I am primarily an evangelist and teacher who travels around the world in apostolic ministry as God leads and enables me. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, I mentor our key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures, just as they continue to mentor me. I am relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships.
As most of you may know, my dearest J.L. suddenly went to be with the Lord on December 28th. Our family is still struggling to believe that he is really no longer with us. But, we share the hope in knowing we will see him again and that he now beholds Jesus face to face.
Here is the last email blast he was preparing the morning he died. As usual, he left the house to do his cardiac rehab program and I stayed at home, as was also usual, to help with editing different writings of his. But, I was specifically getting this report ready for Jane to send out later that Wednesday.
You will hear his passion for the children’s programs as you read his words and see all the pictures. (He often laughed and said that Jesus gave two great commissions. One was to go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and the other was to go into all the world and take pictures of God’s work!)
Many people are asking what will become of JL, Patt & Friends now that J.L. is gone. The JLPF board of directors is meeting to discuss this very concern. You will be hearing directly from them and me in the weeks ahead as we transition from J.L.’s leadership to mine and the board’s.
Enjoy J.L.’s last report – even imagine hearing him, with his “outside voice” and his enthusiasm and excitement, as he reports on the great things going on with the children!
So very grateful for your continued prayers!
Patt, for our family, staff and board, and our national partners
Deuteronomy 31:8, God’s precious promise to me and us.
“…On coming to the house,
they saw the child with His mother Mary,
and they bowed down and worshiped Him.
Then they opened their treasures
and presented Him with gifts…”
Dear Ministry Partners,
We can see from this familiar story of the Wise Men that giving gifts is an expression of worship when done in the right spirit. Most importantly, they gave their gifts to Jesus. They did not exchange them with each other like we do at Christmas!
But when He was an adult, Jesus made it clear in His Parable of the Sheep & Goats that when we give gifts to the needy in His Name, we give to Him. He taught that when we give food to the hungry…water to the thirsty…clothes to the naked…medicine to the sick…show hospitality to the stranger…and visit those in prison – we do it unto Him (Matt. 25: 31-40).
That’s exactly what you helped us do during the Christmas season for needy children, widows, refugees and prisoners. So our next few eNewsletters will be pictorial reports on the people you gave gifts to through JLPF. Patt and I hope you will be blessed and encouraged as you re-live the experience of the Wise Men through the Christmas Love Feasts, Advent Celebrations and gifts you made possible through your love, prayers and financial generosity.
And just like the Wise Men took a long journey to worship Christ through their giving, you will also take international journeys to places like Nepal, India, Africa and Haiti. So let the journey begin!
First, let’s visit the Christmas Party at the Grace Children’s Home in Kathmandu Nepal…
The Grace Children's Home that we funded almost 20 years ago through NDI.
After all the years, and many children, it is in wonderful condition, and
beautifully decorated for Christmas.
Before receiving their gifts, the children had a time of prayer and worship.
Sister Maya is the founder of the home, and helped Pastor Hanok distribute
the gifts to the children.
Pastor Hanok is assisted by one of the most senior elders of Aradhana Church,
Durgasingh, a healed leper. Each child received a warm winter jacket and other
clothing for the current cold season in Nepal.
Pastor Hanok and Maya with nine happy children
who were blessed by you, our ministry partners,
who gave like the Wise Men.
I want to take you back more than a dozen years to one of my earlier visits to the Grace Children’s Home. While each of the children is precious, I want you to especially meet two girls, Sunita and Ashanjoli. In the pictures below, Sunita is in the yellow sweater and Ashanjoli is wearing the purple jacket.
A much younger me (!) visiting Sister Maya
and the children at the Grace Home.
As always, the children sang and recited Bible verses they had memorized.
In spite of their handicaps, Sunita and Ashanjoli thrived at the Grace Home,
and excelled in their studies.
Here are Sunita’s and Ashanjoli’s stories.
When she was 2 ½ years old, Sunita Tamang was brought by her mother and a friend to the Aradhana Church with severe burns. Her drunken father had thrown her into the fire and her mother had rescued her – but not before Sunita was badly burned. When Hanok saw the tragic condition of this little girl, he called Sister Maya and asked if she could care for her in the Grace Home. Maya agreed and quickly took her to the Patan Hospital for much needed medical attention. Sunita lived at Grace for 13 years until she graduated from high school four years ago. Now, she lives with her aunt and is in her second year at a business college, studying management.
Ashanjoli came to the Grace Home when she was 4 and still lives there today, helping Maya care for the younger children. She had broken her leg in an accident as a small child and came to the home with a foot that had not healed properly, because of inadequate medical care in her village. Sister Maya saw to it that Ashanjoli received a series of treatments that made it possible for her to walk, run and do anything else she wants to do today! She is now 20, is in her first year in the same business college as Sunita and is also studying management.
On our last trip to Nepal, Patt and I had the joy of visiting with Sunita and Ashanjoli again. It had been many years since we had seen them. As you will notice from the pictures that follow, they are now beautiful young women.
When we met together at the Aradhana Church, they both thanked us for giving them help and hope in life through their many years at the Grace Home. Sunita tearfully said: “If it would not have been for you, I would not be alive – nor would I know Jesus.” I also began to weep and held her in my arms with her beautiful face against mine. As I did, our tears mingled together. Heaven wept with us! But they were tears of joy and thanksgiving for the grace of Christ that had made it all possible!
It was one of the most unforgettable moments in my life! And it was all made possible by the financial support of our ministry partners – who will never meet them personally. But one day, you too will embrace them in your arms in heaven – as the Lord Jesus embraces us all!
Remember the beautiful smiles of these two young ladies.
You will meet them again in heaven.
Now, after this walk down memory lane at the Grace Children’s Home, let’s pop in for a visit at the Himali Home, which is a sister Children’s Home in Kathmandu.
As our regular readers will remember, we recently dedicated their new three story building when Patt and I were in Nepal (click here to review that report). It was wonderful to receive these pictures this past week of their first Christmas Celebration in their new facility – all decorated with colorful lights!
Sister Laxmi and the children await the arrival of the Wise Men bearing gifts
for the children - otherwise known as Pastor Hanok, and the elders of the
Because of the gracious giving of our partners, we were able to send the
funds to buy new warm jackets and clothes for each of the children
Pastor Hanok and his fellow Wise Men from Aradhana helped
distribute the gifts to each child.
Just like American children, they were eager to open their gifts
and try on their new clothes.
Each child received a new warm sweater, gloves, hat, and a jacket.
Patt and I thank each of you who were "God's Wise Men", and gave to JLPF
so we could give gifts to these precious children.
After each Children’s Home had their own time of receiving gifts, we brought them together for a combined Christmas Love Feast. Since the Himali Home moved into their new facility recently, they hosted this year’s Christmas Party.
Ashanjoli is now a wonderful Sunday School teacher, so she helped
organize and lead songs and games for the combined groups.
Several of the games emphasized their spiritual unity in Christ.
Sister Laxmi prepared the "Christmas Love Feast" for the children
from both Children's Homes. It was truly a Nepali feast!
Because Sunita is a graduate of the Grace Home, she came
to the combined Christmas Party in her traditional Nepali dress.
One of the highlights of the Christmas Love Feast was the two cakes
that all of the children shared - with sparklers on top!
Three beautiful spiritual sisters who are the fruit of these two Children's Homes:
Sashi, (left) profiled in an earlier report (please click here);
Sunita, (middle) currently a student in business college;
and Ashanjoli (right) who still lives at the Grace Home, is an
active leader in her local church and attends business college.
Pray for these beautiful Nepali sisters in Christ
who are the fruit of your love, prayers, and support.
The children of the Grace and Himali Homes send
their love and thanks for your gifts that made
their Christmas Celebration so special!
Patt and I have our arms around two beautiful living examples of why we do what we do. There is no greater reward in life than to be God’s channel of blessing and hope to precious children like these we have pictured in this report. Thanks for loving these two “adopted daughters” of ours. They are some of the “abiding fruit” that Jesus promised that He would bring forth through our lives (John 15:16). Thanks for your continued partnership with us to minister His love and compassion to them in every way possible.
In our next report, we will visit another of our Children’s Homes for their Christmas Celebration. Until then…
In the spirit of the Wise Men,
JL & Patt
..."all of them were brave warriors"
Dear Friends and Partners,
On behalf of Patt and the family, I want to thank you for the tremendous outpouring of love that you have shown them in this past week.
We are honored to share with you a brief slideshow that was viewed at JL’s services this past weekend. Please click on the picture below:
Also, you may click on the movie at the top to watch the “Celebration of Life Service” in its entirety.
Thank you for your continued prayers for Patt and the family.
In His Service,
JL, Patt & Friends, Inc.
Dr. J. L. Williams
December 31, 1941-December 28, 2016
Dear Beloved Friends and Partners,
It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that our beloved J. L. has gone to be with Jesus, after suffering a massive heart attack this morning.
Please be in prayer for Patt, the children and grandchildren.
We will send an additional email with funeral arrangements as they are completed.
In His love,
JL, Patt & Friends
“Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord."
Sunday morning Christmas service at my home church in Haw River.
Sunday morning service in South Haiti.
Dear Ministry Partner,
I am writing this latest eNewsletter after Patt and I have returned from a wonderful Sunday morning worship service at our local church. It was an especially meaningful service since it was the Sunday for the annual Christmas Musical and our son-in-law, Mark Atkins, was one of the soloists.
As I watched and listened to this inspirational performance, I could not help but compare in my mind the far different setting from that first Christmas. From the Gospel narratives, we all know that Jesus was not born in a church. Nor was He taken to a church soon after His birth. There were no churches before Christ came. There were only pagan shrines and the Jewish Temple – but no churches. But, His Advent gave birth to the Church. There would be no such thing as a church if Jesus would not have come.
However, we all know that a building is NOT the church. The church is people. And not just any group of people – but specifically people who have been redeemed and “called out” by God. The Greek word for church, ekklesia, means “a calling out from.” So, the true church in every century are those specific people who have been “called out from the world” into the koinonia, or “fellowship” of other followers of Christ (Acts 2:42). They may or may not have the luxury of a building to meet in. While a building is certainly a helpful facility where the church can meet, it is not essential.
As we know from history, the church had no buildings for the first several hundred years of its existence. It met in homes, rented halls, outside, underground, in caves, under trees or in catacombs. During those years of explosive growth, there was no association of the “church” with a building. That only happened later as the church started building buildings and developed an “edifice complex!” But the church never was and never will be a physical building. It is a spiritual building – the spirit, soul and body of the Believer (I Cor. 6:19-20).
In a similar way, a house is not a home. A home is people – normally a man and woman who have been publicly married – “called out” from all other men and women – to live together for life as husband and wife. And, to that union, children are usually born – just like Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph “…in the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4).
Therefore, an authentic home is a family of related individuals living together in loving, peaceful, unified koinonia, or family fellowship.
While a physical house is not necessary for an authentic marriage and family, a physical dwelling is certainly helpful for healthy physical and relational growth! That’s why homelessness is such a heart-breaking situation. You can be an authentic person without a house to live in – but you can’t mature in healthy and happy relationships in a perpetual homeless situation.
So, physical families and spiritual families who have become homeless need our help when they are without a secure shelter in which to live…worship…fellowship…grow…love.
As you know from previous emails, thousands of our Nepali and Haitian brothers and sisters have lost their physical houses and church houses through earthquakes and hurricanes. Through your partnership, we have been doing all we can to feed and clothe them and get them “under roof” again.
Members of Pastor Pierre's team distributed food
and relief items to the needy in South Haiti.
Just before going to my own church this past Sunday morning for the annual Christmas Program, I opened an email from our partner in Haiti, Pastor Esperandieu Pierre. He is the Founder and CEO of Nehemiah Vision Ministries (NVM) with whom we have been partnering in Hurricane Matthew Relief work (please click here to see earlier reports). Pastor Pierre sent the following pictures of a number of churches in the south of Haiti that were fully or partially destroyed by the ravages of Matthew. While many churches were completely destroyed, others lost their roofs and everything inside.
He and his team have been meeting with local pastors to assess the damages and plan the rebuilding as God provides the resources. Since most lost the contents of their churches, he gave each of them a new Bible, Hymn Book and Commentary in Creole or French.
The gift of a new Bible, Hymn Book, and Bible Commentary for ministry.
Pastor Pierre met with local pastors to discuss their needs and strategy
Most of these pastors are continuing to have services “under the skies” when the weather permits – just as they did after the killer earthquake of 2010. Now we are hoping to help as many as possible put on new roofs. This rebuilding will not be a quick or overnight process, and will take many months in this New Year to be completed.
But already several truckloads of lumber for trusses and metal sheeting have been bought and trucked from Port-au-Prince to the South. Church roofs are now being repaired and replaced.
NVM has sent in trained building teams of Haitians to do the work. They are our national “boots on the ground” who were able to immediately take action to help the needy. All they needed were the resources – which you helped supply. And local workers will benefit from the rebuilding, rather than foreign work teams. For these national workers, language, custom, culture, heat and humidity are no barrier. This is their home.
Some of the NVM Building Team.
As you enjoy warm and wonderful Christian worship and fellowship in your home church this Christmas Season, please remember your brothers and sisters who are having a churchless Christmas in many ways. Perhaps your church, Sunday School Class, Youth Group, Mission Committee, Civic Club or Business associates could commit to give or raise the funds to rebuild or re-roof a church in Haiti in the coming New Year.
While we continue to enjoy this Christmas Season and all our blessings as American Christians, I lovingly urge you to continue to pray for our brethren in Haiti. Through no fault of their own, so many of them are experiencing a “homeless Christmas” and a “churchless Christmas” since their houses and churches were damaged or destroyed by the hurricane.
Also, as many of you make decisions about your year-end-giving, I hope you will consider putting a roof on one of these churches. Pastor Pierre says they can replace roofs for these amounts:
Whether you can give for part of a roof or an entire roof, I remind you that 100% of your gift will be deployed as designated. We take nothing out for Ad Min costs. We are able to do this due to the support of our own Operational Budget by ministry friends. To date we have been able to send $50,000 to Haiti for relief and rebuilding because of the generosity of our American partners. But, we have now deployed 100% of what has come in. To all of you who have given, we say a BIG “Thank You!” To those of you who have not yet given, we lovingly urge you to do so as soon as possible.
Therefore, Patt and I hope you will give as generously as possible as you close this year and begin 2017. The knowledge of your spiritual and financial partnership will help make this Christmas a time of “…good news of great joy.”
For every gift of $20 or more, I would like to send you a copy of my new book, Biblical Pictures of the Church. I think you will find it a timely study of all the relational pictures of the church in the Bible. (Please designate on your check or on PayPal that your gift is for Hurricane Matthew Haiti Rebuilding.)
In His love for His Church,
JL & Patt
CHRISTMAS BLESSINGS FROM OUR HOUSE TO THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace among those
with whom He is pleased.”
Luke 2:14 (ESV)
“…she gave birth to her firstborn…
she wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.”
Former Street Boy, George Odhiambo
Dear Ministry Partners,
I was supposed to be in Kenya right now for my annual December time of ministry there. But my recent heart issues grounded me from international travel. One week ago today I would have participated in the Christmas Party for the Adventure School, founded and led by our partner, George Odhiambo.
You see, spending time with George and the “Kibera Kids” is always a highlight of my year and a personal way of preparing for the true meaning of Christmas (click here to review a recent Christmas visit to Kibera).
In many ways, the Kibera slums are hell on earth! It is one square mile of squallier beyond description – bordering the City of Nairobi. Reputedly, Kibera is populated by a million people. No one knows the true number for sure. Supposedly, it is the largest slum on the African Continent.
Like many other similar slums around the world, Kibera is a tragic testimony of the results of political upheaval, refugee migration, governmental corruption, social disparity, legal injustice, tribal prejudice, educational inequity, vocational inopportunity, economic poverty and spiritual darkness. Kibera is a dense picture of man’s inhumanity to man.
Through our partnership with people like George Odhiambo, we have been proactively involved in Kibera for over 30 years. A former “Street Boy” himself, George is a citizen of Kibera. More than that, he is a citizen of the Kingdom of God! That’s what Christmas is really all about. It is about a God who incarnated Himself in the midst of man’s brokenness.
God first sovereignly connected my life with George’s when he was a homeless “Street Boy.” Below is a brief summary of his testimony in his own words…
Patt with George, standing outside his small home
in Kibera. At right, George is pictured with his
adopted mother, Maribell Chittenden, who sponsored
him in school from the time he was a small boy.
Maribell is a college friend to Patt and Me, and a
faithful partner in our ministry.
George welcomed us to his home.
“Before I gave my life to our Lord Jesus, I was a street boy in Nairobi. I was involved in so many bad things like stealing from people and using of bad drugs. I spent most nights outside along verandas and under bridges because I didn't have a place to stay. I was arrested several time by the Kenya police and locked in prison for being accused of doing bad things to the public.
In 1993 we were at a place called Kenyatta Market where we used to gather as our base. We gathered there because there was a restaurant where people ate and we would eat from the bones and scraps they threw out. A missionary from Canada came there with Pastor Timothy Mulehi. They gave us some bread and a bowl of soup once a day. Then you and NDI began to support this feeding program.
They also started to share about the love of God with us and how God loved the world that He gave His only son Jesus to die for us. After thinking about that love of God I decided to give my life to Jesus together with other street boys. We were taken out of the street to the Kibera slums where they rented two mud-roomed houses for us to start a new life there. They also gave us food and clothes and took us to Pastor Timothy’s church. From that day I gave Jesus my body, Mind, and Heart so that He can control my new life.
I also got the opportunity to go back to primary and secondary school. After that to the Bible College through NDI and Leadership International. So I have never regretted giving my life to the Lord. Instead I have really benefited a lot as I continue to study the Word of God and to share the Good News with people in the slums.
God gave me a burden of working with the children who are at risk remembering what I went through when I was on the street. So I started a program in the Year 2001 to feed and educate needy children just like I was. We have Bible clubs for children and they are learning about the Word of God which is our pillar in the ministry.
I am married and we are blessed with four children. We still live in Kibera in the house NDI helped me rent and renovate. May our God bless you for changing my life and now the lives of the children I ministry to through our Adventure School.
George with some of his adopted Kibera Kids (left)
and with his own children (right).
George's new baby girl, born in Kibera.
George’s story reminds us afresh that Christmas is not about God coming to us in royal pomp and circumstance. When God became incarnate as a baby, He was not born in a palace fit for a king. After his ignoble birth, He was not wrapped in the purple silk, satin and fine lace befitting human royalty – much less deity! His mother, Mary, was a simple Jewish virgin of humble origin. She was anything but the “Queen Mother!” Her husband, Joseph, was also a young carpenter from the peasant class of blue collar workers of his day.
Just like the multitudes in Kibera, Joseph and Mary were moved from their home through political upheaval. As a result, their first child was born in surroundings fitting for animals – not humans. After the untimely birth of their firstborn, Mary wrapped Him in “cloths,” or “swaddling clothes.” The Greek word is sparganon and means “swathing strips of cloth.” No royal robes here!
And His first cradle was a manger for feeding animals. Therefore, Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus, would have fit right into Kibera! And before the saga of their early marriage was over, they too would be reduced to homeless refugees in a foreign country – in their case, Egypt, on the African Continent (Matt. 2:13-15).
Before celebrating with George and his Kibera Kids, I want you to experience their earlier “Christmas in August” …
CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST…
Because most of the Kibera kids spend their whole lives in the slums, they are seldom able to experience some of the beauty of God’s creation. And since Kenya has some of the best National Parks in the world, George wanted to give his school children a day out of the slums for an outing at the Lake Nakuru National Park. The Park has some magnificent wild life, and one of the largest flamingo migrations on the continent.
To assist in this, we rented the buses for him to transport the children from the ugliness of Kibera to the beauty of Lake Nakuru – abounding with beautiful trees, lush green grass and blue waters teaming with wild life.
Loading the bus in Kibera, and unloading at Lake Nakuru. For many, it was their
very first commercial bus ride.
For these Kibera kids, it was like being in the Garden of Eden.
For most kids, it was their first time to ride in a boat on the water.
Another first - a ride on a camel!
EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENTS…
School books are not provided in most schools in Kenya, so they are at a premium. As a result, the children have to copy all their lessons on paper – if they have paper and pencils, which most do not have unless the school provides them. So George asked us to help him buy new text books for his students earlier this year, which we did. The children will use these books until they are completely worn out!
Another special gift was new soccer uniforms provided by my friend and associate, Larry Warren, through Leadership International. Larry is an alumnus of NDI and I serve on his Board. We started working in Kibera together over 3 decades ago – and have continued to partner there ever since.
Just like George, each of these kids is a "trophy of grace",
and is being transformed into a winner through Jesus Christ.
A KIBERA CHRISTMAS…
Special guests joined with George in cutting the Christmas cake.
Through the following pictures, Patt and I hope you will be able to enter into the joy that these Kibera kids enjoyed last week. And as you look at these pictures, rejoice in the fact that many of you helped provide this “Christmas Love Feast” through your love, prayers and financial support.
Before the Christmas meal, there is praying, singing, dancing and reciting of Scriptures memorized in school.
While the activities are taking place inside the refurbished church where his school meets, the cooking is taking place in the cramped area outside the church.
In addition to the traditional vegetables and rice, chicken and beef
were served, a rare treat for everyone, as most cannot normally
afford these items.
Each child provides his own plate or bowl to eat from -
but only after they have washed their hands. Fingers
are the normal utensils, except some have spoons.
A Christmas feast in Jesus' love!
A full stomach and a BIG smile says it all!
Thanks for leaving the comfort, cleanliness and coziness of your home environment to venture with Patt and me into the slums of Kibera. By going there with us you have helped touch these precious children with the love and compassion of Christ. Most would have no Christmas without your generosity.
In this last series of reports, you have visited most of our Children’s Homes and ministries in India, Nepal and now Africa. There is so MUCH more I could share about these partnerships that have been in place for decades. But time and space do not permit.
This is our last week to send the special Christmas funds to each of these homes and ministries. Between now and Christmas, each of them will have special celebrations with “Love Feasts” and gifts. Since it is winter in most of these places, we are also buying warm jackets, clothing, sweaters, gloves and socks for each child. The average cost for each Home for their Christmas Party and gifts is between $500 - $2,000, depending on the number, ages and sizes of the children.
Thanks for helping us bless these children through your love, prayers and financial gifts. The majority of these children would have no Christmas without your help. If you haven’t given yet, please do so through PayPal. Whatever you can send will be very timely – whether it is $10, $20, $50, $100 or $1,000. And as always, 100% of your gift will be deployed for the children.
Between Christmas and New Years, we will send you a few pictures from the Christmas Celebrations at each of these Children’s Homes. I know you will be blessed to see what your praying and giving have made possible.
Finally, thanks for NOT being Santa Claus to these children – but a continued incarnation of the love of Jesus Christ!
In His Christmas love, joy & peace,
JL & Patt
PS: If you aren’t reading this in-depth study of the Christmas narratives, I hope you will start. And please pass it along to your extended family and other friends. The Incarnation of perfect deity into perfect humanity “When God Became Man” is what separates Christianity from all other religions. (Please click on the picture of the book at left to begin your Christmas journey.)