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Ministry Founder, Rev. Dr. J.L. Williams

CEO Joseph Williams shares about the heaven-going of his father, and this ministry’s founder, Dr. J.L. Williams, and about the upcoming months of ministry, including the 50th anniversary of Feed the Hunger.

The Rev. Dr. Joseph Louis “J.L.” Williams, 74, died December 28, 2016 at Alamance Regional Medical Center.

He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on December 31, 1941 to the late Rev. Clarence Edward Williams and the late Edith Crouse Williams. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia “Patt” Joynt Williams.

J.L.’s family heritage was rich in the church and in missions. He lived life to the fullest and gave himself to serving the Lord with reckless abandon. His spare time was spent with his kids and grandkids doing gardening, yardwork, woodworking, pond work—basically anything out of the house.

He often quoted John Wesley, who said we should be ready to “preach, pray, or die at a moment’s notice.” And he told his family for years, “Do not mourn my death. I will never be more alive!” J.L. is certainly alive with the Lord forever.

Upon graduating pre-med from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, J.L. received his Master’s at Duke University Divinity School in comparative world religions, and his Doctor of Theology from Luther Rice Seminary in contemporary counter-Christian cults.

After he and Patt moved to Burlington to work with youth through the YMCA, J.L. founded The New Directions, an interracial singing group that ministered all over the US and overseas through the 1980s.

As the ministry transitioned to full-time mission work in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, J.L.’s passion was to pour himself into cross-cultural partnerships, to equip strategic Christian leaders with practical and spiritual tools to reach the unreached for Christ. Whether it was preaching, teaching, writing, mentoring, agricultural projects, self-support initiatives, helping orphanages, etc., J.L. was absolutely relentless in serving Christ by serving others.

Survivors, in addition to his wife, include his daughter Patricia “Trish” Williams Glover, husband Joe, and children Victoria, Jack, Emily Elizabeth, and Rebekah; daughter April Williams Atkins, husband Mark, and children Matthew and Emma; son Joseph Williams, wife Susannah, and children Nathanael and Abigail; son Jonathan Williams, wife Julie, and children Luke, Owen, and Joy Yael. He is also survived by his siblings, Ed Williams and wife Becky, Hannah Thompson and husband Keith, and Judy Baer and husband Charlie, as well as scores of extended family members. He was predeceased by a sister, Barbara Williams Miketta.

Click here to view Dr. J.L.'s celebration of life service

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