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

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Week 69 - Start Small and Grow Big

Letter from Feb. 20

Dear Family,

I think my emails are probably getting a little repetitive. More trainings and meetings interlaced with adventures and personal growth experiences.....

This week's schedule included two stake Self Reliance committee meetings, a Pathway devotional at Tesano stake and a Returned Missionary Orientation for six recently returned RM's.

We also said goodbye to the Binghams, our sweet friends serving in Abomosu. They have been awesome and we will miss them tremendously but we know their family in Idaho will be super excited to see them again after nearly 23 months! Using Primary tunes, Sister Munro and I wrote a musical tribute to them. It was fun to honor them in this creative way, express our love, and remind them of some special memories we shared together. 
On Saturday Ernest invited us to see his slipper (sandals) business and he demonstrated how to make pair. What impresses us about this young man is that he has applied all the principles from the self reliance class; from What do people want to buy? How do I separate my business and family money?, How will I grow my business? to How will I increase my profits? and How do I continue to improve my business? 

Unlike many of his fellow shoe salesmen Ernest markets his slippers to high schools, so he sells them in bulk (ten schools and counting), who in turn sell them to the students.  He has only been in business since last October and has been careful to save his money, refusing to consider a loan (loans in Ghana run at 40-60% interest per year!)  So, following the counsel to "Start Small and Grow Big" he is now ready to move into a shop, employ one or two helpers, and brand his product- "Citizen Footwear.” We are excited to see what the future has in store for this young man!

In nearly every situation we have seen, those who are successful in Ghana start small and grow big by being patient, careful with their money and having the drive to make something of their lives. I was inspired by one of our daughters to try my own small business of making mango fruit leather this week. It tastes great! Maybe I will have to stick around and see if I can grow my business (haha!)

On Sunday we visited three different churches; checking back with our friends at Anyaa, assisting with a My Path devotional at New Gbawe, and then traveling cross-country to Ofankor stake for a self reliance committee meeting. In Anyaa we were touched by a sister’s story of offering two cedis (50cents) to a man sitting on the side of the street. He had been in an accident and lost both his legs. However he refused her offer telling her he could not loose his dignity. He was still able to work and earn money for his family by shining shoes. She said at first she was embarrassed that her offer was rejected but then she realized he was trying to do the right thing, by working and taking responsibility for himself and his family... more goodness in Ghana.

We love you all,
Elder and Sister Lambert
Pictures: slippers- Ernest- RM's- Tetteh family from Ofankor

Week 68 - Out of small things...

Letter from Feb. 5


A week ago "tricky" Sister Munro called and invited us for Sunday dinner with President and Sister Simpson and a couple of missionaries. Neither of us thought anything of it until a cake with candles appeared, and everyone sang Happy Birthday to Elder Lambert. It was such a sweet early b'day surprise. Thanks to our family for all their good wishes too, it is wonderful being related to you all!

Our young Nigerian friend Samuel got the janitor job at the hospital! He will do training this month and start work in March. His hours are 6am-5pm six days a week. He will make 350 Ghc per month, that's about $90/month. Crazy huh?!!! Oh, and his transport costs 3 Ghc/day. It's kind of sobering isn't it? Samuel is grateful and appreciative that he now has work. (So girls, no complaining about your pay at a penny a minute when you were puddle-ducks, even getting a raise when you advanced to cuddly kid status!) 

Another sobering experience occurred as we sat on the side of a culvert with Kwame who is homeless and lives in a storm drain. We often run past him as we exercise and have become friends over the course of several visits. He definitely has some mental illness but has a story to tell, and we patiently listen as he tells us about his life. Food and a new t-shirt lifted his spirits on this occasion.

On Thursday evening we taught Pathway students at Kaneshie and had a wonderful discussion on the topic, "Your Future Career- Getting It Right". This is probably the presentation we get the biggest reaction to, as the students contemplate what job is right for them and that the Self Reliance Foundational principles are the things successful people do, which cannot be learned in school, but are part of our "becoming". We like how Elder Dallin H Oaks says it, "In contrast to the institutions of the world which teach us to know something, the gospel of Jesus Christ challenges us to become something. Whatever causes us to be dependent on someone else for decisions or resources we could provide for ourselves weakens us spiritually and stops our growth towards what the gospel plan intends us to be."

I love the head scarves the women wear here in Africa. Sarpomaa (in the picture below) is a seamstress and is married to Samuel, one of our security guards. They are currently being taught by the young missionaries, and are asking some awesome questions. We really love this family.

On Saturday we trained High Councilors and Stake SR Specialists for the whole of Accra West Coordinating Council (that's six stakes and two districts). I was so touched when I asked Pres. Ohene from Abomosu what time he left his home to get to the 9:00am meeting on time. His response, "I started out at 3:00am" He had to walk into the village to get a tro-tro and make several connections before arriving at the church. No complaining, no excuses, just sweet obedience. The training was to provide tools to the HC to in turn train Bishops in Self Reliance. Elder Lambert's "Ward Council" skit taught many valuable principles.

Today at church a young man shared the following scripture and it seems a fitting summery of our weeks activities. Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise.  And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes; and by very small means the Lord doth confound the wise and bringeth about the salvation of many souls. Alma 37:6-7
With love, 
Elder and Sister Lambert

I had to take a picture of Evelyn in her "Church" dress. Isn't that just great!

Week 67 - the Thrill of Soaring

Letter from Jan 29

Dear Family,

This was a wonderful week! 
Last Sunday in Anyaa we heard a great sacrament talk from Bro. George about an eagle raised by a hen. When the eaglet saw some large birds flying overhead he asked the mother hen, "What are those birds?" The hen replied, "Oh, those are the kings of the sky, you don't want to be like them, stay safe on the ground with me." The eagle never left his comfort zone and eventually died, never living up to his true potential. The moral of the story is: do we stay in our comfort zones for too long? Or are we looking for new challenges which stretch us and help us grow?

Second eagle story told to departing missionaries by President Simpson..... Eagles build their nests high up on the side of a cliff face. After nurturing and feeding the baby eagles the parents literally kick the young birds out of the nest. At which point the eagles have to start flapping their wings in order to fly. But for a few seconds the thrill of soaring is always preceded by the fear of falling. Great Family Home Evening topic! 

So, while at Anyaa we taught 25 members what self reliance is, and what it is not, following which we took them through a My Path to Self Reliance assessment. Later in the week we trained their facilitators. We love this ward! Another training; this time Church Service Missionaries for Kaneshie stake was a sweet experience. The Mensons are in their 70's and are so eager to serve, Helping them navigate around a computer was interesting, but we think they had fun and we will follow up with additional training, and a review next week.

Serving in the community at a local library was a new experience for us. Libraries here are few and far between, but about 25 years ago a Canadian by the name of Kathy Knowles started several branches around Accra. They are well stocked with donations from many countries. They also have games and activities for the children and the librarians are knowledgable and enthusiastic. The Osu library needed a thorough overhaul, including painting and varnishing bookshelves, cleaning and sorting books and putting everything back together again. Kathy travels from Canada once or twice a year to oversee the projects and we felt privileged to meet her this week. She is an author of many books about African children, and the proceeds from the books help support the libraries. She has been recognized with many awards for her work: With a wholehearted commitment to sharing the joy of reading and to promoting literacy, Kathy has transformed the lives of thousands through the creation of children’s libraries in Ghana, West Africa.” More goodness in Ghana! 

On Thursday while Sister Lambert enjoyed getting creative at a batik class Elder Lambert was witness to a miracle. Here's the short version of what happened. Our stake SR specialist from Tesano who we've only met four or five times got a job at a new hospital in an administrative capacity. He needed to hire a janitor and wanted the job to go to someone needing to be more self reliant. Dickson told Elder Lambert he was the only one who came to his mind that he should call. (Inspiration) Could Elder Lambert help him? Immediately Elder Lambert knew the name of someone he should mention for the job; Samuel, the unemployed Nigerian student we are mentoring. Samuel is studying an on-line course in hospital administration, this would be the perfect way to get his foot in the door and he has almost completed his non citizen permit registration, so that will not be a problem. Samuel got an interview with Dickson and by next week should know if he has the job. There are several other factors that contribute to the story but the bottom line is that the Lord is in the details of our lives, and that is humbling when you experience it in this kind of way. We are hopeful that Samuel will now begin to soar!

Love from your favorite Kamasites in Ghana,
Elder and Sister Lambert

Pictures: Osu library
               Wisdom helped me create this batik

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 66 - A Series of Unfortunate Events


This week started and finished in grand style, but in between Monday and Saturday we had "A Series of Unfortunate Events." 

On Monday we said goodbye to three missionaries: Elders Desta (Ethiopia), Nyampong (Kumasi, Ghana), and Mugisha (Uganda). It is always a sweet experience to hear their testimonies and counsel them on self reliance before they head home. Elder Lambert gave an exceptionally spirit-filled presentation, and it was powerful to listen to the discussion of the skills and habits these missionaries have developed in the last two years including; greater self confidence, the ability to communicate, making better use of their time, budgeting their money, solving problems and greater faith in the Savior. It's wonderful to see them recognize and acknowledge the growth they have experienced. They are great young men and we love them!

For the next four days we hit road blocks and stumbling blocks at every turn. Meetings and appointments were cancelled, we lost our SR specialist in Abomosu as he was called to be a Branch President, a list of returned missionaries to the area is still not available so we cannot schedule RM visits to the five stakes we have been assigned to, the Temple is closed, and the Munros went out of town, so we couldn't do some work in the mission office. Not really anybody's fault, just a series of unfortunate events..... and the lesson that stumbling blocks may be made into stepping stones as our attitude aligns with God's, we exercise patience, look at what we can do differently, and what we can't change, and then moved forward.

However, the week was not all lost because on Saturday we went to Anyaa ward where we helped Prince and Daniel clean the chapel. Prince told us that he has come every Saturday for the last two years to prepare the building for Sunday, his little helper, Daniel (9 years) also shows up every week. Daniel's family joined the church about a year ago and Daniel comes each week to help sweep, mop, and clean chairs. We were super impressed by this little boy and his willingness to help. He checked up on my efforts several times so I hope I was passing quality control! 

Following the cleaning we visited two member businesses. Sister Irene Totimah has been sewing women’s clothing for 6 years. She does contract work making nurses uniforms but also sews for individuals. In July 2016, she completed Start and Grow My Business. From the program she realized that she needed to keep her inventory of cloth options high. Since she has done so her sales have risen. She has also kept records of customers to encourage returning work. Probably the most important change she has made has been the practice of saving money. She was recently able to purchase a knitting machine (over-lock machine) from her savings and now does work she once had to pay to have done for her. She is also now able to offer this sewing service to other seamstresses who do not have a knitting machine. As Sister Totimah’s business continues to grow she hopes to buy another knitting machine and possibly add an employee. 
Ernest Sakyi- The Slipper Maker (Sandals)
Because of his use of the Start and Grow My Business manual, Brother Sakyi is the winner of Kaneshie Stake’s 2016 “Most Talented Young Single Adult” award. Ernest’s journey to success began when he enrolled in Self Reliance April 2016. At this time he had no business experience, but following the principles of the program he began to look around for something people needed. He noticed how popular slippers were and decided to learn how to make them.  While mastering his slipper making skills he began to work on how to market them. He says, “I found the answer when I reviewed chapter 11 of Start and Grow My Business”. Following the suggestions of the program he did a marketing survey and was led to enquiring if he could sell slippers at various high schools in the area. He now sells to ten high schools with more contracts in the works. His goal is to brand his product and rent a container shop. We learned so much from this young man who is finding success because of applying self reliance principles. Yeah!

A great way to end what had been a discouraging week. 
Feeling blessed,
Elder and Sister Lambert

Pictures:Prince and Daniel
Sister Irene

Week 65 - Business Visits and Golf

Dear Family,

This last week we had a meeting with our Self Reliance manager and team to consider where the focus should be in 2017. We identified concerns and how to address them, and are now starting to implement a plan which will include training for Stake leaders in our area. We work with some wonderful people who are committed and passionate about extending SR principles to everyone.

Sister Scripture Study started up again after the Christmas/New Year holiday. I am excited that we will be studying the words of the Prophet and Apostles from October conference. I was asked to facilitate the first discussion on President Uchtdorf’s talk “Fourth Floor, Last Door.” I used some quotes from the talk and asked the sisters to answer questions about faith and perseverance. We watched ‘Sedrick’s Journey” which beautifully illustrates a young man’s faith to persevere so he can go on a mission. (It’s one of my favorites that we use in SR. Check it out at At the conclusion I related the missionaries experience of knocking on all those doors to the Savior’s atonement. He too was rejected, suffered pains and afflictions even greater than man and yet He never gave up on us. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him..." Rev. 3:20. I testify that is true.

We have been attending Anyaa ward again and love the people here. During the week we visited three Anyaa members who completed the Start and Grow My Business class. David raises and sells chickens. He is a talker and had lots of stories to tell! Kwame is a taxi driver, but unfortunately his taxi was recently stolen. He and Elder Lambert discussed cars and wouldn’t you know it, gas mileage (I’m sure our girls are laughing, they know their Dad!) Our third visit was to my friend, Gladys who rents a container selling new and used clothing. While we were at her shop I helped make a sale by suggesting to a customer to try on a certain dress, she ended up buying it! Since David and Kwame had tagged along with us to direct us to Gladys’s place I brought along some banana bread to share with everyone. These people are so sweet, we appreciate them letting us into their lives and sharing their stories with us. Building relationships really is one of my favorite things about serving a mission. I love these people!

Two weeks ago we learned about an 18-hole miniature golf course not far from where we live. So on Saturday we went on a “date” and checked it out. It was great fun, with some challenging holes and the competition was close until Sister Lambert lost her focus and Elder Lambert edged ahead for the win!

Love our mission!
Elder and Sister Lambert

Week 64 - Afehyia Pa

Happy New Year (pronounced ar-fish-a-paa) 

Dear family,

Another week has flown by and we are alive and well! 

Last Monday was a public holiday and the MTC President invited everyone to join in an African Cultural event at the MTC. Demonstrations were made by James and his lovely wife, Arba in many African traditional ways including how the men wrap 6 yards of Kente cloth around themselves! Arba showed the sisters many styles of wearing a headscarf, how to wrap a baby on your back, and how to carry a load on your head. We were also invited to submit our top ten photos in a contest and viewed a slideshow of all the neat pictures that have been  taken. At the end of the afternoon we visited with the young missionaries and met four who will be joining us at Accra West in another two weeks.

The next two days we did apartment checks, helped hang some mosquito nets, delivered mail and met a new missionary in the Lartebiokorshie zone. I should have taken pictures of the apartments so you can see how the Elders live but let's just say the accommodations are basic. The young missionaries do not have the comfort of air conditioners, but we try to ensure their fans are functioning. We document leaky faucets, sink traps and toilets along with any other needs and report back to the mission office. On this visit we delivered each companionship a juicy pineapple, learned about their experiences and give an encouraging word. Elder Manuel is a Portuguese speaker and is doing remarkably well with the language. He had six books open on his bed; Portuguese and English versions of the Bible, Book of Mormon and something else... so he could cross reference passages as he studied. Elder Bangura has only been a member of the Church for 2 years and a missionary for 5 weeks. He is enthusiastic and has a fun sense of humor. Elder Lambert hit it off with Elder Roberts, who is also an avid fisherman. After several minutes of exchanging fish stories I had to remind them that for the present time they are fishers of men.

On Saturday we joined a discussion with Elder Nash and local educators on how the Church can help in the education of the youth. We discussed "What is a quality education?" "What are the gaps in Ghana's schools?" and "How can the Church help?" There are some exciting prospects on the horizon!

Hey, my repertoire of Twi is growing. If someone wishes you a Happy New Year= Afehyia pa, then you respond "Afi ko ba tu ye" Many Happy Returns!

Love from your favorite Kamasites in Africa,
Elder and Sister Lambert

Week 63 - Back tracking to Christmas - Lessons from Liberia

Kristi here. I forgot to send this letter last month! Enjoy.


Merry Christmas to our dear, dear family and friends,

What a wonderful time of year! Christmas truly brings joy to our lives!

Last Monday during Family Home Evening we had the funnest gift exchange between 60 of us serving here. We laughed as gifts were chosen, exchanged and "locked in" by the participants. A couple of times it appeared a feud may break out over highly sought after gifts, but looks like we are still all friends so no permanent harm was done!

The highlights from this week's experiences have ties to Liberia, another West African nation which has struggled with civil wars and the ebolla epidemic of 2014.  On Monday at scripture study with the senior sisters we celebrated by reading the Christmas story, singing carols and sharing traditions and nativities. Sister Heckel showed us the most unique nativity. It was made from the spent brass shell casings of bullets that were used in the civil wars (1995-1996 and 1999-2003) in Liberia. It was sobering, yet also heart-warming to view something made to cause pain and death transformed into something representing love and peace. 

On Tuesday we attended a multi zone conference with half of the young missionaries serving in Accra West. Everything was going beautifully until President realized he left the external hard drive to his laptop at home. It was needed so we could all watch a movie following lunch. Several solutions were attempted but American and Ghanaian technology isn't compatible. Then two of the Elders remembered that a member in their area had an American laptop with downloaded movies. With the owners permission we took the young missionaries to retrieve the key to his room, then to the room where he lives in the Liberian refugee camp to collect the laptop. We had never been to the refugee camp, but had heard about it many times. It's not a tent city like you might envision from recent news stories, but is a honeycomb of little houses covering a vast area on the west side of Kasoa. It was quite an experience weaving our way though narrow spaces between the homes. This camp is permanent housing for those who fled Liberia during the civil wars. It's a very poor area with people living in close proximity to each other. It also reminded me that the Savior was also a refugee during his young live when his parents fled to Egypt to avoid death by the hand of King Herod. I found it humbling as we walked through the camp. Grateful, never to have experienced the violence and trauma of war. Grateful never to have had to leave my home, not knowing what will happen to me or our precious children, and also gratitude for the safety, peace and security I have always known. Grateful for these lessons learned from Liberia.

Anyway long story short, we borrowed the laptop and then zipped back to the stake center where the missionaries voted to watch "Despicable Me 2" before receiving their Christmas packages. Three cheers to Elders Msomi and Jolley for saving the day! 

Another neat experience occurred when we arrived with the laptop. Six little boys were hanging around outside the building, the missionaries were finishing lunch but there were plenty of leftovers so Sister Munro got permission to invite the boys in to enjoy some rice, salad and cake. We sat and talked with them as they chowed down. Then they helped sweep the floor and clean up, at the same time trying to watch the movie in the other partition of the cultural hall. Again we got permission and with big smiles on their faces they joined the missionaries and watched the show. Children and Christmas go hand in hand, and this was a sweet substitute for being away from the grandkids. I loved being able to spoil these little boys, my grandma heart was happy.

Christmas day was awesome! We love how our African brothers and sisters sing the hymns and oh my, they were in fine form today! It was glorious! And even though our internet was down we were still able to talk to our family, we just couldn't see all their happy faces. Not to worry, there is always the family New Year's Eve party. We sure do love this bunch!

Elder and Sister Lambert

Friday, January 6, 2017

Week 62 - More Goodness to Come

Happy New Year to you all! You are welcome 2017!

Last night as I reflected back on 2016 I was filled with gratitude for all the good in my life and the wealth of experiences we have had this past year in Ghana. Our mission has exposed us to things we had never imagined. It has helped us see with new eyes, and has caused personal growth and greater insight into Heavenly Father's plan for his children as we work with these beautiful African people.

Around this time of year in Kamas we can wake up to a blanket of snow on the ground. Well, on Tuesday morning we woke up to the arrival of the Harmattan season. This is the dry, dusty wind which blows off the Sahara Desert and covers the whole of West Africa this time of year. Much like the inversion in the Salt Lake valley, we won't see the sun again until February. The one advantage is that the temperatures cool to 80 degrees, and the morning breeze feels wonderful!

Two highlights stand out from this week. First, we invited the Adjei family over for lunch and a swim in the pool. Samuel Adjei is one of the security guards at our apartment complex. He has impressed us with his goodness and integrity. In November we took him to the Self Reliance Week of Celebration and ever since then the friendship has grown. His wife, Sarpomaa is a seamstress, their two boys Samuel (11) and David (7) are fun kids. The boys had never been swimming before but jumped in and with the help of noodles, paddled around totally fearless, so we had to watch them pretty closely. We played "Don't Eat Pete" and the M&M game before they went home.

The second highlight was meeting with Patrick MacAidoo, our friend from Cape Coast. He bought his family with him to Accra and little Ivan (18 months) is adorable! Patrick impressed us from the first time we met him almost a year ago when he counseled returned missionaries about the adjustment after serving a mission. Since then he has introduced us to the work he does with street children in Cape Coast, and the schools he has built through his humanitarian organization (PROaid Africa Projects). We are looking forward to visiting one of the schools in a few weeks. Patrick is another example of the goodness in Ghana that we love.

Finally, we were blessed with a good internet connection yesterday and were able to join the family New Year's Eve party in Grantsville, Utah. All five of our girls, their husbands and eleven grandkids reminded us that Lambert parties include morning runs, gymnastics, dancing, toy snatching, cousin hugs, whisker tickles, gingerbread house making, foot massages, and so much more! Thank you for this special treat. We love you all.

Looking forward to 2017,
Elder and Sister Lambert