We should sleep well tonight!


We had our fundraiser/going away dinner/silent auction tonight! We had a good turnout (almost 90) and sold quite a bit of stuff. We don’t know how much was donated… we will receive that total sometime next week. I know that we had already received about $2000 before the dinner.

Many family members came, and afterward they sang, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You.”

Very tired, but feeling very blessed!


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Two weeks to go!


It’s easy to say, but “keep calm” is hard to do sometime.

We praise God that this time, our transition time hasn’t been plagued with issues, as it was last year. Things have been very, very busy, but we don’t feel like Satan is throwing something in our way every day or so. Pray for us that this continues. We are terribly busy, we don’t need frustrations to go along with the busy part.

We have the container nearly ready to go.  Since we have room, we’re packaging up some additional stuff that we weren’t able to get rid of (and we think would be useful), to go into the container.

Our big fundraiser (hosted by White Station church of Christ) is this coming Saturday evening. If you’re coming, we will be very happy to see you. If you can’t come, feel free to bid on the items in our Silent Auction. You can see it all online, and you can bid online as well. The form is at the bottom of the page.

After that, it’s just a matter of wrapping things up here, and getting ourselves ready to go.

Exciting times!


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Only one month left!


The picture says it all! Right now, we’re focused on getting on an aircraft in one month.

If you want to help, there are several things you can do.

  • Pray for us. Seriously. We really need your prayers. Satan often makes life difficult for people who are doing God’s will.
  • Come to our Fundraiser/Going Away dinner on September 24th. If you plan to come, please RSVP at our church office by phone (901-761-2007) or email
  • Even if you can’t come, you can bid on items in our Silent Auction
  • If you’re in the Memphis area, come help us for part of a day. You might end up mowing lawns or installing windows, or carrying off boxes of stuff.
  • If you know someone who has a loading dock in Memphis we could use for a weekend,  please let me know. And maybe a frame for hauling a 20-foot container. And a highway tractor…
  • And remember: pray for us.

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We are almost ready to leave!

Last week, we purchased our tickets for our flight to Tanzania. We fly on October 4th.

We’re travelling on Qatar Airlines: Memphis to Miami, then Miami to Doha, Qatar, where we spend the night. Then we fly from Doha to Mt. Kilimanjaro, with a tech stop in Zanzibar.

The Global Missions team has scheduled a fundraiser for Sept. 24th, just a week and a half before we leave. We expect to have a silent auction, as part of that fundraiser. Twyla and I will be selling some of our own artwork, as well as some pieces which were donated and some artwork from Africa.

In the meantime, we have SO MUCH to do. It’s going to be a very busy two months.

Before we leave, we hope to visit with many friends and churches who have been interested in our work in Africa. So watch our facebook posts and our blog posts to see if we’re near you. If you would like us to see you, send us a message on Facebook, or email me at ralphwwilliams@gmail.com.



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Connecting Memphis Report

R&T by Cindy.jpg

We were recently interviewed for an article on Connecting Memphis (interview and photo above by Cindy McMillian). This interview focuses largely on the biosand water filters we hope to build in Tanzania. We’re delighted with the coverage. Please click and “like,” and take a look at some of the other stories shared on this site. Good stuff…

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Please Pray for Cy Stafford

When we were in Tanzania this last summer, we enjoyed getting to know Cy and Stephanie Stafford. Cy is the director of the Andrew Connelly School of Preaching.

Cy and Stephanie

We just received word via Facebook that Cy is not expected to make it through the day. I wasn’t aware that he was ill, but apparently he is fighting leukemia. Please continue to pray for him, his wife, Stephanie, and their family.

Here’s what another African missionary had to say about him. 

We were involved with Cy on a project for the school, installing a rainwater collection system, and building a large steel tank to store water. Cy was willing to let me experiment on the construction of this tank, to see how well it would work.

While I was  building the truss for the roof of the tank, Cy came by and pointed out that I had welded the truss around one of the supports for the school’s porch! We had a good laugh, and Cy got a picture of me with my mistake.


Later, when I injured myself (through my own foolishness), Cy and Stephanie got me cleaned up and arranged for someone to take us to the clinic in Monduli. They also have provided transportation to the airport at least twice, and that’s a big deal!

We have come to love and appreciate Cy and Stephanie, and we want to lift them up before God’s people. Please pray for them, that Cy may be healed. And pray for Stephanie and the family, especially if he is taken from them.

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Exciting New Developments

We’re excited about two developments regarding Biosand Water Filters!

First, we have  a Metal Fabrication class which is building a metal form, for pouring the filter vessels! This form will be invaluable when we get to Tanzania. We will use it first to make filters, and then–more importantly, we will show it to our local “metal fundi” so he can build more, just like it! It really helps to see what  the finished product looks like, and how it works. Here’s what one of these forms looks like.


We also have just found a set of plans for making one of these forms out of plywood! We found this online, at ohorizons.org.  I’m fairly handy with wood, so by next week, we hope to have one of these built. We suspect these may not last as long as the metal forms, but the cost is much lower and the technology is much easier. wood mold production

Either of these forms makes a concrete vessel for a water filter that will produce as much as 36 gallons of clean water per day! The science behind these filters is very interesting. In nature, water is purified by flowing through sand and gravel and by exposure to the sun. This system, developed by a scientist at the University of Calgary, removes up to 99% of all pathogens from dirty water!


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“It’s more blessed to give…”



Missionaries will generally tell you that fundraising is the thing they like least about this occupation. Joe Cannon (a close friend and missionary mentor) was quick to remind us that, according to Christ, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

We have been blessed to be able to give, and now we are being blessed by those who give. Our hearts have been warmed by many friends and co-workers who have given to support our work. We are truly grateful and gratified that so many are interested in helping.

Many people have asked us if there is a way to donate to Williams Tanzania Mission online. We have just published a FundRazr page, which works with Paypal to accept online donations. Money donated on this page will be placed in a special account for our one-time costs involved in getting set up in Tanzania.

Our sponsoring church is the Church of Christ at White Station (COCWS). If you need a receipt for tax purposes, you should mail your check to the church with the memo “Williams Tanzania Mission.” Mail your check to:

1106 Colonial Road
Memphis, TN 38117

On the header bar, you will notice a new tab: Give. That tab has all the information for giving either by check or on-line. Please feel free to share that with all your friends. Really. Please Share.

In addition, we have been working diligently to establish a 501c3, and have been making some progress this week. Our non-profit (Sustain Ability) will allow us to pursue grants and donations from corporations, who generally are not allowed tax deductions for money given to churches.

Please continue to pray for us, that we will be able to raise the money we need, and that the Lord will do mighty works through our lives. Bless you all!

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After a presentation last month, a friend who had traveled to  Africa told us about all the wasted money and effort he had seen, with projects that died as soon as the Americans were gone, or couldn’t survive without constant support from overseas. We hope our story is different.

Reproducibility is one of the main principles we’re working with. We want to empower local people to repeat what we’ve been doing without our aid. Our work can be duplicated and multiplied without outside assistance.

Solar Power system

Albert learned how to thread pipe (and other plumbing skills) while we were putting together Lewis & Tammy’s rainwater collection system.

This works at several different levels. At its simplest, it means we teach people. The key component of rainwater harvesting and biosand filters is that we are teaching, rather than doing. We show people what to do and we hand them the tools.

In order to be repeatable, we must use tools and materials that are available to local people. That’s been a bit of a learning curve for us, because sometimes the tools and materials we prefer aren’t available, or are terribly expensive. We spent a lot of time looking for a line level and chalk line before discovering that local carpenters use a water level (a hose full of water). I’d rather use a line level, but water levels are easy to make.  Water levels are reproducible, so that’s what we will be using. 670px-Use-a-Water-Level-Step-8-Version-3

This is especially true for our Bible teaching. We’ve been blessed with a whole lot of Bible study tools and skills that aren’t locally available. It’s nice to be able to read in the original language and look things up in your favorite commentary, but those tools just aren’t available to most people (even in North America). We were very impressed with Discovery Bible Study, which is a system of teaching that is repeatable even in an environment where many people cannot read in their own language. It doesn’t depend on people with outside resources or a lot of education.

This isn’t a new idea. I am reminded of my childhood among the Cree nation. Having been exposed to a lot of teaching that relied on some commentary or church father, the church on the reservation insisted that Bible teaching be done using only the Bible; no other sources were allowed. That wasn’t Dad’s rule, it was theirs, but it was a good rule. They could follow the lesson (and teach it again) using resources they already had. 

Our work for the Lord should live on after we are gone. The things we do must be reproducible, so the people we teach can teach others using their own resources.

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RISE: Trying to be effective in the Lord’s work

We keep reading about huge projects that cost amazing amounts of money, and fail to achieve their goal.
That’s not the story we want told about our part in the Lord’s work in Tanzania. We want people to “see our good works and give glory to God” long after we are finished.

Here’s our “filter” for choosing projects. The acronym is “RISE”.

  • Repeatable: Can local people repeat this without our aid?
  • Indigenous: Does it use only materials and skills available to local people?
  • Sustainable: Can this effort be sustained in the local environment, without resources from outside?
  • Evangelistic: Does this effort provide quality time with local people so we can share the gospel?

We have found that Bottle Brick construction of a rainwater cistern gives us a lot of time to build relationships and talk about the Gospel!

Like any good filter, the most important element is the last. Our goal is evangelism; as God’s people we also seek to bless those around us. We are trying to follow Christ’s example of doing good, preaching and teaching.


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