s like, Oh, she’s not for you. She’s not for you. But I had to get you away. I’m like, Oh, okay. All right. Well, what do I do now? He’s like, I don’t know, just smoothly. She’s a wonderful girl. You can smoothly part ways. I’m like, Aye, Aye, Captain. Let me get back in there.
He is a personable God. He knows how to reach.
Us, man. He knows how to reach us. I know. There’s no area where you can go where it’s like there’s no service. You always have service with him. I think that’s the beautiful thing is he’s always there and he has your back in the very minute things like buying shoes, for instance. But if he has that connection in the minute things, he’ll have your back in the major things. I think that’s the capstone of my joy. Now, of course, we have joy, but we also have fears in life. The is life. It’s full of uncertainty and it’s full of uncertainty and it’s full of ups and downs and especially, like, 2020. I keep bringing that up because it was the time when the whole world faced the unknown. A lot of times we face the unknown. As artists and as actors, I face the unknown all the time. I’m actually comfortable with it because I’m like, I have no idea, but I know that something is going to be provided for me. But for a lot of people, when they were like, depending on certainty, certainty of job, certainty of marriage or whatever it is, when they face that massive uncertainty, certain time, they get fearful.
Tell me about your own fears. There’s been a time when you’re like, Oh, my gosh, that really made me afraid. How did I get over that?
I never thought that I would lose in a ping pong match, and I did a couple of weeks ago. I’m really good at ping pong.
I believe you.
I believe you.
He started out so seriously.
One of his close friends beat me and it just shook my world. But next week I.
Beat him and I felt better. Derek, you’re better than this guy.
Two out of three, buddy. Yeah, two out of three. Let’s get two out of three right now. Where’s Derek?
There’s so many times where I’m disappointed. I wanted to do this at this time. I wanted to finish school at this time. I’m still in school. But I don’t know. I’m grateful with just the timeline. I didn’t plan on going on a mission. I didn’t want to go on a mission, but I knew the Lord wanted me to, and I was blessed for it. I had opportunities lined up, too. But it was all worth it. I feel like I’m a better man because of it. I think the Lord’s timing is just so paramount that we just can’t… We don’t see the microscopic… We look at it on a micro, but he sees it.
Macro. Yeah, he sees it from 13 dimensions, from this way, that way. I’m just grateful for his timing, even though I might want things to happen right now in a certain time, or I might not want certain things for me, but he does, and then I see the benefit of it. That just happened so many times.
I got to give props to my parents because hearing you speak just makes me think about mom and dad. Growing up, we moved so much. We were always moving. My parents, they’re like, the Lord speaks to them and then they’re gone. There’s no way, Oh, Lord, are you sure? No. It’s like, Oh, move. Oh, we got to go? Oh, we’re out. A lot of the moves were motivated by opportunities for their children. What’s going to put our kids in the best situation for them to learn and to grow and to be successful? I remember one of the moves that happened, and I think because it’s hard for me to fear of change, those things, just because of the way that we lived growing up. My mom was at church and one of my friends, mothers, came up to my mom and was like, Man, you got a good boy. He’s a good boy. He doesn’t do any of the things his friends do. My mom was like, Thank you. What? Huh? What are his friends doing? Within the week, I was on a plane ride to another state, to.
Another school. With all of us.
Well, you guys came later. Did we come later? You guys came later. I was there. I’m not going to name where I was at. Don’t worry about it. But I moved and then the rest of the family came two months later. Wow. I was like, Okay, this is what we do. We move by faith. My parents just wanted to get me in a better situation around people that were going to be encouraging me to do. It was great because in that same time, I was praying. I said, Lord, I want to live for you. I want to live for you. What can I do? Please put me in a position to give my talent and to live for you because I think we just heard President Hinkley’s, for those who are old enough to remember, be smart, be grateful, be clean, be true, humble, prayerful. Anyway.
I feel like.
I’ve heard of that before. Yeah. So all those things President Hinkley talked about, and that just changed my heart. I was like, I need to be better. I want to be the best me because I was going to seminary sometimes. Sometimes I wasn’t. I didn’t miss a day of seminary when I moved. I went to seminary every class period, every class period. I had new friends and I was like, This is the person that I’m going to be. And luckily, my parents were in tuned with that to make that move. It’s one of those things where as you have faith and believe in God, there’s no fear. You don’t fear. That fear comes from the adversary, from the enemy. I definitely have feared things. I was fearful for my son when he was in the NICU and my wife, some of her health conditions. But faith dispels that.
Amazing, man. President Monson, you talked about how one can’t exist together. No, both can’t exist together. Basically, one has to dispel the other. I guess, which one do you want to put on the stage?
On the stage, right? What set on stage?
Yeah, that was great.
I like it. Here’s an interesting thought I was thinking about, and I had and I just think, Wow, having this concept is so mind blowing. I love science as well. One of the things we think about, we live right now in mortality and linear time, past, present, and future. We can’t relive the past, except in our memory. The future is an idea. It really is an idea. The only thing that exists is right here. We’re having this podcast right here, right now. That’s all that exists, right?
Right here, right now.
Dude, I remember that song.
No, you’re too young. You’re in your 20s. 20s.
Yeah, it’s all right. Sorry,. That was young guns. That was 90s.
Love me some 90s.
I do too.
Anyway, what I was saying was because we live in linear time, we’re going moment to moment, really, when you think about it. But God lives in eternal now, meaning he’s outside of the bounds of this linear time. Past, present and future for us is all just right now to him. He literally could answer your prayer in your past. You could pray right now and he could do things that could affect certain things in the past. And that’s why your future will turn out a certain way because of the seeds he may have planted in the past. And he has all eternity to spend time with you because he lives outside of time. And that’s the best business partner to have. And he also loves you completely, unconditionally. The best partner you could ever ask for. So it’s like, yeah, if you have faith in him and if you have that relationship with him, literally, there is nothing to fear because it’s like, how can you? He’s got every aspect of you taken care of. Then if things happen that you’re like, I don’t know what’s happening on this world, but something’s weird going on, but I know you got my back, then you can trust him and know that, hey, I will go on another plane ride to another place altogether and start my whole life completely fresh, knowing that God’s got my back and change is normal and it’s going to be okay.
I love that attitude, man. I think that faith, putting that on center stage is awesome. I’ve really got one more question for you. I do want to hear you guys sing, if that’s okay. Does that sound good? How do you guys.
Feel about that? How do you feel?
I love opportunities.
Okay, so fantastic. Just make sure you put my YouTube link on there, my Instagram, all of that. Just move the.
Camera on there. Yeah, Yeah, we’re going to zoom in. It’s going to be so great.
But I am a solo artist, though. I am a solo artist. You can oooh and aah in the background if you want to. Follow him.
I’ll add in my own things and then it might sound Indian, but it’s okay. It’s fine. The last question I want to ask you guys is, knowing all the things you’ve learned right now, if you could rewind time, if you can go back in time and visit your younger selves, what would you give advice to that younger self about?
Nothing. I wouldn’t tell them anything because I like where I am right now and I don’t want to mess it up.
I love that.
I’ve seen too many movies that do that. Go back and you tell someone something and then messes up the.
Future. It’s like back to.
The future. I’m okay now. Don’t touch me. I’m good.
Just put God first. Love that. That’s something that’s been reiterated to us by our parents, by our siblings, by our church leaders. As I put God first, man, life, I just feel more assertive. Lord, I think this is what’s right. I’m doing what I believe you want me to do. I’m going. You’re going. I believe. And if it’s not, he’s going to put something there to divert me to where I need to go. So I would tell my younger self, put God first.
I love that. It’s interesting. I was thinking about this question for myself because I’m like, what would I tell my younger self? And I realized I don’t think I would tell him anything either. But what I would do is go and hug him.
That wouldn’t change anything too drastically.
I think I would just go and hug him. Just to go hug him and be like, Hey, I love you. Because it’s interesting. I think when I was a kid growing up, because we didn’t grow up in a massive God fearing family and stuff, I had to discover God later on. I think for me, if I had known how loved I was by God, even at a young age, everything would have changed. I’m super happy for where I’m at right now, but I remember my childhood being very troubling and challenging and full of insecurities because I just didn’t have that love of God. I just didn’t know about it. But once I found out about it, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’m going to make up for the fact that I didn’t have it because I’m going to have a blast right now and I still am. And it’s interesting. I was having a conversation with just some friends of mine and they were asking me how old I am. I just turned 41. I turned 41 in January. But I feel so alive. I feel way more energy than I did in my 20s.
Oba, trust me, when you turn 41, you’re going to be like, love it. You got it. 20 more years. 20 more years. You got it, man. But I’m telling you, it feels great. I realized, Wow, why is it that I feel so alive right now? I really think it goes back to, Oh, because of the love of God in me. I wish I could go back in time and infuse that love of God in the 12 year old me or the seven year old me, the one that’s full of insecurities, because then it would be even more fun. But listen, I’m having a blast right now. So it’s great.
Well, you said something earlier, too, about the 2020. I want to go back and…
I really enjoyed that year.
I did, too.
I really enjoyed that year. I was appreciative of people being aware of my experience as an African American in America. I was very appreciative of my opportunity to wake up a little bit later in the day, to hang out with my kids, to connect with my wife, and just to be home because it’s go, go, go. In entertainment, we’re going like, Oh, this is an opportunity? Oh, I’m gone. You’re saying yes to all these different opportunities, but to slow down, to have meaningful conversation, to have conversations about things that people don’t normally want to talk about. Oh, politics? Oh, faith? Oh, God. Oh, no. Racism? My touching that.
If we’re not going to talk about these things, how are we going to progress? How are we going to get better? Even though it was very painful at some points and painful for me to hear how some of my friends felt about people who looked like me or about their perception, it was a great learning experience for me. And for a lot of them, they grew through it and understanding, Wow, how do you know what you think until you hear what you say sometimes? That’s why you got to talk it out. So I appreciate the opportunity to have those conversations.
I think it’s really cool that you mentioned that because I think the most painful way of growing is not saying anything. I appreciate all the things that did happen in 2020. I think it was tragic but also a blessing because people spoke and you were able to edify each other and learn from each other and understand the black struggle in America. Even if it was harsh things or things I might have not agreed with. I just felt, Thank you for just saying something because a lot of people don’t say anything and just stay how they are. But if you’re open to partying, what do they say in the scriptures? Imparting of your substance. If you impart.
Imparting that substance, imparting of your substance, it’ll edify and you’ll be edified.
That’s how I take it. I love that. If I could describe 2020 for me, I would say authenticity. That’s what I would say because it was the year that everything reset and so I could look back in my life and think, Okay, what are aspects of me? Because I remember when I was praying that year, asking, What should I be focusing on God? What should I be should I do? And the answer kept coming back to me, Have more fun. I’m like, Wait, what? Just to clarify, I just want to make sure that I got have more fun from you. I want to make sure. And he’s like, no, no, seriously, go have more fun. I’m like, Why? He’s like, Because that is authentic to you. I’m like, Oh, really? I started thinking, how many times have I said certain things and I’ve done things because it’s what I should be doing, or it’s what other people say I should be doing? I started evaluating my life and realizing so many of the things I was doing, and I was a good guy, but so many of the things I was doing was because of a narrative someone else said.
It wasn’t because I intentionally chose it. It was an interesting time. I appreciate you’re talking about some of the as you’re imparting the substance. You talk about the struggles that black people were having. Molly, your brother invited me to a panel that he was doing about open conversations.
Open, honest conversations. Shout out to Molly B. Open, honest conversations. Yeah. Big pro.
Yeah. It was awesome because I should have think about this for myself. I’m like, have I experienced racism as an Indian growing up in Utah? Maybe I have. I’m trying to remember instances as a kid where it was a challenge and whatnot. But what was really cool was, like you said, the moment you could start having those open conversations and sharing your heart and what you’re really feeling and being able to talk, you find greater connection. You find greater greater light. You find greater joy. And you realize, Wow, life is actually really awesome. And we’re filled with such amazing people in our lives to help buoy each other up. So I think it’s awesome. You guys are great. And honestly, I freaking love you guys. Hey, we.
Love you, man. Thanks for being a part.
Of our village, bro. Are you joking me? I love it. I know. I was trying to get some people to bring you up. You’ve got to. And I love the random times you go and have breakfast. And I think the last time we went and had breakfast, we couldn’t even find the place and realized it was actually in a hotel in the Marriott. We’re like, Oh, is it in the Marriott Hotel, this restaurant that we found? But we went there and it was amazing. The food was good. The food.
Was good. However, I.
Will say I was a little disappointed that Oba didn’t pick us up. I felt like we were walking.
He drove by us?
He drove by us. It was cold?
It was freezing. Oh, you guys. Okay, we’ll see you there. Every time I pulled up, I was.
Like, Hi, guys. You guys walked the other way.
You didn’t know me.
Oh, man, we were waiting.
If I had an egg in my hand. I know. I cleaned.
My car that morning. I was.
Ready for you guys. I know. Well, you know what? You did give us ride back and I appreciate that. No, it’s good. You guys are great. Anytime. Well, normally, we’d end the podcast right now, but this time we’re not going to yet because I need to hear something from you guys. Either duet or whatever you want to do, backup singing for each other. I have no idea. I don’t care. But do you have anything that comes to your minds or your hearts that’s going to fill us? It’s going to fill our souls.
How great the heart?
How great the heart? We could do how great the Heart? How Great the Heart? We can do How Great.
The Heart. What else do you want to do?
Well, we could do Saints Upon a Promise Land.
Oh, yeah, let’s do that one. Okay. Yeah, that’s great.
All right. Okay. You guys don’t need any music or anything, right? You guys can just sing solo, right? Sure, yeah. Yeah. Or a cappella, I mean a cappella.
Using lead to all the singing background.
We’re going to do one verse?
Let’s just do one. Okay, we’ll do one voice. Short and sweet. You got the fancy clap. I’ll just do that.
Oh, my gosh. It’s going to be fancy clap for you guys. This is huge.
Setting the note for me then, huh? Yeah. That’s too high for me. This is too early. You got to leave.
Guide us so, thou goest not to tell. Great Jehovah.
Saints upon the.
Saints upon the promised land.
We are we, but thou.
Art able. Hold us with thy power, hey.
Hold us, hey.
Hold us with.
Thy power, hand. Holy Spirit, feed us till the Savior comes. The Savior comes.
Holy Spirit, feed us till. The Savior comes. The Savior comes.
You guys are.
The best. Thank you so much.
Thank you. That’s so funny because that’s the song that we did on the soundtrack of Jay and Emma. It’s not really my genre music. It’s not really his genre music. But it’s something that we did together.
As a family. I love that, man.
That’s great. Little impromptu.
That was awesome. Well, thank you guys. Seriously, I freaking love you guys. You’re the best. I can’t wait to hang out again and have breakfast again. At the Marriott. At the Marriott, yeah. Let’s drive by him while he’s walking. This is so good. We’ll give him the fake address. And then I’ll walk away from.
You guys. You’re good to me. You guys are.
The best. Seriously, thank you so much. But more importantly, thank you for sharing the light of Christ. You guys do that every single day in all that you do. I really appreciate it because I really believe that that is what repels the darkness, is the light. The more you can share that light everywhere you go, which you guys do automatically, it just repels. Thank you so much for bringing that light and for helping us all out. Bless to do it. Thanks, Sharon. Let’s go get some lemonade. Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s go drink some lemonade. Okay. Awesome. Thank you guys so much. Appreciate it. Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback in the reviews. And if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.