We are almost ready to leave!

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

Calendar
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.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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…

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

SAM_2019.jpg

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

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.

IMG_5179

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!

Organisms&BSF

Leave a comment

Filed under Clean Water, Uncategorized

“It’s more blessed to give…”

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

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:

COCWS
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!

Leave a comment

Filed under funding for missions, mission prep, Mission Work

Reproducibility

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under mission prep, Mission Work

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?
SAMSUNG CSC

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.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

We don’t do handouts.

It was a bit shocking the other day, to hear another missionary telling a church, “We don’t do handouts!” Shocking, but absolutely spot-on.

Christ said, “The truth shall set you free.” Handouts, on the contrary, lead to dependency, not freedom. So we don’t do handouts.

SAMSUNG CSC

Building a bottle-brick cistern in Monduli Juu

We empower people. We teach them how to use the gifts God gave them, to improve their lives and free them and their children. If we help them learn to read, they can then learn to be free from AIDS, or a fear of AIDS. When they build their own water collection system, and their own water filter, it frees them from disease and from trudging miles to a dirty pond for water. They can raise healthier animals and better gardens, and make a better life for their family.We empower them by working with them to use the resources they already have.

If we gave them water filters, we might have a moment’s contact, from a benefactor to a supplicant. That’s not a good relationship for either person. The real need is not for filters or tanks, but for learning, and learning is a two-way street. When we work together to build a filter or a bottle-brick cistern, we all learn, we all have something to offer, and we all build relationships. When we have finished, the people who have built the filter or the tank or have learned to read can go back to their home and teach their neighbors to do the same.

We have certain principles which we use as a measuring stick, a canon in the classical sense, for choosing the work we will do in the community. This is the first: Can local people do this with materials they have or can afford? Put another way, will they need something from elsewhere (America, for example) or money from elsewhere in order to do this again? The answer must be that they can do this with their own resources, or it is not a worthy offering to them. Each thing we do must free them from being dependent; must enable them to help themselves and their neighbors.

Leave a comment

Filed under mission prep, Mission Work

Living on Solar Power: More About Our Future House in Tanzania

If you looked closely at the pictures of our rented house in Monduli Juu, you may have noticed that there’s a solar panel on the roof and a power line tied in on the front porch.

The house is on the electrical grid. However, with power available as little as 4 hours a day, that doesn’t help much. We expect that we will depend largely on solar power.

Our impromptu system: One panel, a car battery, a controller and an inverter.

Our impromptu system: One panel, a car battery, a controller and an inverter.

We experimented with this a bit while we were in Tanzania this year. Lewis Short had a working battery, and we purchased a solar panel and the associated parts. The panel provides 12 volt power any time the sun is shining. The controller manages the power loads so the panel can’t overcharge the battery and the inverter can’t completely drain the battery. The inverter converts the 12 volt DC power into 220 volt power. The extension cord runs through the bedroom window. It was enough to provide power for my CPAP and for charging our electronic devices.

This system costs about $150 (plus the cost of the battery). We will need a system about ten times as large as this, to run our appliances and electric lights. The good news is that we can purchase all the parts (except a 110 volt inverter, just in case) locally, supporting local businesses.

Just south of the equator, and at an altitude similar to Denver, we get lots of sun! In fact, we have to be careful to wear a hat when we’re outside, pretty much all the time.  Solar power is a smart way to go.

It’s especially smart when you consider this story from the BBC, explaining that Tanzania has just shut down all of its hydro-electric power plants, because of a shortage of water. The already tenuous power supply is now further reduced.

That water shortage has much more serious repercussions. If there isn’t enough water to run the turbines, there certainly isn’t enough water for people, or for their animals or their farms & gardens. So while we are installing a solar system for our own needs, we’re looking for ways to help our neighbors meet their need for clean water.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Repost: From African Christian Ministries

This was posted by our friend Lori Covington. You can see why we are so committed to projects to provide clean water.

http://africanchristianministries.org/2015/09/saying-yes/

poor-5

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized