The Lord Jesus Christ has been exceedingly gracious and merciful to me in my life. I am thankful for all the blessings He has bestowed, from my home background and on to the work He has allowed me to do in Africa today.
I was raised in a church-going Christian home by loving parents. Around 10 years old, the Lord opened my eyes to my sinfulness and need of salvation. Through the witness of a Sunday school teacher, I understood that I could come to Jesus and seek forgiveness and salvation in Him, which I did. Immediately, a hunger for the Word developed and I began to read my Bible and pray daily, seeking to learn what I was supposed to do now that I was a child of God.
In my later teens, I sensed a call to the gospel ministry, which was encouraged and confirmed by my church, First Baptist Church of Sumrall, Mississippi. One of the many good things I received from that church was an emphasis on consecutive, expositional study of the Old and New Testaments.
Four very pivotal things happened in the next few years. First, I came to understand the Biblical teaching of Lordship salvation, whereas before I had been confused by so many claiming to know Jesus but not living for Him. John MacArthur’s The Gospel According to Jesus made a great impact on me at that time. Secondly, early in college, I came to understand and embrace the doctrines of grace and Reformed theology. This opened up the glory and beauty of the Scriptures like never before!
Next, I met and married my beloved wife Megan, who has had a profound influence on who I am to this day, as much as any theology book ever could have! She and I have been married 18 years this January, and have 6 children.
Finally, as newlyweds, my wife and I came into contact with the Reformed Baptist Church in Louisville. This church has been an indescribably precious blessing to both our lives. Jim Savastio was my mentor and teacher as I studied for the ministry. The church sent me out to Montana for four years of pastoral service there, and then I returned to serve the church as a pastor for another five years. We miss our friends back in Louisville very much!
In January 2010, RBC Louisville sent me as a missionary to Zambia. My primary role is to train men for the ministry, teaching classes and coordinating visiting lecturers from various sister churches around the world. My wife also oversees an orphan ministry here in Lusaka, the capital. It has been a challenging, thrilling, humbling, and overwhelming experience to do this work. The Lord has graciously blessed and multiplied it, and we have seen churches planted and faithful men equipped and sent out to minister.
Reformed Baptist Seminary has helped me in this work by providing excellent courses in various disciplines of theological study whereby I could prepare myself to “teach others also” (2 Tim 2:2). Further, through my work on the thesis, I was able to turn my attention to the task of ministerial training I am currently engaged in. Thus, my studies enhanced my work directly, rather than distracting me from it. As well, the seminary supports our education of local pastors here, providing their seal of approval to the undergraduate work of our students. We are very thankful for this partnership with RBS. And as a student, I’ve been thankful for the patience shown to me as a busy minister trying to finish my education, and the helpful guidance and insight that the Dean has provided along the way through e-mails and evaluations of the work I submitted.
I bless God for the gift of salvation in Christ, for the privilege of the work of the ministry, and for the blessing of Christian brethren around the world who have contributed in various ways to the Lord’s work here in Zambia.
~ James Williamson