Family and Friends,
This was such a great week as we traveled to Takoradi to teach Pathway students and 15 recently returned missionaries. So many great stories and friendships developing it would take hours to write about them so here are a few favorites....
We met Robert as a newly returned missionary back in February, then again in June, when as a Pathway student he told us about a "special someone" who was serving a mission in Accra West. In the meantime we also knew Emma Smith Mensah. I mentioned her in a letter sometime ago as a departing missionary whose father died just hours before her return home to Takoradi. Well, Emma is the "special someone" and on Friday we enjoyed spending time with them both at the RM Orientation. They are so cute together (see picture below) and are planning a wedding for next year!
Also at Takoradi we became reacquainted with another RM, Michael who is an awesome, self motivated young man. It's so fun to follow these young people and see where life is taking them. Michael completed Pathway and is now taking BYU-I on-line classes. He is really good with computers and has a small business going around to companies to see if they need help with any IT problems they are having. He would really like to attend school in America and has researched his options, but is struggling with the decision/cost. I became a sounding board as he shared his goals and thought process on the subject of studying in the USA. Sadly, he knows if he leaves Ghana he probably would not return and as I told him, that would be a loss for Ghana.
Many times as we meet with these young people they will pull us aside for a little conversation as they seek personal counsel on their lives. We try our best to encourage them and make small suggestions but it always pulls at our heartstrings. Life in Africa is just simply hard. Michael is fully aware of the costs and challenges of going to the States but many think if they can just go to America all their problems will be solved.
Sunday was exciting as we planned to attend Maamobi branch to hear Christiana give her talk on Charity. Maamobi is a mysterious place to find. Previously we had it pinned on our GPS and drove in circles looking for the building where they hold church. We thought the pin had to be wrong because we could never get to the exact location. On Sunday we followed the Munro's who attend church there every week, but the excitement started long before getting to the church. We got caught up in the middle of a political parade (Ghana have elections in December) and our car was honestly vibrating from the noise as hundreds of people paraded around us. It wasn't scary, Ghanaians have a great time when they gather together and they danced and waved as we cheered them along. So after we emerged from the sea of people we continued down these narrow streets when all of a sudden the Munro's vehicle "disappeared" down this blind ally which we never saw. Oh, it was an adventure! We followed them and sure enough we came to a gated compound and there was the mysterious Maamobi meeting house! Anyway, after all the adventures of the morning Christiana didn't give her talk because the Primary children presented the program. And it was amazing! Apart from one teacher on the back row the kids did everything themselves, from leading the music, to talks and memorization readings. My favorite was the nine year old who led the music, his smile was contagious and he acted like an old pro as he directed the singing. Oh, it was fun!
Besides Christiana, another friend from Maamobi is Halima. Elder Lambert and I have helped her record her personal history, so we took the opportunity on Sunday to review the draft before typing the final copy. She has quite an interesting story by our standards, but not uncommon to people here. How can you let your child be raised by someone else? At four years of age Halima was given to be raised by a relative. It was tough. She was reunited with her family as a teenager. I love Halima and the joy she emulates. Robert is a new friend who joined the church just a few weeks ago. After being introduced to us, he insisted on carrying my bag into the building. He is delightful and was happy to pose for a picture with Elder Lambert. Following church we met with "Africa is Life Changing" board members including our old missionary friend Gloria Terry. We discussed how their NGO and what we do in self reliance might be a match in helping some individuals. We admire these good people who have the desire to give their time and energy in helping support the African people, even one at a time. The day still wasn't over because we had another meeting in Ofankor stake with their self reliance committee. These brethren warm our hearts. They are passionate about helping people understand the principles of self reliance. Brother Adiimani used the analogy of a student who needs to retake a class in school. The teacher has not changed, the course has not changed, but someone has to change. Likewise, Heavenly Father has not changed, the Gospel has not changed, but someone has to change. It takes Ability, Commitment, Effort to ACE the class.
We feel blessed to call so many "friend"
Elder and Sister Lambert
Pictures:Robert ans Emma
Takoradi RM's (Michael is on the far right)