Podcast Special Guest, John Raffoul

John Raffoul
Episode 46

In this episode, John Raffoul joins host Japhet De Oliveira to discuss leadership, faith, and the long-lasting power of kindness.
Libsyn Podcast
"I have a great team of people, and they are the drivers, the ones that do the work, see the vision, make the suggestions, and I sit in the back seat and watch it happen, encourage them and cheer for them."

Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira, with his guest today, and discover the moments that shape us, our families, and communities.

Japhet De Oliveira: Welcome, friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. I'm delighted with our guest, today. I can say this. Absolutely. I'm delighted with all of my guests, but, today, you're going to hear another voice, and a good voice, and it's going to be fun. If you're brand new to The Story & Experience Podcast, it's really simple. We have a hundred questions. First 10, I ask the guest. He's looking at me right now. He's smiling in anticipation of it. Then the guest gets to choose, between 11 and 100, which ones they want to go through. Towards 100, it gets to become a little more vulnerable. We'll begin straight away. I will start with question number one, very difficult question. Could you tell us your name, and does anybody ever mispronounce it, don't understand it, mess it up, in some way?

John Raffoul: Yes, definitely. My name is John Raffoul, and of course, it's always misspelled, always mispronounced, because not an easy name to say. I've had people call me Raffou. They're afraid to say the last four letters, foul. They start to avoid that. They say Raffou, Raff, and they stop. Really, it's pronounced Raffoul, R-A-F-F-O-U-L.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. Yeah, that would be true. You do not want to mess that up. The delicacy of it. All right, John. What do you do for work, at the moment?

John Raffoul: I'm President of Adventist Health White Memorial, and I run the day-to-day operations of the hospital, and act as the face of the hospital with our legislatures, with our community, with our different associations that we have, and try to set up the place for success.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, it is a great hospital. I'm really glad to hear that. How long have you been doing this?

John Raffoul: As president, since January of, or March, I should say, of 2015.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

John Raffoul: About seven, seven and a half, eight years. However, I've been at White Memorial, here, for 33 years.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, my.

John Raffoul: I'm a long timer.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, then, John. 33 years, well done. That's fantastic. Aw.

John Raffoul: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's really good. That's really good. I was going to ask you how long you've been in this current role, but you nailed that so well. Brilliant. In the morning, when you get up, what's your first drink of choice? Is it water, tea, coffee, green, liquid smoothie?

John Raffoul: It's normally coffee. We have this one Italian coffee machine that my wife bought, and she loves.

Japhet De Oliveira: Uh-huh (affirmative).

John Raffoul: She thinks she's a barista. We have to make a cup of coffee, every morning, when I first get up. We actually turn it on the night before, so we don't have to wait for it to heat up.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, right. This is good. This is good. What kind of coffee do you like?

John Raffoul: Well, this may sound different. I like coffee for the taste of coffee, and as a habit, to be honest with you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: I drink decaf coffee. Usually, it's the Colombian decaf coffee, or French vanilla decaf.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Oh, no. I understand. I understand. Some people drink it for the caffeinated stuff, and some drink it for the flavor. I'm with you. Or, for both. Brilliant. OK. John, where were you born?

John Raffoul: I was born in Beirut, Lebanon.

Japhet De Oliveira: Get out of here. That's fantastic.

John Raffoul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Have you ever been back?

John Raffoul: I left when I was 17 years old. I probably went back, I would say, twice.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

John Raffoul: I went back, maybe, about six or seven years after I left. I went back, maybe, about 10 years ago. The second trip I made was a business trip to, basically, transfer some properties my parents have had, because my mother was getting towards the end of her life. I had to fly in, do the work, and fly out.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. OK. When you were a kid, and you grew up there, what did you imagine you were going to be?

John Raffoul: Well, that's interesting. When you're growing up, your parents always encourage you to be a doctor, of course. Everybody wanted you to be doctor, right?

Japhet De Oliveira: Uh-huh (affirmative).

John Raffoul: I'm not sure I had that vision, honestly, to be a doctor, but I knew I liked sciences. I did like sciences. I did like biology. I did like chemistry. I knew I was someday going to be in the field of biology or chemistry. That was my love and passion.

Japhet De Oliveira: Mm. Hey, that's good. It's good. You're going to be something in the science world. You are in the medical world. There you are. You did it. John, if people were to describe you, would they describe you as an extrovert, introvert? Would you agree?

John Raffoul: I am an extrovert because I love people. I love communicating with people. I love socializing with people. I like being around people. I go crazy if I'm not doing something with somebody. I think I'm an extrovert, and I think people will agree with that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh. Hey, that's good. What about some of your habits? Are you an early riser, or late night owl?

John Raffoul: Truthfully, I'm a late riser, and I can stay up all night long. Doesn't bother me at all. If you ask me to wake up half hour early, I'm a grumpy man for the rest of the day.

Japhet De Oliveira: We should have done this at 5:00 AM, in the morning, for you, then. All right. Then, this morning, whenever you got up, what was the first thought that went through your mind?

John Raffoul: It's the same thought that enters my mind every morning when I get up. I want to talk to my grandkids. I want to FaceTime.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh. Oh. Oh.

John Raffoul: This is a habit. It happens every morning.

Japhet De Oliveira: Aw.

John Raffoul: I get up. The first thing I do is dial FaceTime. Thank God for FaceTime. We couldn't do that in the past.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. I know.

John Raffoul: Now, we have the luxury of actually seeing them, and talking to them on Facebook. That's the thing. Same thing we do. Sometimes my wife is up, and she joins me in doing so. Sometimes she kicks me out of the room, says, "Go somewhere else. I need sleep more."

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's beautiful. This is a bonus question. How many grandkids do you have?

John Raffoul: I have two. I have Easton. He's six-month-old.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

John Raffoul: I have Carson, who's two and a half years old.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh.

John Raffoul: They both live in Georgia.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, that's adorable. That's adorable.

John Raffoul: Thank you.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's fantastic you do that. That's really good. Stay connected all the time. It's what life is all about. Hey, here's a leadership question for you. Are you a backseat driver, John?

John Raffoul: I think leadership calls, honestly, for you to adapt, to truly adapt. Most of the time, I really choose the right people to surround myself with. I have a great team of people, and they are the drivers. They are the drivers. They're the ones that do the work, see the vision, makes the suggestions. I do sit in the backseat, and watch it happen, and encourage them. Cheer for them to do that. The only instance that I really step up to the front, and start driving and leading, is if I feel that the hospital is in jeopardy, or something is about to go down, that's really is going to hurt the hospital. Then you'll see me completely different person. My personality transforms, completely, into being in the front seat, being in control, being detail oriented, hovering over every single detail, is when I feel that the hospital, or the mission, is in jeopardy.

Japhet De Oliveira: Well, I haven't been there for 33 years, you must know a lot about that hospital. Yeah. Hey, that's great. Fantastic. All right. See, that was super easy. We're now into the 11 to 100. John, you get to pick numbers, and see where we're going to go. I'd love to learn some stories and experiences that shaped you.

John Raffoul: Mm. You said, choose a question between 11 and 100?

Japhet De Oliveira: 100, yeah. Any number that you want. We'll keep on going through those numbers until time runs out.

John Raffoul: How about 22?.

Japhet De Oliveira: 22. All right. Brilliant. Here we go. If you could be anywhere, right now, where would it be?

John Raffoul: Wow. That's a good question. If it's for pleasure-

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

John Raffoul: I would like to be in Bora Bora. That's one of the best places we've been. I've gone on a lot of vacations. The one that really left a big impression on me and my wife is the trip we made to Bora Bora because it was a secluded place. It was very quiet, very serene. You couldn't go anywhere to do shopping. You couldn't go anywhere to... Basically, you had to stay at the resort and relax. I have a very hard time relaxing. I'm the kind of guy that always wants to do something. I have to feel productive. I always have my list of things on my phone. I have the to-do list. I have that every weekend. Over there, you don't have to do that. You just sit, relax, read a book, and be yourself, and enjoy yourself.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. That's great. That was for pleasure. That's great. My wife's been to Bora Bora. Notice that I said my wife's been to Bora Bora. I haven't. I feel it. I feel... Hey, this is 22a. It's not on list. You like to-do list. Do you actually write items on your to-do list at the end, so you can cross them off, or do you work off that each day?

John Raffoul: No, I have a list of items, 1 through 10, and as I finish the work, I cross them off. It's a line item by line item.

Japhet De Oliveira: If you had an extra one, that wasn't on your list, would you go and add it to cross it off? Or, would you just do it?

John Raffoul: If there's another thing that comes up, I'll just do it.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. Just checking. Just checking. All right. Good. All right. After 22, sir, where would you like to go next? You can go up or down.

John Raffoul: Yeah. 22. How about 32?

Japhet De Oliveira: 32. All right. If you were featured on the local news, surprise, surprise. What would the news story likely be?

John Raffoul: My biggest pride, in life, is really achieving the Malcolm Baldridge Award for White Memorial. It wasn't, of course me, it was my team that did that. The one thing would be, probably, about the excellence, the excellent care we provide at White Memorial.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yes.

John Raffoul: The fact that we are a nationally recognized hospital. There's actually no hospital in Los Angeles that ever got the National Malcolm Baldridge Award. We're one of the very few. I think in Adventist Health, we only had two hospital, Castle and White Memorial. I'm a proud individual. I'm really proud of this. My team is proud of it. If we're on the news, I would love that to be the news feature, locally.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. You also spearheaded for us to be able to create the Presidential Award, right? The coin that we gave out last year, as well. It was an idea, as well, that you came up with. I know the entire Adventist Healthcare division developed it, as well, with you. Thank you for thinking of ways to affirm people, and bring excellence in what we do.

John Raffoul: Yeah. We did this, maybe 15, 20 years ago, here at White Memorial, and it was very successful with our leaders. However, over the years, we moved away from it.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

John Raffoul: Then, of course, with the pandemic coming, we had the National Guard come to our hospital. We saw the National Guard actually bring the coin, and give it to the frontline employees, here. When the commander comes in, and does that, it meant so much to their frontline staff.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah.

John Raffoul: It's reinvigorated, if you will, the idea. I said, "We used to do that, and we need to really start this all up again." That's what brought it back up.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. No, it's good. I appreciate it. I, actually, really enjoy it, the entire process. Thank you for doing that. Right. That was 32. Where next?

John Raffoul: Okay. 32. They get harder as you go up. Right?

Japhet De Oliveira: I wouldn't say harder is the word. I would say they get more complex, or more vulnerable, or more open, more... Yeah. You could try and see, and you could come back down and see how you go.

John Raffoul: How about 34? Go up two.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, sure. 34 it is. Tell us about a moment, oh, that a person's kindness made a difference in your life.

John Raffoul: Okay. That's...

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: Actually that's an easy one. I'll tell you why. I will never forget that. I went to La Sierra University, back then it was called Loma Linda University, in Riverside to get my degree in business and accounting.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right.

John Raffoul: After I graduated... I was a foreign student. Finished my education. Of course, my parents made a lot of sacrifices for me to come to the United States, and to get educated, and graduate. I was very anxious to find a job, and be able to actually support myself, and be less of a burden on my parents, at that time. I started calling different companies, and sending my resumes everywhere. I decided, "Well, you know what, I'm an Adventist. I know we have a hospital system in California, so why not call the Adventist Health corporate office." I called blindly. Called Adventist Health corporate office, asked that person that answered the phone, "Can I speak to the CFO?"

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: Said, "Of course." She sent me to the secretary of the CFO. The CFO was Doug Rebok. Some people may know Doug Rebok that had been in the company for a long time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice.

John Raffoul: Doug Reebok was the Chief Financial Officer for the organization back in 1984, I believe.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

John Raffoul: She said, "OK, what do you mean?" "Wait a minute, please?" I said, "Yes." She must have talked to Doug Reebok. Doug Reebok said, "Of course, I'll talk to him." She told him it was a student from La Sierra.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

John Raffoul:

Doug Reebok took my call. Spent 45 minutes on the phone with me.

Japhet De Oliveira: No. Really?

John Raffoul: Went over my resume, went over my education, went about my background, told me about the company, told me about... That really struck me. Here's the CFO, senior executive in an organization, multi-billion dollar corporation. Actually took the time to speak to a student that he doesn't even know, and spend that time with me. He sent my resume to Pete Kluback then, who was the accounting manager down here at White Memorial Medical Center, at the time.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: Sure enough, a few days later, I got a call from White Memorial, and I came down to interview, and I got the job as a staff accountant. That's how my careers started. Up to this day, I would never turn a call from a student. I would never turn a request for help from a student because that kindness that was given to me, I endeavor to really give it to other students, as well.

Japhet De Oliveira: That's wonderful. I like how you've taken that on, and you're also paying it forward, as well. That's brilliant. That's great. Thank you. Yeah. That's good. All right. After 34, sir, where would you like to go next?

John Raffoul: Hmm.

Japhet De Oliveira: This is the most stressful part of the entire podcast. Choose a number.

John Raffoul: You never know what you're going to get.

Japhet De Oliveira: I know. That's what's good.

John Raffoul: How about 50?

Japhet De Oliveira: 50. Oh, OK. This is beautiful. This will be easy for you. Share about who has influenced you professionally. You just shared an amazing story. But, yeah.

John Raffoul: Well, professionally, I have multiple people, not one individual-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I'm sure.

John Raffoul: ... really, that influenced me. I could tell you when I came to White Memorial, I was a controller. I was promoted to a controller here in 1992. There was a president here by name of Charles Ricks, at the time.

John Raffoul: One day, Charles Ricks shows up to my office. By the way, I had really known him much at all. I hadn't been here for a long time, maybe a couple of months, haven't really worked with him that much. He showed up with my office, and he put a gift on my desk, and it was a wallet. He said, "John, this is to say, "Thank you for all the work that you do. I'd like to give you a little memento of thank you." That wallet meant so much to me. It wasn't necessarily the price, or the gift itself. It's the fact that Charles Ricks came down from his office to my... Which was in a different building. Main hospital to my office, and actually spent the time to say, "Thank you." I learned the power of thank you coming from a senior leader to staff. Whether it's a frontline staff to middle staff, we sometimes don't appreciate the impact that thank you, or that gift means to the people that report to us, or the middle level, or frontline staff. I think it means a lot. He really impressed me with that.

Frank Looper is another person that I love very much, and I respect. He influenced my career by two things. He was inspirational. He was inspirational. He really walked the walk, and he really did what he said. He was grounded in his faith. They knew he was very genuine. He would send me Bible verses all the time. If my birthday come, he would send me a Bible verse. He's very much grounded in his faith. In leadership, it's very important for us as leaders to also be extremely grounded in our faith.

The last, but not least, is Beth Zachary, my previous boss. The way she influenced my career, and my life... We were polar opposites.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: Yeah. We were polar opposites. I was a CFO at the time, and CFOs are very rigid sometimes.

Japhet De Oliveira: I wonder why. I wonder why.

John Raffoul: Yeah. They're very rigid, and they're into structure, into making changes by the structure, and what have you. I used to argue with Beth all the time because she valued people.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: She valued people much over structure.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK. OK.

John Raffoul: If she had a choice between changing a structure to accommodate people, or not having people are really talented, because of the structure, she always chose that people are talented, to really connect. That's the lesson I did not appreciate until I became president.

Japhet De Oliveira: Until you became president.

John Raffoul: I never appreciated that until I became president.

Japhet De Oliveira: Then, the people mattered. Yeah.

John Raffoul: I know now, that, you know what, this was a lesson that, really, I learned from Beth that, you know what, people matter.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes.

John Raffoul: "People matter, and people need to be valued. I need to attract the talent. Don't be so rigid about saying, 'I really don't need you because I don't have the structure for you.' Let's make sure we have the right people, in our organization." That's an incredible lesson that I learned from her.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, those are three fantastic tributes, and beautiful lessons, as well, that I think anyone can apply to their own lives, as well, today in leadership. Thank you for sharing that. Right. Where next, sir?

John Raffoul: Let's see. I did 60. Was last 50s I did? That was 50?

Japhet De Oliveira: That was 50. Yeah.

John Raffoul: Let's do 60.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. 60 it is. When, in life, John, have you felt most alone?

John Raffoul: Yeah. I tell you, I was born to a family of three. I had a brother, a sister, and myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right.

John Raffoul: My brother and my sister died early in life in a car accident, 10 years apart.

Japhet De Oliveira: Right.

John Raffoul: They were very young, 21 and 31 years old. Of course in recent life, my dad got pretty elderly and passed away. Then the last one that passed away was my mother, a few years back. When my mother passed away, it was the last person in my family, aside from my own wife and kids, the family I was born into. She was the last one that really was in the family. I was by myself, after my mother died. My brother and sister were gone, my father is gone, my mother is gone. I remember it really struck me very hard that my family's gone, basically, except for me. That was the time that I really felt by myself. I didn't have the support of my parents, of my siblings.

Japhet De Oliveira: It is a massive change. I think lots of people who've experienced the same thing would feel the same way, as well, would really recognize that moment, as well. It is a significant shift. Yeah. Especially, for great people, for great people, connected allies. All right. Where next, sir? Thank you for taking that, and sharing that.

John Raffoul: No problem. 75.

Japhet De Oliveira: 75. All right, here we go. Do you remember the very first item that you purchased with your own money, and what was it, and why did you buy it?

John Raffoul: With my own money.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. This is back in the day.

John Raffoul: You're talking about a significant, probably, purchase.

Japhet De Oliveira: Car. Well, depends. Some people.

John Raffoul: Probably, the first car I bought for myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah.

John Raffoul:

That's for a youngster.

Japhet De Oliveira: Big deal.

John Raffoul: A youngster is a big deal to buy your own car. Like I said, I was a student, so I didn't have luxury of having my parents buying me a car. I actually bought my first car myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: What car did you get?

John Raffoul: I remember I got a Dodge Charger.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, OK.

John Raffoul: It was a 1973 Dodge Charger.

Japhet De Oliveira: Nice shape.

John Raffoul: It was the SE edition, I remember. Was brown.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Standard color.

John Raffoul: I bought that. Yeah. It was a eight cylinder car. Bought it from a lady that had not driven it much at all. She was an older lady that she had it, and really didn't have a whole lot of miles on it. That was the first one I bought with my own... It was $1,500 to be exact.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. OK.

John Raffoul: Back in 1981, it was. I bought it for $1,500.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's epic.

John Raffoul: Yeah. I enjoyed that a lot. It was a muscle car, at the time. For a youngster, as 21 years old buying a car like that, it was a big thing for me.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yeah. I could see that. Hey, that's fantastic. All right. OK. We have time, John, for two more. You're at 75, right now, and you have time for two more numbers. Where would you like to go?

John Raffoul: Well, let's keep going up to 80. Let's see how harder it gets.

Japhet De Oliveira: Not necessarily harder, but okay. Here's 80. How would you like to change in the future?

John Raffoul: Are you talking about me, personally?

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Yeah. How would you, personally, like to change in the future?

John Raffoul: Well, I'll tell you. I'll be honest. This is going to be an honest answer. OK. A lot of us in our positions, at work, especially in a senior position at work, position of responsibility, you tend to learn how to work with people, how to be very tolerant of the people, how to listen to people, how to make them feel valued, how to give and take with them. For me personally, I'd like to carry that to my home. Because a lot of times at home, we are, sometimes with our own kids, we're less tolerant than we are with our colleagues.

Japhet De Oliveira: I understand.

John Raffoul: For me, personally, is making an effort to be as tolerant, and as diplomatic, and as flexible, when I'm dealing with my own kids, my own family. It's an effort. You really have to make an effort to do that.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. Again, I think that's something that would resonate with a lot of people. We all understand a certain place that we are, but when we get home, that's the real world, as well, and needs as much attention, if not more. Yeah. I'm with you. I'm with you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. All right. Time for your last number, where would you like to go, sir?

John Raffoul: I think we'll keep going to 90 and see how that is. I don't dare to go to 100. I'll go to 90.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. All right. You want question number 90?

John Raffoul: Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Tell us about how you overcame something that, seemingly, was insurmountable as an obstacle in front of you, but you overcame it.

John Raffoul: I'm pretty sure there are things that are personal, and there's things that are professional.

Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, yes.

John Raffoul: To do that. Maybe I'll answer it from a professional-

Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.

John Raffoul: ... standpoint. From a profession standpoint, when I was a CFO here at White Memorial, and we're building the new hospital, we got in trouble. We got in trouble because the builder that we're building the hospital with, we got into a huge dispute.

Japhet De Oliveira: OK.

John Raffoul: We were about $48 million off budget. We're fighting and wrangling over $48 million, which is a huge, huge number for us.

Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, yes.

John Raffoul: We got to a place, basically, where the hospital was threatened. They're going to walk off the job. They're going to really stop the project, to do that. I was asked by my boss, Beth Zachary and Bob Carmen at the time, if I would step in and try to negotiate a settlement. I have no clue why they chose me to go in and negotiate a settlement, at that time, because I was pretty young at the time. I have no clue why chose me to do that. I thought about it as a huge problem, insurmountable problem to deal with because the numbers were... We thought we owed them $8 million. They wanted $48 million.

Japhet De Oliveira: Wow.

John Raffoul: I went in there, and I think the first thing you need to learn is to build trust. You have to build trust with the people that you are negotiating with. The second thing I learned is you really have to put yourself in their shoes, too. Not only look at things from your end, you have to look at it from their point of view as well, and be able to genuinely sit down and negotiate a settlement with them. They feel it's a win-win situation to do that. Not necessarily meaning splitting the baby in half, by no means. It meaning, looking at the issues, objectively, talking about issues, objectively, not being biased and hardheaded about it, and try to figure out a solution.

Japhet De Oliveira: Diffuse it.

John Raffoul: Thankfully, after a couple of months of working with them, we're able to reach a settlement, and it wasn't anywhere near the $48 million settlement that they wanted.

Japhet De Oliveira: Fantastic.

John Raffoul: I think at the end of the day, we ended up with about $14 million settlement with the group and were able to settle the case with them. I thought this was very hard thing to do. I learned a lot from it myself.

Japhet De Oliveira: I'm sure.

John Raffoul: I learned so much from it, myself. Their name of the company was Pankow, and Pankow till today appreciates the process, and how we did it, and how we resolved the issue. They didn't have any bad taste whatsoever in their mind, at the end of the day. We both were happy walking away-

Japhet De Oliveira: With amicable.

John Raffoul: ... with this element. Yeah.

Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's fantastic. Well, thank you for sharing that. That's a hefty shift, and a good shift, as well. John, it has been an absolute pleasure to be connected with you, and a delight to be able to engage in these conversations. I think they are inspirational to so many people as well, encouraging them to be close to their families, learning the beauty of what life connection teaches from all these experiences. I can see that saying thank you to people always, always is good. Thank you for sharing.

John Raffoul: Thank you very much. Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it very much.

Japhet De Oliveira: Absolutely. To everybody who's listening, we want you to do the same thing. Just like John and I are talking right now, you should sit down, share your stories, your experiences, listen to other stories and experiences. I learnt today. You can learn as well, and it will change you, and make you into a better person so you can live God's love in the best way your called to be, as well. Thanks everyone. God bless, and take care.

Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch, and submit your story and experience at AdventistHealth.org/Story. The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health through the Office of Culture.