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