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

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Week 60 - Light the World

Merry Christmas Everyone!

While many of you are decorating, shopping, wrapping and cooking we are experiencing our second stress-free Christmas. We will have a gift exchange at Family Home Evening on Monday but otherwise the commercial side of Christmas has been minimal. Contemplating the true meaning of the season I printed off my favorite talk by Neal A Maxwell "O, Divine Redeemer" and am studying it each morning. ....

On Tuesday we went to what is fast becoming one of our favorite places. We have now visited Abomosu every month since September. The trust is growing and we have offered specialized training on each trip. In January we have already been asked to train the leadership on setting up a Self Reliance Resource Center. This week we trained group facilitators and addressed the issue of bringing jobs to the area. The members had their own ideas too; like herbal medicine, raising guinea fowl, and forming a juicing company because of the rich abundance of fruit. Elder Lambert showed them videos on raising grasscutter, mushrooms and snails. 

 Anyway, the young missionaries serving in Abomosu (see picture below) were holding a district meeting and joined us afterwards at the Bingham's home to watch the First Presidency Christmas Devotional, recorded from the previous week. So, here's my first example of "Light the World" from this week. Being in a room with eight young people who are so dedicated to doing good was a joy, but then at the end of the program during the closing prayer a special blessing was given to "the other angels" our missionaries... and the spirit filled the room. Each of us felt a powerful witness that we are on the Lord's errand. It was like receiving a charge to our batteries so our flashlights can shine that much brighter. Missionaries give light to the world!

My second example of lighting the world occurred when a man followed us into the parking lot of Kaneshie stake center. He was in bad shape and Elder Lambert had to stand very close to him to understand what he was saying. Gathering supplies from the car I wasn't able to hear the conversation but before I knew it, my sweet husband was handing over a water bottle, snacks and some money. I feel so blessed to be married to someone with a sensitive, compassionate heart. Arriving home that afternoon I looked at Day #16 of Light the World services and there it was .... "Jesus showed compassion and so can you." Elder Lambert didn't know that, it's just in his nature to serve in that way. And that's the whole purpose of the Light the World initiative; to make these attributes part of our nature, not just a one day project. 

We are so grateful for that baby born in Bethlehem, for His life and Atonement. We love our Savior, Jesus Christ. He lived and died for each one of us. He is the Light of the World.

Sorry to have taken so long to get this letter sent.
We love and miss you all.
Elder and Sister Lambert

Week 59 - Elections

Dear Family,

Ghana held their General Elections this week and on our Wednesday morning run we witnessed long lines of people at the polling stations. It was recommended that missionaries keep a low profile this week so we spent time at the Temple and helped at the mission office. After several days the final results were in and it looks like the people of Ghana have voted for a change. In previous elections there have been riots, but this year an added emphasis was placed on keeping the elections peaceful. People are happy with the results and life is back to normal. The current President, John Mahama lives not far from us and we sometimes pass him walking with his body guards when we are out exercising. The new guy, Nana Addo leads the New Patriotic Party.

One day while on the Temple grounds we met a couple serving in the Cape Coast mission. Another couple, the Jones, were also there. Sister Jones, who served in England as a young missionary said to Elder Lambert, "Do you recognize Elder Sorenson? He served in England London South too!" So we had to take the historic picture of the three ELS alumni as they reminisced on those glorious days of youth. They all served at the same time but never in the same districts. Today, they all serve in Ghana, but each in a different mission. Small world! 

At the mission office we helped Sister Munro prepare Christmas packages for each of our African missionaries. Donations from families of American missionaries made this possible and I got a little teary reading letters written by Primary children and placing candy, socks and toiletries in large envelopes. Next week at two multi zone conferences  we will help distribute the goodies, enjoy a Christmas devotional and musical program presented by each zone. You have probably figured that the Africans do not receive Christmas packages from home.... On Friday we tackled the pile of Christmas packages sent to the American missionaries and it became a fun game of "pass the parcel" when the AP's showed up. Sister Munro called out the name and passed the package to me, then I passed it to Elder Martineau or Elder Desta depending on which one of them knew which zone the package was destined for. We had so much fun laughing as packages flew across the room that we were sorry when it was over.

This morning (Sunday) we witnessed a beautiful sight as the sun rose behind the clouds, lighting them up from behind. An hour later the weather changed to a massive rainstorm and I was sweeping tons of water off our concourse and down the stairwell outside our apartment. Last year we didn't see any rain for the first four months we were here so this was an unexpected but welcomed event. The picture of the sunrise reminds me who really is the Light of the World and this week I have determined to find other examples of "Light the World" and take a picture of it. Hopefully I can share them with you in next week's installment.

Grateful for the Savior of the World at this Christmas season.
Elder and Sister Lambert

Week 58 - One by One

Dear Family, 

Many"one by one" experiences this week as I read in the Book of Mormon how the Savior ministered one by one to those in the city Bountiful, How we met one on one with departing and returned missionaries. Our Sunday School class was about giving service, we provided a food basket for a destitute individual, and President Simpson shared a story of ministering in the Savior's way... one by one. 

So, this week we taught two groups of RM's. The first six had all returned from missions in the last 2-3 weeks. As usual most of them served in Nigeria and had some marvelous stories to share, but there was one young man we looked forward to meeting because unlike most of his peers he did not serve in Nigeria or any other African nation. From the little community of Buduburam Paul Ekpale served in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA!  A most unusual occurrence when you consider the extreme contrasts. He is the only African we know to serve in the USA, but Las Vegas!!!!  Paul told us he was in culture shock for the first 4 months, but gradually  adjusted; learning to understand the accents, eat the food and live in a very different culture from his own!  Our understanding hearts and listening ears provided him the support he needed, since he related more to us than his peers. Super cute young man who is now trying to figure out what to do next. It makes us wonder what the Lord has in store for him in the future.

The next day we drove to Cape Coast and taught Pathway students and the following morning were scheduled to meet with 3 more RM's. However one was traveling, another was still not home, but the third was around and he got a one-on-one orientation with us. James has been home 10 days, he has a neat story too. He began his mission in Enugu, Nigeria, but when Sierra Leone was reopened to missionary work after the Ebolla epidemic he was transferred there and loved the experience he had. He even extended his mission for another 6 weeks. Life was not easy though. While he was away, his parents divorced and he is now living with another relative, and the pressure is on him to get a job and support his mother even though he wants to further his education. Fortunately, he has some electrical skills and explained how hard he studied in school to get good grades and pass his exams. That prepared him for the hard days as a missionary and he was successful because of those experiences. Now home, he will work on his self reliance goals and serve as Elders Quorum president in his ward. We had a great discussion about what he learned on his mission including learning to be a good listener; resisting jumping into a conversation when another person is speaking with his own experience but patiently seeking to understand the underlying message of the speaker. What a wonderful quality to possess!  

On Sunday evening we attended the last supper for 5 departing Elders. Elder Dy from the Philippines is fortunate to already have a scholarship to BYU-Hawaii. We prepared individual Self Reliance resource packets for each of the Africans on what is available to them in the city and country they call home. They will use the Perpetual Education Fund loan to attend school. Our hearts are always full after meeting with these faithful young warriors.

Are you loving the "Light the World- In 25 Ways over 25 Days" campaign? (
On December 1st, like I said at the top of this letter my personal study included reading about the Savior ministering one by one to 2500 people in Bountiful. In the same chapter (3 Nephi 11:10-11) it reads, "Behold I am Jesus Christ whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold I am the LIGHT and life of the world." What great timing, and a personal testimony to me of my Savior's love. What will you do to follow His example and light the world?

With all our love,
Elder and Sister Lambert

PS To quote one of our missionaries, "Missions are like a catapult: They stretch you back, then propel you forward into the future." I love it!

With Paul Ekpale
James Arthur
Accra West Departing missionaries

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Week 57 - Safari!

Dearest Family,

One of the advantages of serving as senior missionaries is that we occasionally have the opportunity for a cultural or in this case a wildlife experience, so with permission we joined six other couples and went on a 4-day safari! It was awesome! First we flew to Tamale in Northern Ghana, then a 3 hour drive bought us to Mole (Mo lay) National Park where we stayed at Zaina Lodge. Immediately we noticed a difference in the homes here. They are round mud huts with thatch roofs and most often built in clusters of four or five with an outside wall forming a compound. Tribal languages are different too, and the area is predominately Muslim. 

Zaina Lodge staff gave us a warm welcome, greeting us with beautiful African smiles, waves and a cold cloth to wipe off the grime of the road. The beautiful lodge is located on a bluff, overlooking two water holes that attract animals of all shapes and sizes. After a quick lunch we jumped in jeeps to have our first safari adventure, and we were not disappointed! Our park ranger and guide, Jacob, whom we affectionately called the elephant whisperer (we had to explain that to him) spotted "something" in the bush. He checked it out and then beckoned us to quietly follow him. He led us to within 35 yards of a male savannah elephant that was grazing in a grove of trees. We couldn't believe it, seeing this beautiful animal in the wild was truly breath taking. Savannah elephants are more social than forest elephants and he didn't mind us watching him. In fact he appeared just as intrigued with us. There are about 400 elephants in the park and with the help of the elephant whisperer we got up close and personal with one on our first day. What a memorable experience! 

The next morning we headed out at 6:30am and saw Kob antelope, water hogs, baboons, monkeys and a variety of birds, including the beautiful red-throated bee-eater. It was so fun to stand up in the jeep, under the raised roof to try and get glimpses of movement in the bush. Just before stopping for a safari breakfast Jacob guided us to a water hole where we discovered six elephants enjoying a bath! Another awe-inspiring moment as we observed them raising their trunks and spraying themselves with water. Watching these beautiful creatures it makes no sense why anyone could kill them. Like other areas of Africa poaching is rampant, According to "Ivory Games" documentary I believe the numbers are 1 elephant is killed every 15 minutes. It is so sad. The only way to "shoot" an animal is though the lens of a camera. I'm not ready to work for National Geographic just yet but it sure was fun trying to get the perfect shot.

In the afternoon Zaina teamed up with a local community to give us a cultural experience. Locals from Mognori took us on a canoe ride on the Mole river, we met Lionman, a villager who survived being attacked by a lion, Maymoona showed us how to make shea butter, and Dowda gave us a tour around the outside of the oldest mosque in Ghana which dates back 600 years. Quite unique in appearance.

On our third morning we saw three elephants by the water hole below the lodge but they moved on quickly and we didn't see them again. We did spy a duiker, a bush buck and a water buck (5 points to Sister Munro for spotting it!) on this trip. They are hard to see through the vegetation and often move deeper into the bush when they hear us coming, so pictures were hard to come by, but it was glorious to be in wild. Elder Lambert was in his element!

Relaxing and cooling off at the pool led to a fun activity that the Lambert girls can relate to. The Greater Accra Sinking Senior Sisters Synchronized Swimming team performed a one minute routine interlaced with much laughter and silliness. Thankfully our husbands did not disown us, and its nice to know I'm not the only crazy one out there! Elder McDougal threatened to post the performance on Facebook with the caption "You too can serve a mission in Africa!" Oh, the things we do!!!!

On our last morning Jacob took us on a nature walk where we learned about the medicinal purposes of many plants. Wild mint is an insect repellant, the chewed up bark from the Camel Foot tree helps heal wounds, Barkia Africana is used by the locals as a toothbrush, Lana Accida helps prevent malaria, and the Compass tree will always lead you home, if you know your directions. That said, we returned to the lodge, packed our bags and headed to the airport at the end of a wonderful rejuvenating get-away. No Thanksgiving meal until next week, but truly thankful for this marvelous experience.

Ansaan nikusoon,
Elder and Sister Lambert

The old and the new!
Savannah elephant
We got this close!
Beautiful Kob
Lionman, 4th from right