Mauritius to missions
Emily McCurley | Ships
In 1995 when Doulos
took port in the small island of Mauritius, located about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar, the life of Lisette Williams was changed forever.
“I looked at my friend and said, ‘I’ve been in that place,’” recalls Lisette, referring to the ship. “When I was eight I had a vision of the ship—a dream of it; there were many people from many countries.”
And at that moment, Lisette knew she was exactly where God wanted her to be.
The island of 1.3 million offers a unique blend of the Indian, Chinese, African and English cultures. Not surprisingly, this mix also gives rise to many different religions among the people.
Chinese-Buddhism, many types of Hindu beliefs, Islam, Catholicism and Christianity are all present in the lives of Mauritians, and although raised in a Christian home, Lisette was never really encouraged to leave the island to share Jesus with others.
However, as the then 18-year-old served as a port volunteer with Doulos, she was challenged by an OM crew worker who asked if she had really committed her life to the Lord.
“That really puzzled me, and after the ship left I decided I would like to make a commitment with all my heart,” Lisette says.
With a desire to walk firmly in the Lord, Lisette was baptised and responded to the call to “go” by joining the OM Ships ministry in 1999.
While enduring five years of seasickness, Lisette found her passion in hospitality. Also on board the ship was David Williams, from Northern Ireland, who shared the same heart for hospitality and the Ship Ministry. In 2005, David and Lisette were married.
After two years living in Northern Ireland, followed by two years back on Doulos, the Williams joined OM’s international offices in the UK.
The couple arrived in June 2010 so David could study for an upgrade in his current engineer’s license, which would make him a first engineer upon return to the ship ministry.
Since then, Lisette has served as the team life administrator, doing practical work such as arranging accommodation for team members, planning special events and overseeing day-to-day tasks in the office.
Although she doesn’t spend every day on the street witnessing, Lisette feels that her job at the office isn’t any less significant in its mission.
Instead, she knows that the practical work helps keep the office going and those working around her connected to each other.
“Leaving home has been a challenge for me, but the help of people that God has put into my path has really helped me,” said Lisette. “And being here in Carlisle, that’s how we see our ministry: trying to get alongside people and helping them and making them feel welcome and just getting to know them.”
Lord willing, David and Lisette will rejoin the OM Ship ministry in September 2012, this time aboard Logos Hope.
In all, Lisette takes comfort in Proverbs 3:5-6 and holds to the truths promised.
“When you trust in God—no matter what circumstances you go through in life, you trust Him and you believe in Him, He will direct your path,” explains Lisette. “He will see you through, no matter what. He’ll never leave you. Because He has chosen you, He knows you and He knows your heart.”
Published: Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Credit: Emily McCurley