Moroni 7:47

"But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."
-Moroni 7:47

Monday, January 4, 2016

Week 10 - A Report


We are far from ready to "return and report" but as the year ends and we reach our sixth week here I thought I should make a summary of our feelings and experiences as Self Reliance Missionaries in Ghana.

I am so impressed with Ghanian people! They get the gospel and are very strong in it. The talks and gospel discussions in Sunday School and Priesthood Meeting would be the envy of almost any ward anywhere. The people here come from maybe the richest Christian tradition in the world. There are scriptures and religious phrases written everywhere; from the billboards, to the cars, to the names of businesses, almost everything you see has some connection to Christianity. When the restored gospel was given to honest seekers of truth here they adopted it enthusiastically.

Men join the church slightly more often then women here and in nearly all meetings the men outnumber the women by a small margin. Contrast that one with the direction of our American culture. Both the Brothers and Sisters here are capable leaders and powerful teachers.

These people are very gentle and soft spoken. They are a joy to be around. We feel safe and live very comfortably. There is no reason for a senior couple to fear a call to serve in Ghana. Ghana is probably the 2nd most successful nation in Africa. It has a middle and upper class that live comfortably. What Ghana has that America doesn’t is a large number of people who live in poverty. The streets are filled with people walking between and around cars trying to sell something. Main roads in the cities are lined with small businesses. Even a place like Grassy Creek would have 20 or so businesses. Some do well but most make just a couple of dollars a day. Many are homeless and early morning walks will find people sleeping right on the sidewalk. I see the Church’s Self Reliance program as the greatest hope to give these poor and their country a better future.

The Self Reliance program is basically the character traits, skills and practices required for success in the church, school, work force, and business. Most are skills we take for granted but these are skills that seem to be lacking in the African cultures and probably anywhere poverty is prevalent. The SRS program is directed by the priesthood line of authority. We train at the stake level and it works down from there. Even though the program has been taught to the priesthood leaders who administer it, there is still an enormous amount to do. The gospel is changing people in a spiritual way but the SRS program targets skills that will contribute to their success in life. Change is difficult for all of us. Here change involves such things as saving money, planning ahead, keeping records and keeping your commitments. These are difficult changes to make when just getting by has been the core of a culture for thousands of years. However, even though the Self Reliance program has only been here for two years many have used it to make remarkable progress with their lives.

We work under the direction of a Ghanian who has been providing us with some wonderful learning experiences and gradually allowing us greater opportunities to teach. The language/accent barrier is our biggest challenge. English may be the official language but it seems to me that at least half speak it in a limited way or not all. We are reaching the point that, with great concentration, we understand all but the most heavily accented English but it doesn't, work the other way. Those who are well educated do fairly well with our American English but many have as difficult a time understanding us as we did them when we first arrived. Last week I taught a group that spoke little English. I was teaching them about raising “grass cutters” and mushrooms. Think of a grasscuttter as a very large marmot (rock chuck). The people in much of Africa love to eat grasscutters. A translator was supposedly turning my words into Fante, the local dialect, but our manager said he wasn’t even close and everyone was completely confused when we got done. There is a need for our help but our teaching may be limited to the more educated areas of the city.

We are finding other ways to contribute both within our calling and without. Outside of our calling we help at the mission home occasionally with projects they can’t keep up with. We are doing some personal family history and are getting to the temple now and then. Last week we went to a mall to sing Christmas carols with a zone of elders. Lots of fun and Sister Lambert and I actually got a referral from a family who just got back from classes at Weber State. The wife teaches at the University of Ghana. Yesterday we got two referrals while shopping and gave a Book of Mormon to someone else. It would be fun to teach and proselyte with people so humble and full of faith.

Last week we went to the local MTC and helped 60 new missionaries enter their family history into the system. 54 of these 60 were African. The average age was 25 and the average time in the church was a bit more than a year. They come with stories of sacrifice that will melt the hardest of hearts. A full 30% of these missionaries were orphans and I am guessing at least that many more had lost one parent. Life is hard on this continent.

Right now, within our calling, we are working on some educational materials for business opportunities. Some of the people who live far away from the city don’t read and very few have computers and access to the internet to do research with. Seeing that, we are now writing some lessons on how to create businesses such as raising grasscutters and snails, growing mushrooms, and even how to make smoothies out of the abundant tropical fruit here (Annies idea of course). Hopefully these can be translated into the local languages and will be put to good use.

We love it here and are having a great life changing experience!
Elder and Sister Lambert


  1. Hello Sister Lambert! We received your kind note and are so excited for you. From the Hursts (and daughter Jennie)

    1. Thanks Jennie. Love to you and your wonderful parents. They are my heroes, and mentored me and the other youth from High Wycombe in amazing style!