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? (lds.org)
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
Accra West Departing missionaries