Dr. J. L. Williams was an evangelist and teacher who traveled around the world in apostolic ministry as God led and enabled him. In addition to preaching and teaching the Bible, he mentored key partners to be more strategic and impactful for the Gospel in their countries and cultures. He was relationally focused rather than program or project focused in ministry relationships and partnerships. J. L. went home to be with the Lord on December 28, 2016.
“The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.” (Deuteronomy 2:7)
Dear Friend & Partner,
I am writing this special blog entry on “New Years Eve” - which is also my 66th birthday. By God’s grace, I have come to the end of another full and fruitful year of travel and ministry. In the last 12 months of travel and ministry the Lord took me to Nepal, India, Hong Kong, Mali, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Haiti and Andros, Freeport and Abaco in the Bahamas. And I was in most of these countries more than once in 2007. Also, when I was not out of country, I was traveling and speaking domestically. So it has been a very busy year of travel and ministry for the Kingdom - all made possible by your prayers and partnership spiritually and financially.
I especially spent a lot of time on the African Continent this past year because of all God is doing there. The Twenty-First Century is already being called the “Century of the African Church” because of the incredible growth of the church there – as well as the counter-challenges of radical Islam.
And as many of you know, I also spent 5 days in the hospital in September from Falciparum malaria – which is the number one killer of people in the world today especially children. I apparently contracted it in Sudan – where I will be traveling again in mid-January. Even though I have had malaria several times before, this was by far the most serious case – which almost took me home to heaven! But because of the prayers and intercessions of friends and partners in America and around the world, God was pleased to raise me up to continue to “fight the good fight of the faith” (I Tim. 1:18; 6:12). And He did the same for my friend, Kelly Cantrell, who had a far more serious case than I had – and spent 15 days in ICU. Both of us are now back to our full schedules – well almost, as a result of your prayers and God’s sovereign grace!
During my recovery from malaria, Stuart Briscoe wrote me an email of encouragement which said: “J.L., think of it as being laid aside for stillness rather than laid aside by illness!” Only Stuart could express it that way! So Patt and I thank all of you for your prayers for both of us this past year. Because of God’s incredible grace and goodness, we have now experienced our 65th and 66th birthdays respectively – as well as our 43rd wedding anniversary! God is good – and marriage is too!
This has also been a strategic year of ministry transition for me as I have moved from being “Founder and CEO” of NDI to being “CMO,” or Chief Ministry Officer. My son, Joseph, is now the CEO and has capably been at the helm of NDI since last January 1st – leaving me freer than ever to travel and minister as God leads. And I have been ANYTHING but retired – which my travel, preaching, teaching, writing and mentoring schedule shows! That word is not in my vocabulary! I intend to keep traveling and preaching as long as God gives me health and strength. I feel as intently as ever the words of the Apostle Paul: “Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!” (I Cor. 9:16).
At the beginning of this New Year I want to remind you that 2008 is another historic year for us because it is our “40th Anniversary” as a ministry. We are awed and humbled over God’s graciousness to us for these 4 decades. As I have pondered these many years of ministry, God’s words to the Children of Israel that I shared above echoed over and over in my mind. I have chosen them as my theme verse for this anniversary year. While it is only one verse, it is pregnant with implications for the Children of Israel – and for us at NDI. Let me unpackage that verse with you word by word and phrase by phrase…
So beloved, we look forward to our continued “partnership in the Gospel” in ’08 (Phil. 1:3-5). We believe this “40th Anniversary Year” will be our greatest year of ministry for His Kingdom and glory yet! And we thank God for the part you will play in everything we do!
In His Faithful Love,