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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 38 - Boti Falls

Hello Everyone,

Last week we mixed work with pleasure, and had some great experiences along the way.
Darkumen ward held a My Path devotional after church and we were able to observe a well facilitated meeting thanks to Brother Peterson. If every ward had a specialist like him we would be out of a job!

On Tuesday we met with four returned missionaries from Lartebiokorshie and Kaneshie stakes. We love this opportunity to teach the doctrine of self reliance to them, learn of their mission experiences and encourage them to farther their education or to find a job. President Baidoo shared his challenges as a newly released RM and told them that self reliance really requires one to become a "Jack-of-all-trades." 

That evening we met with Kaneshie stake SR committee. They are committed to meet every month and we love Brother Mills, the stake specialist because he actively seeks ways to use us, and together we visit wards and initiate SR groups in those wards. We enjoy each others company, and laugh at some of the funny things that happen along the way.

On Thursday several missionary couples car-pooled to Koforidua to the Juaben bead market. From here we travelled to Boti Falls. This 30 meter high waterfall lies on the Pawnpawn river, and due to the rainy season had a pretty good flow.The surrounding forest of tall trees and dense undergrowth made for an impressive sight. Being the adventurous souls that we are, a quick refreshing dip in the pool at the base of the falls was a must!  Then on our walk back to the cars we had a gospel discussion with our guide, Emmanuel. He is a devote Christian and we were able to present him with a Book of Mormon and some church literature as we parted company.

Saturday morning we returned to New Gbawe branch at the request of their SR specialist. We haven't seen many of these folks for several months and we enjoyed hugs and handshakes from everyone! This was the first place we facilitated the forming of three SR groups. They have all completed the classes now so we should be able to do some follow up visits in a few months. We helped the members clean the building and then shared some principles on SR, along with some of the training videos for their next group of facilitators. Afterwards Elder Lambert challenged one of the members to a game of outdoor ping-pong, but let's just say he is a little rusty with his game (he claimed it was because the wind was blowing against him!) It's true, but it wouldn't have made any difference. Richard is an awesome player!

Sending love your way.....
Elder and Sister Lambert

Pictures: a small part of the bead market
My favorite: recycled plastic chickens
Boti Falls
they know how to pose for the obrunis 
Cocoa pods. The seeds are sweet, until you bite into them!

Week 37 - Under New Management

Dearest Family and Friends,

This week I got busy on the mission sewing machine and made some Monkey Tails. We called them Fox Tails at home, but monkey tails sounds more appropriate in Africa!  First, I gathered some fabric scraps and bought some tennis balls and socks. Next I put the tennis ball in the sock and sewed on a long tail of three different colored fabrics. Then I made a proto-type for the Opare family and it was a hit with their kids, so I've made a couple more for the Buduburrim Children's home. I think I could turn this into a small business, or at the very least share the idea with some of the seamstresses in the area.

This week was my turn to facilitate Sister Scripture Study using D&C 76. The sisters divided into groups to find power statements about the three degrees of glory. They also answered the question "How can we be valiant in a testimony of Jesus Christ?"  One of my favorite talks on this subject is Bruce R McConkie's October 1974 conference address.

We are officially under new management this week! President Tandoh was transferred to the Accra/Kumasi coordinating councils replacing David Mensah who joins us in Accra West/Cape Coast. Pres. Tandoh has been a wonderful mentor to us and we have grown close to him, so initially it was hard to think about changing managers (kind of like when your VT companion/route gets changed) but if you are flexible you won't get bent out of shape. So, we are embracing the change and are already enjoying working with David.

On Saturday we trained Church Service Missionaries for Kaneshie stake. These "stay at home" missionaries are Stanley and Jennifer Mensen. They will work in the SR program with us, and ultimately take over our role in Kaneshie. They run a boarding house, have seven children and 13 grandchildren. One of their sons is studying medicine at John Hopkins University. 

Christiana, our reading student, is such a joy to meet with. This week she shared the first verse of a favorite hymn with us. We taught her the next two verses and Elder Lambert explained the meaning of the words. Suddenly her face lit up as she understood what "burst the fetters of the mind, from the millions of mankind" meant as it refers to the doctrines of false teachings holding us in bondage for hundreds of years, and that with the restoration of the Gospel we are freed from that bondage.  Ironically, learning to read also "bursts the fetters of the mind" and as a result of both the restoration and reading.... "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32

We love you,
Elder and Sister Lambert

Mary carrying a pan of okra 
Angel Moroni on the Accra Temple

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Week 36 - 3-2-1

Dear Family and friends,

What happened to June? It went by so fast!

Last week we acted as taxi drivers to 3 BYU-I professors, here to assess their on-line programs and Pathway. Self Reliance Services links with these programs to provide local support to students. I think they were troopers as they endured long days and everything else associated with being here in Africa. These professors had a week packed with meetings, devotionals, business and school visits, and a quick stop at the bead factory. As we helped with their transportation we gleaned new insights into the pros and cons of on-line learning, the challenges for students here in Ghana, and the dedication of these good men.

We also met with 2 sets of new missionaries. President and Sister Simpson (new mission Pres. and wife) arrived on Tuesday. President is a Kiwi, and his wife is from Samoa. They have lived in Sydney, Australia for most of their married life. They are going to be amazing! The other set, are sister missionaries from the MTC. One of them is our "adopted" daughter, Lucy Acquah from Takoradi. She contacted me asking if I could escort her at the Temple. It was a super busy day at the Temple so I couldn't join her session, but the Matron allowed me to sit with Lucy in the instruction room. This was one of those sweet experiences of our mission I will always treasure. 

Then to finish the week off we attended 1 baptism (well actually, seven.) But the special one for us was Larbi's baptism. He works at our apartment complex, where after several Bible discussions Elder Lambert gave him pamphlets on the restoration of the Gospel, and Joseph Smith. A day later he told us, "I know it is true. God sent a prophet. This is the church I want to go to!" He welcomed the invitation to have the young missionaries teach him, and six weeks later, here we are! Another sweet experience we will always treasure.

On Sunday we taught the adults of Darkumen ward the doctrine and principles of self reliance. Twenty one of them signed up to participate in a My Path devotional next Sunday. It keeps us busy :)

"There will be times when the path ahead seems dark, but keep following the Savior. He knows the way; in fact, He is the way." Stephen Owen (YM Gen. Pres.) I am so grateful to be on this mission path. Sometimes it has been bumpy, but I testify that it has been worth it.

Until next week... be good, do good!
Elder and Sister Lambert

3 BYU-I professors
2 sister missionaries
1 baptism

Friday, July 1, 2016

Week 34 - Good Things Happening

Dear Family,

I have had so many thoughts and tender feelings this week and as a result my heart has been filled with greater love for Heavenly Father and His Son. Being a mother/grandmother is my favorite calling in the whole world and from a distance, Elder Lambert and I have experienced the joy of seeing our children move forward in their lives. Each of them has made us happy as they share the way they are teaching their children, building their marriages, and making wonderful family memories. The hard part is that we cannot be there to share these experiences and this week as a sweet little boy joined the Bleazard family, I experienced feelings of homesick. I am grateful that mom and baby are doing well, but I sure wish I was there to hold that little boy and help my Sarah. The whole experience reminded me that our heavenly parents have gone through the same thing with us as we left their presence. "We have taught you all we can. It is time for you to move forward. You can do this. It's the best way for you to grow. We are only a prayer away. We love you..."  President Hunter expressed it as "There is within each of us a giant struggling with celestial homesickness."  So yes, I'm feeling a little homesick. But with that said, good things are happening...

First good thing: Christiana is thrilled that we can teach her reading. She became very serious as we began working on her letter sounds, and reading some simple phrases. She showed her appreciation by feeding us rice for lunch!

#2 Our overnight trip to Takoradi resulted in meeting 12 Pathway students in their first semester of the program. We taught a lesson on how our perceptions shape our world through experiences, upbringing, and culture. However, some of those perceptions may not be in line with how God sees things. To fully accomplish our purpose in life it is important to see things as they really are; to see things as God sees them. Someone said, "If any of us have imperfections it is our duty to pray for the gift that will correct them. If I am an angry man it is my duty to pray for patience and kindness. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity which envieth not." The closer we come to seeing all things as God sees them the happier we will be, and the more successful we will be in all that really matters. We concluded with a game which taught self reliance principles in a fun interactive way. It was a good evening.

#3 Good things were accomplished by President and Sister Snow these last 6 months. They are homeward bound and a new Mission President will take the reigns at Accra West. It's kind of unusual to have three Mission Presidents!

#4 Lartebiokorshie stake invited us to make an educational presentation at their youth conference. It was super fun to spend time with the youth. In a few months they are going to walk to the Temple, I'm not sure on the distance, maybe 8 miles. Hoping we get an invite to join that event too!

#5 Good things happened for Stephen and Emmanuella from New Gbawe. They got married on Saturday and  invited us to the ceremony. Third wedding invite!

#6 Darkumen Ward is ready to start self reliance classes. We will teach the doctrine next Sunday and hold a  devotional the following week. We are excited for the good things happening in this ward, it just took a little patience......

#7 Baby Bleazard is well-loved. His big brothers know how to hold him just right. He listened with open eyes as his African grandparents said hello and inspected his perfect little body. 

Yes, good things are happening!
Feeling blessed,
Elder and Sister Lambert

Pathway students
The wedding
Young women from Darkumen

Week 35 - Open Your Mouth

Hello Everyone,

Last week I mentioned the rainy season has started, now it is definitely upon us. We have had rain nearly every day this week and some of these storms have been massive! Thanks to the British civil engineers many decades ago, the drainage system works great to carry all the water away, but where there are no gutters the rain runs down the streets in torrents. After church today we had to choose a different way out of Anyaa because the road was a river!!!!

This week I attended a great session of Sister Scripture Study. We each did a "quick write" on the topic "What does it mean to open your mouth?" D&C 60:2 and D&C 30:11. Opening our mouth in this sense means to share the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whenever and wherever we are. In Ghana I have found it easy to do this because the people here have a strong Christian background, and it is not uncomfortable to talk about religion because they are so faith-filled. As we interact with them their eyes are naturally drawn to our missionary name tags, and noticing this I can open my mouth and ask them what they know about the church, explain our purpose here or share a brief testimony. As a result of one of these encounters our friend Larbi, who we referred on for the young missionaries to teach, will be baptized on June 25th. He is a humble, soft spoken individual who asks some great doctrinal questions. Having a solid foundation in the Bible, he is now discovering the Book of Mormon truly is a second testament of Jesus Christ and it is answering his questions.  We are so happy for him :)

This week in our visits we met Eunice Abajie. This is her story which we shared with our SR manager...

"After meeting the missionaries at the apartment where she lived Sister Eunice Abajie joined the church in 2005, and along with her husband has raised four righteous children. In February 2016 she purchased a two year contract at Abeka Market where she sells a variety of products including clothing, minerals, biscuits and pure water. She has a fridge at home where she freezes water, then during market time she sells the water to other vendors. When asked about the greatest challenges to her business she said transportation. 
Sister Abajie’s talents extend beyond trading, She has become skilled at a hair styling technique called “corn rolls” and offers clients a variety of styles to choose from. She has also trained other women how to do this. Her training comes with a certificate of completion. 
Sister Eunice has had several experiences with the SR program at different stages of it’s development. When asked about savings she happily showed us her insurance and saving booklets. Using this money she hopes to grow her business by wholesaling things such as biscuits. She would also like to have electricity in her cubicle, for lighting and operation of a freezer."

With no SR meetings this week we have been able to attend the temple, and also spent an afternoon at the MTC. Here   we helped missionaries with their family history, and watched some intense soccer playing skills during their exercise time! We love the energy of these young people. The three in the picture below will be joining us in the Accra West mission in another week.

Being interested in the temperatures here we looked everywhere to buy a thermometer but couldn't find one. I think they just know the temperature is "hot" so why would you need a thermometer?!!  Well, thanks to the Hatch family we can now say with scientific proof just how hot it is. And this morning we have a new low at 76F and 89% relative humidity. The scary thing is it actually feels "cold"!!!! Think we've acclimated?

Did I mention we love this experience? We do, we really do!!!

Elder and Sister Lambert

Pictures: Eunice Abajie (zoom in on the corn rolls!)
               Blade, he's wearing your shirt!
               With Elder Dall and Mugisha at Anyaa branch