Latter-day Saint Life

A public health advocate’s mission to spread ‘peachy’ inspiration

eme linked in.jpg
Emeobong (Eme) Martin

Meet Emeobong (Eme) Martin whose “peachy disposition” has blossomed into a life of sweet and significant service.

As a missionary in St. Louis, Missouri, Eme used the phrase “Have a peachy one!” at the end of her voicemail recording. Her trainer loved the chipper greeting and told Eme how happy it made her to hear the phrase. “It wasn’t until my companion made that observation that I realized that it had become a mantra,” she says. “So, I’ve intentionally carried it through [my life] since then.”

Guided by this mantra, Eme spreads positivity daily through the many hats she now wears. Whether she’s serving in the Church (including as a member of the Relief Society General Advisory Council), teaching family medicine at Georgetown University, or working with a non-profit that supports infants, toddlers, and their families, Eme hasn’t stopped striving to help others to “have a peachy one,” one day at a time.

Welcome to the DC Temple

Like so many others who have grown up in and around Washington, DC, Eme harbors a deep love for the area she calls a “melting pot of the world, of different people and backgrounds.” Her love for DC is especially intertwined with the Washington D.C. Temple, which was rededicated in August 2022. People of all backgrounds and beliefs flooded to the temple open house, eager to tour the famous landmark.

As a local stake Relief Society president at the time, Eme helped guide tours for high-profile visitors, like community and religious leaders.

Chris and Eme Martin at DC Temple Rededication August 2022
Eme with her husband, Christopher Martin, at the Washington D.C. Temple rededication on Sunday, August 14, 2022.
Eme Martin

“Overall [it was] such a tender time for all of us, members of the Church or not. If you were living here for the open house period, your life has not been the same,” she remembers.

Drawing on shared experiences and love for the area, Eme and other local leaders took this opportunity to build bridges in a vibrantly invested community.

“So many people have a story to tell about the Washington D.C. Temple,” she says, remembering how many visitors to the open house told her their connection to the temple: “This was the temple we saved up for,” “My pennies came to this temple when I lived in Massachusetts,” “This is the landmark I look for when I drive home from work,” or “This is where we got married.”’

“Everyone had a story and felt some sense of ownership,” Eme says.

Eme spoke at one of the three rededication sessions, representing the local people who so earnestly love this temple. Her remarks focused on the feeling of “coming home.”

“Whether I was actively going to the temple or just on a road trip, the temple was a space to look to and mark my way home,” she says. “Growing up as a youth and participating in temple ordinances, receiving my endowment, all those points turned me back home to the Lord.”

Guiding tours through the Washington D.C. Temple was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Eme. But serving and connecting with her community is a daily experience for her, especially in her work with a special non-profit helping some of society’s most vulnerable members.

Caring for the Least of These

Eme's earnest desire to share God’s love is rooted in her family background. Her parents, as newlywed graduate students, moved from Nigeria, West Africa, to Washington, DC, during the late 1970s. There, they “were blessed with many helping hands who supported settling them into their new lives.” Eme remembers, “The impact of the generosity they received cultivated a desire to pay their blessings forward” through both their careers and community service activities.

“My siblings and I often found ourselves engaged in community service activities throughout our adolescence,” Eme says, “During an afternoon of serving meals at a soup kitchen, I was struck by how many of the patrons on the receiving side of my service looked more like me—people of similar age, with skin and hair like mine.”

“In that moment, I realized that it was God’s grace that separated me from those patrons, as I could have easily been on the receiving end of that service. Since that day, it has been a personal pledge to represent and speak up for the ‘least of these’ in any circumstance in which I find myself. I consider it a beautiful blessing that throughout my career, I have been able to highlight and address the needs of overlooked and underserved communities.”

Her mission to support and represent “the least of these” often comes into play through her career in healthcare. Since 2018, Eme has been an instructor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, educating first-year medical students on the importance of delivering equitable and inclusive patient-centered care.

Additionally, much of her career has revolved around connecting individuals and families managing chronic illnesses, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and hypertension, with culturally competent care.

After working for nearly three years as regional director for the Alzheimer’s Association, she began work as the Lead Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Officer for ZERO TO THREE, a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to equipping infants, toddlers, and their families, with the tools they need to be successful in life.

Having seen the long-term effects of insufficient access to necessary care, she views her efforts with the non-profit as “starting with the end in mind.” She’s motivated to reach and represent those who might not otherwise be able to advocate for themselves.

“Internally, externally, what does it look like to make sure everyone is seen and heard in terms of our programs and policies? Let’s make sure we’re not forgetting anyone— that’s what I help them do.”

A Peachy Perspective at Church (and Everywhere Else)

While juggling her busy career and family life, Eme also serves as a member of the Relief Society General Advisory Council, as of this year.

“During the brief weeks that I have held this calling, my spirit has swelled with joy in serving alongside the nine sisters of the council and the General Relief Society presidency. I am humbled by the opportunity and happy to be a small part of a great thing.”

When asked about what she wished more members of the Church understood, she simply remarked,

“I wish people truly understood and knew that the tender mercies of the Lord are theirs, that it’s not for some exclusive club of women or men that you have to qualify for or test into, but that [God] knows you with exactness. It’s the tenderest as well as the biggest things in which He shows up in our lives all day, every day, and we don’t have to earn it. If you look for those things every day, you will see them every day.”

Eme Martin with YSAs at October GC 2022
Eme Martin and her husband, Christopher Martin, with several young single adults they served with in the Maryland Strathmore YSA Ward at the October 2022 General Conference with Elder Jack N. Gerard and his wife, Claudette.
Eme Martin

People like Eme are everywhere, quietly helping others in the world recognize God in their everyday lives. Inspired by Nelson Mandela in particular, Eme works to balance a “turn the other cheek” mentality with an active desire to stand up for her beliefs.

“We absolutely want to represent [Christianity] well,” Eme observed, “But what are we truly representing? Do you really embody and understand your faith and what Christianity looks like? … That’s where we [need to be prayerful], every day. Like, ‘Lord, help me know what this looks like for me today.’”

One day at a time, voices like Eme’s continue to point others toward Jesus Christ, the source of all hope and joy. During the 2020 pandemic, she and a few of her BYU alumni friends saw a need for positive conversations online, particularly surrounding general conference.

“And so, from that, I initiated a thread of putting out some different ideas and thoughts around the gospel and different quotes,” Eme says, “And as I did that with them, it then expanded to a few more people, and a few more, then a few more.”

Eme Martin connecting with former BYU classmates at DC VC
Eme (left) connecting with former friends and classmates from Brigham Young University at the Washington, DC Visitors' Center in February 2020.
Eme Martin

One day, her husband asked how many people were on the list that she texted inspirational messages to each week. Eme counted roughly 100. Shortly after, a friend pulled her aside and said, “Eme, you have got to start publishing these. There are other people that can benefit from this.”

She now shares weekly inspirational posts and messages through her Instagram account, Peachy Ponderings.

In making a daily effort to live and learn as Christians, we can each spread His love to “the least of our brethren,” those who feel lost or forgotten, those who come from different backgrounds and belief systems, and even those with whom we may often disagree. With a focus like Eme’s on the good, we can cast a sunny, “peachy” influence on the world, a world so desperately searching for sources of light.

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