Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Jamie & Lisa Williams: Educating and Empowering the People of Belize

In 2015, we will be highlighting UMC missionaries who have been commissioned from the Southeastern Jurisdiction to serve around the world. Many of these missionaries accept volunteers to help with the important and necessary ministries they have established or are in partnership with. Contact UMVIM, SEJ for more information on how to serve!

Meet Lisa and Jamie Williams of the Kentucky Conference. Their story began as college freshman, when they knew on their first date that they were called to be in international mission service together. Their vision was cultivated over the years by prayer, dreaming, and preparation, and they are now serving in Belize as commissioned United Methodist missionaries.

The Williams began serving as short-term UMVIM team leaders while Jamie was serving as an elder in the Kentucky Conference. When their youngest child went to college, they became Individual Volunteers through UMVIM for a year and a half. "We appreciate the care of Mrs. Paulette West and Mrs. Una Jones, along with many others, who made sure we had successful training and ministry. It helped us to discern our calling into what became a full-time mission appointment with Global Ministries," recalls Lisa.

Jamie, or "PJ" as the kids call him, (short for Pastor Jamie), is the "presbyter" of the Corozal Methodist Circuit. He has three churches, and serves as chaplain for two primary schools with more than 700 children in attendance! His hope and prayer is to train new clergy and lay preachers within the Corozal Circuit, as there are very few new people coming into the ministry in Belize.Lisa is a veterinarian by trade, but staying true to her call to missions, she is now the UMVIM Team Coordinator for Belize. Her role is to work with and get to know the needs of the locals, and then place teams into the types of service where they can be best utilized. She also meets with local village children to have Sunday School on Saturday mornings, and facilitates a weekly women's Bible Study.

Education for All
The Williams' biggest project, which began in the spring of 2012, is the building of a new high school in the capital city of Belmopan. Belize has a very young population, yet only enough schools to accommodate about half of its youth.
The Belmopan Methodist High School has received over 40 UMVIM teams since breaking ground, and half of the project is already completed. There are 180 freshman and sophomores in attendance at this time! The student body will expand each year as the building continues in the construction process, eventually encompassing all senior high grade levels. 

"Worth Every Hard Moment"
The Williams are constantly faced with a lack of resources, and understandably, it can sometimes feel overwhelming. "The joy of seeing children being educated and learn about Jesus, watching UMVIM teams make a real difference and observing their experiences, along with parishioners so happy to receive even the smallest token of pastoral care...it makes the uncertainties of mission service worth every hard moment," say the Williams. 

Will You Answer the Call?
Do you feel called to lead an UMVIM team to Belize to serve alongside the Williams? They have many congregations and schools that need resources, workers, and people to love them! You can learn more about the Williams by visiting their website and blog, where you will also find information on how to connect with them in UMVIM service.

To learn more about what it means to be involved in healthy, covenant relationships with long-term efforts, please reach out to our office. UMVIM, SEJ harnesses the strong connectional nature of the United Methodist Church, connects teams to sustainable mission opportunities, provides in-depth leader training, and offers supplemental health insurance to short-term missioners.

Photos: Courtesy of Jamie and Lisa Williams

No comments:

Post a Comment