Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Al & Mickey Williams January Prayer and Praise Bulletin

AL’S TRIP TO NORTH CAROLINA - Thank you once again for your prayers as I drove to the JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina. I was able to accomplish quite a few things on this trip even though the JAARS Center was closed for a day and a half due to snow and ice. Some days it was actually colder in North Carolina than it was at our home in Pennsylvania. I had meetings with some of the Security and Crisis Management staff that I usually relate to from a distance and also had time to catch up with some (but, unfortunately, not all) of our friends who live there.

One of the major reasons for this trip was an invitation to attend the JAARS Board of Directors meetings. This is the body that provides oversight and direction to the JAARS President and is highly engaged in the focus and activities that JAARS will be involved in for the future. Many of you will remember that when Mickey and I joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, we were focused on serving the work of Bible Translation in the Philippines – I, as a pilot and mechanic; Mickey as a nurse, secretary, etc. JAARS is the organization that trains and supports the pilots and mechanics that serve with SIL and has been a very significant part of our lives. A few months ago I received a request to consider becoming one of the directors on the JAARS Board. The meetings this week were an opportunity for me to get to know the current Board members and to observe their process in this round of meetings. It was also an opportunity for them to get to know me briefly as they consider my gifts, abilities and skills as they consider the talents needed on the Board in the future.

We will appreciate your prayers as Mickey and I consider this opportunity, and for the JAARS Board as they consider inviting me to become one of the directors in 2019. A decision on this position will be made later in 2018.

IVATAN NEW TESTAMENT; RE-LAUNCHING – In early 2016, as the Jesus Film was being dubbed into the Ivatan language of the northern Philippines, many Ivatan asked how they could get a copy of the New Testament in their language. Sadly, it had been out of print since the 1990’s. But in November 2016, during the launching of the Ivatan Jesus Film, our colleagues were able to make the Ivatan Scripture App available to those with mobile phones. They also shared the exciting news that the Ivatan New Testament was being reprinted and would be available within the next year! On December 9, 2017 that promise came true as the Ivatan New Testament (including selected Psalms and the Book of Proverbs) was made available to the people during a special re-launching celebration! Praise the Lord! Pray that God’s Word will draw many Ivatan to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

JEREMY’S HOUSE - Thanks so much for your prayers regarding someone to buy our son Jeremy’s house. On December 29, God answered as the sale of the house was finalized! This is a huge relief for all of us. 

UPCOMING TRIPS - I (Al) am in the process of planning an extended trip to Indonesia in March. This will be an opportunity to provide security and crisis management training to some of our teams and partners working there. I’ll also be attending our annual leadership meeting. This is the round of meetings where we discuss planning for the work ahead, not only in Indonesia but across Asia. In addition to that upcoming trip, I’m working to develop security and crisis management training that can be done via video conferencing over the Internet. Travel expenses and time being in short supply, my hope is that this means of training will allow me to reach more people at less expense and time than seeking to be at each place in person. There is no replacement for in-person training, but I hope this will be valuable too. Please pray for wisdom and good success as I seek to grow in this area.

JEREMY - “Thank you” is not a strong enough term to express our appreciation to those of you who are praying for our son Jeremy and his children as they continue to walk through the divorce process. Although we are not at liberty to give you more details, please know that your prayers are extremely important right now for all involved!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Al & Mickey Williams' November Praise Bulletin

AL’S TRIP TO KANSAS CITY - Occasionally, I (Al) have the opportunity to assist other crisis managers / trainers with their programs. My trip to Kansas City (Nov. 7-12) was one of those times and I greatly appreciated your prayers.
I had been invited to be part of the final training segment of the “Fusion” program at Midwestern College. This school year more than 50 students are engaged in one semester of intense preparation for missions service and one semester of overseas assignment in an outreach ministry. Some of the countries where these students will be going are some of the most challenging locations around the world. You can read more about this program by clicking on this link.

The days I spent with the students provided them with the experience of many simulations such as flying into a foreign country, dealing with immigration and customs, having weapons and drugs found in their luggage that were planted by someone else, and being detained for several hours by the police in this foreign country and interrogated several times. 
In another simulation, they found themselves in the middle of a war zone and having to flee through the wooded countryside to an escape point while being hunted by armed soldiers from an invading country (we were using blank ammunition). While fleeing the war, they experienced being captured by a criminal gang and held for ransom and then being held by a terrorist gang with very different motives. This and much more filled those days and very late nights. It is our desire that the lessons they have been taught in dealing with security and crisis events and the experiences of these simulations will serve them well in the days ahead.
Through the various roles I played and the interactions I had with many of these students, I developed a deep appreciation for the dedication, effort, discipline and endurance they demonstrated as they prepared to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to some very difficult places early next year. As they celebrated their well-earned success in completing this training, I said goodbye and told them I will be praying for them as they go and will look forward to hearing more as they set out on their journeys around the world. I know they would appreciate your prayers as well.

OUR FAMILY – Since Jeremy and Jillian’s divorce earlier this year, life changed dramatically for us, for our kids, and for our grandkids. Holidays and family gatherings will never be the same and that makes our hearts ache. Please pray for God to work in all of our hearts - individually and as a family - and draw us closer to Himself. We need His strength, peace and wisdom for the days ahead. 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Al & Mickey Williams' July Praise Bulletin

1.    AL’S TRIP TO THAILAND IN JULY--Those of us who gathered in Bangkok spent four days discussing and planning for the future direction of SIL in Asia. With a much greater emphasis on the involvement of local staff in all aspects of our work and engaging more intently with local organizations who are also focused on the translated Word of God and language development in their countries comes challenges and change in the days ahead. There was very good discussion and we left with a lot of work to do but encouraged as well. I shared a room that week with a colleague from India. We had many good conversations on his perspective of the work in India and how this focus will aid the work there. I always enjoy the opportunity to hear the perspectives of my Asian colleagues as I’ve found there is a lot to learn from them. Please continue to pray as we work to bring practical action to the many items discussed at these meetings. I came away with quite a few tasks to follow up on and new conversations to begin with those in my area of responsibility. I also found that answers to your prayers sometimes come in practical but unexpected ways. On my return trip to the US from Bangkok I had a stopover in Seoul, South Korea. I got on the plane for my flight to Detroit, found my seat and a short time later a flight attendant came to my seat and said, “Mr. Williams, I’m sorry but your ticket has been upgraded to business class. Will you follow me please?” I must say that I was not sorry and truly enjoyed the blessing of being much more comfortable for that 12-hour flight to Detroit. It truly was an answer to your prayers.
2.   VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL IN MARYLAND--Thanks for praying for the VBS in Maryland that we were supposed to be speaking at June 19-23 but couldn’t because of my  (Mickey’s) dizziness. Here’s the report we got from our friends there: "We had a great week at VBS with about 300 children each day. We had 10 children pray for salvation and gave out 20 Bibles.”  Praise God!

1.   SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES--Significant fighting continues in the southern Philippines and has had some impact on our teams' ability to work in the area of the country. Please continue to pray for peace in the Philippines and that the Lord will be glorified in these times of unrest.
2.    JEREMY AND HIS CHILDREN--Please continue to uphold our son Jeremy and his four children (ages 9, 8, 6 and 5) in prayer for:
a.      God’s healing touch emotionally for them and all of our extended family as we’ve all been affected in some way by Jeremy and Jillian’s divorce.
b.     God’s provision of just the right person to buy Jeremy’s house.
c.      God’s provision of a less expensive place for Jeremy to rent.
d.     God’s control over a delicate situation at Jeremy’s job that could affect his financial situation negatively.
MICKEY’S HEALTH--Thanks to each of you who have prayed for me or shown concern through your emails, cards, hugs, etc. On July 13, I learned that our insurance company had approved me to have the special physical therapy (the Epley maneuver) that will, hopefully, relieve my dizziness. I have had two sessions so far. I’d appreciate your prayers for wisdom for the therapist as she works with me (she says I’m a ‘complicated case’). 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Al & Mickey Williams' June Prayer and Praise Bulletin

1.   REMOTE PARTICIPATION IN THE THAILAND MEETINGS – Thank you for your prayers for the Thailand meetings and my (Al’s) participation remotely. The internet connection was very good which was a real answer to prayer as this is often not the case. Though I missed the face-to-face time with the other participants, the two-hour training session and discussion time were very good and set the stage for continuing discussions with them on staff security and planning for contingencies.
2.   NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS – We are deeply grateful to the Lord for the wonderful neighbors we have and how much like family we feel with one another. Many of them know the Lord; but some do not, so we seek to use each opportunity God gives us to show them Christ’s love. I (Mickey) was excited recently to be able to use my nursing background to provide medical help and moral support to the couple who lives next door when they were facing a daunting medical challenge.  And Al and I have been blessed by a neighbor who has taken it upon himself to mow our yard each week, simply because he wants to be a blessing to us.

1. SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES - Pray for safety and peace in the southern Philippines. The President of the Philippines declared martial law because of unrest on the island of Mindanao. Pray for protection for our personnel located there and wisdom for those who are seeking a resolution for this crisis.

2.    JEREMY – Thank you for your prayers for our older son Jeremy and his four children. We’d appreciate your continued prayers for:
a.      God’s healing touch emotionally for all affected by the divorce.
b.     God’s provision of just the right person to buy Jeremy’s house ASAP.
c.      God’s provision of a less expensive place for Jeremy to rent.
d.     God’s control over a delicate situation at Jeremy’s job that could affect his financial situation negatively.
3.    VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL IN MARYLANDSadly, we were not able to participate in the VBS this week in Maryland, because I (Mickey) have been ill. The VBS runs through June 23 at noon, so do pray for the staff (they had 280 kids pre-registered) and that the things taught from God’s Word will continue to impact the lives of the children for years to come.
4.    MICKEY – For more than a week, I’ve been having vertigo and a strong feeling that I was about to lose consciousness. I was admitted to the hospital on June 15 for 24 hours of observation and testing. The good news is that my heart and brain don’t appear to be the cause of the problem. The doctor believes it’s likely an inner ear issue and has suggested I have special physical therapy to treat it. Would you pray with us for healing and also for God’s will regarding my doctor being able to convince the insurance company that they should cover this therapy?

5.    AL’S TRIP TO THAILAND IN JULY -  July 9, I will be leaving for the next set of meetings. These are planned for Bangkok, Thailand and will include most of the key SIL leaders from across Asia. We will be working on direction and planning for the years ahead and how we may best work together to strive for the goals the Lord has given us. These face-to-face times with these SIL leaders are very valuable as I seek to help them deal with the security and crisis management challenges they face. I will very much appreciate your prayers for my travel as well as the others traveling to these meetings and that we will work very well together through these days. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Al & Mickey Williams' May Prayer and Praise Bulletin

1.   MISSIONS CONFERENCE IN MICHIGAN - Thanks for your prayers for Al as he was part of the misisons conference at one of our supporting churches in Michigan in April. God blessed him with safety on the trip, great times interacting with the folks at the church, and even the chance to spend some time with family and friends in other parts of the state.
2.   MORE STAMINA FOR MICKEY – I praise God for the increased stamina He’s given me this past month! For a while (after the bladder tumor surgery), I was needing afternoon naps and feeling run down. Although I still have some periods of fatigue they are fewer than they were. Praise God!
3.   MICKEY’S DAD – Thanks so much to all of you who have asked about my father and prayed for him. He got over his respiratory illness in time to visit his 94 year-old sister the day before she died! He had been too ill to visit her when she was first hospitalized two and a half weeks earlier.  He has also seen some improvement in his hands since the carpal tunnel surgery was done and has been trying to play his guitar again.

1.   REMOTE PARTICIPATION IN THE THAILAND MEETINGS – Al felt it best to cancel his trip to Thailand for the SIL leadership meetings (May 21-26) because of my (Mickey’s) recent health concerns as well as extended family needs (see below). If the folks in Thailand can get a good Internet connection with him, he will make a presentation remotely to the group.
2.   EXTENDED FAMILY NEEDS – Al and I have spent a lot of time during the past two months seeking to help our older son Jeremy as he and Jillian go through the process of divorce. Our hearts ache and we have cried and prayed as we have seen the toll this has taken on him and the kids (ages 9, 8, 6 and 5).
Since Jeremy and Jillian are sharing custody of the children, Al and I are often called in to help Jeremy with childcare. Sometimes we’ve stayed overnight or gone early in the morning to Jeremy’s, so he can get off to work by 4 AM. At other times it’s meant going in the afternoon to get them off the bus or from pre-school because Jeremy was not able to get home in time to do so. Jeremy lives about 45 minutes away from us.
Al has also been helping Jeremy get his house ready to sell by making needed repairs and cleaning carpets. I help in other ways - laundry, cleaning, meals and childcare. Please pray we can all stay healthy physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.  And pray that God would provide a buyer for Jeremy’s house and a place for Jeremy to rent in the same school district (Dillsburg, PA) so the kids won’t have to change schools. 
3.   VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL IN MARYLAND –  Friends of ours invited Al and me to be part of the VBS at their church on June 19 and 20. Please pray for strength physically for us and wisdom to know what to share with the kids that will help them understand what Bible translation is all about and to excite them to the possiblity of them being part of the process as they grow up.  
4.   COUPLES IN CRISIS – Thanks for your continued prayers for these couples we’re seeking to help. Pray they would focus on the Lord and be drawn closer to Him and to each other.  
SUPPORT TEAM – If you would like to make a difference for eternity, we’d love to have you join our team as we work to see God’s Word translated into the heart languages of people in Asia. You have a Bible – probably more than one – but many people around the world do not. How will they hear the good news of Christ or have an opportunity to go to Heaven? If you would like to be part of our team – by praying for us and/or giving financially, please let us know. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Third Trimester Report from Glad Tidings

The final report on our most recent church plant is just in, and it's a real joy! In the past four months, the missionary trained and deploy as a result of contributions made by Millersville Community Church reports 39 new decisions for Christ among the previously unreached people groups of India.

Bill Teate, President of Glad Tidings, notes: "How significant is it that funding given to sponsor church planters is first used to print Bibles? The new believers need the Word of God in order to become grounded in their faith say they can endure any persecution which may come their way. This year we have requests for over 450,000 Bibles.

"Great Bible Truths is a book used by church planters in discipling. It is a computation of Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. The passages of Scripture are preceded by an introductory paragraph and followed by a set of discussion questions for small groups.. It is very effective.

"Pray that as new believers study the Word of God that God will speak to their hearts and that the truths of the Bible will be planted deep within their souls."

Al & Mickey Williams' January Praise Bulletin

Fortieth Anniversary - This January Mickey and I are very thankful to the Lord for the forty years of marriage that He has given us. It has been a great time to think back through all those years and especially remember the good times we have enjoyed together. Many of you have been with us on this journey for all or most of those years and I thought you might enjoy some visual reminders of our family along the way. We praise the Lord for each of you who have encouraged and cared for us through these years. You are great blessings to us and dearly appreciated.
 Family Time – Our family Christmas gathering came in January this year. We very much enjoy having our children and grandchildren together for these gatherings. They don’t happen often, so we enjoy them fully whenever they happen.
Mickey’s Father – We are so thankful that Dad Shertzer continues to enjoy pretty good health, considering he turned 89 in December. He remains very active in the retirement home where he lives and is an avid Scrabble player, if you might be in the area and are looking for a challenging round of this game.
 Security Training – Several times we have asked for your prayers as I (Al) have worked on the Online Personal Security Training package. We are very close to finishing the testing phase and releasing this package for use by Wycliffe and SIL personnel as well as our partners. Thank you for your prayers and I soon hope to be able to tell you that this revision has been finished.

March Travel – I (Al) will be traveling to the Philippines at the beginning of March to participate in orientation of the new SIL leaders in Asia and a gathering of the SIL leaders from Asia and the Pacific regions. In addition to participating in the meetings, I have been asked to organize the security program for these meetings and provide a training session on Safety, Security, and Contingency Preparedness for the New Leaders’ Orientation. I would appreciate your prayers as I prepare to for these upcoming responsibilities.