Illness leads BR woman  to find life purpose

Illness leads BR woman to find life purpose

LaToya Williams
LaToya Williams

Walking pneumonia helped LaToya Williams stop running – from God.

“I got to the point where it was just me and the bed,” she said. “I could barely get up.”

Her serious bout with pneumonia two years ago, Williams said, “was a period of me talking to God and God talking back to me.”

During those conversations, Williams promised to give her life back to Christ.

“I wanted to keep my word to him and stop running from him,” said Williams, a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. “We all have spiritual gifts, and we’re all here for a reason. And I got tired of running away from what God put me here for. That’s why I did a lot of soul searching, and I went back to church and got into the Word, so I could get an understanding of my purpose.”

Williams, 28, has identified one of her purposes as giving back to the community, helping people who have been knocked down by some tough circumstances in life.

Williams has certainly been there.

She had to go back to school to earn her GED and high school diploma. She was once homeless in California before moving back to her native Baton Rouge in 2005.

“I said I would let my life be an example and let my life be a testimony to other people and let them see that no matter how low you get or how many times you fall in life, God can pick you up and still use you,” she said.

Williams is willing to share her testimony and more as part of the I Am My Brother’s Keeper fundraiser to help people with HIV/AIDS. The event is set from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Baton Rouge Marriott, 5500 Hilton Ave.

The fundraiser will help Lean on Me, a nonprofit organization that fights homelessness, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS and other issues in the Baton Rouge area. It will feature gospel music, speakers, performances and prizes.

“It’s something where people can come out and enjoy themselves in this event, instead of being at a health fair where people are preachy to you,” Williams said. “You can come out, take part in all the services and you can leave knowing that you were empowered and know that you gave back to a worthy cause.”

Williams said faith is essential to overcoming such problems as drug addictions or even living with HIV or AIDS, “because ultimately God is the only one who is going to be there for you whether you’re sick or whether you’re healthy. God will never turn his back on you.”

Williams said she picked the HIV/AIDS cause after reading about the high rate of cases in the Baton Rouge area.

“People in Baton Rouge don’t want to talk about this,” she said.

Talking about it is just a start for Williams.

“I know I can’t change the world, but I would like every year to focus on a different cause or different topic to bring awareness to it,” she said. “I just want to know that when my time is up here and I meet face to face with God, I could at least say I tried to carry out the mission that you put me here for.”

For more information on the event, call Williams at (225) 377-7007 or Lean on Me at (225) 226-8399.

Chosen Generation camp

An essential aspect of the Chosen Generation 2012 summer camp will be its emphasis on spiritual learning, facilitator Felicia Williams said.

In addition to extracurricular activities and classes on Reading Comprehension Skills and Basic Mathematics, the camp will feature Bible stories, prayer, and morning praise and worship assemblies.

“It’s getting the Word of God in them and getting their day off to a good start,” Williams said. “I think it’s important for us to religiously educate our children. A lot of them attend church but don’t see anything that is related to God or religion outside the church. When they start to do these things outside the church, I think it gives them a more well-rounded idea of what Christianity is about… that you take God with you everywhere you go.”

The camp is set for 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays from June 4 to July 27 at the Pete Purvis Recreational Center, 2800 Nairn Drive, near Perkins Road. It is for ages 3-14.

“We wanted to provide a camp that was not going to be too expensive for families that otherwise have to leave their kids at home or leave them with grandparents where they’re kind of hanging out all summer and doing nothing. We wanted to provide an environment for children to learn,” said Williams, who has worked as a teacher, run a child-care center and works in the youth department at First Emmanuel Baptist Church.

For more information on the camp, call (225) 308-1641 or go to http://www.cgco
summercamp.info/.

Model teaching

The New Testament book 1 Thessalonians comes alive in the eye-opening new book by Kenneth E. Terry titled “A Model for All Believers: An Expositional Commentary on 1 Thessalonians” (West Bow Press).

Terry shares not only valuable comments as he breaks down some keys passages in 1 Thessalonians, but Terry also includes how other well-known preachers have used the text. Some of those preachers include Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards.

Terry says the epistle of 1 Thessalonians was written by the Apostle Paul to offer hope to the young believers.

“The hope that Paul gave the church at Thessalonica is the same hope that believers in the (21st) century need; it is the hope of the wonderful future at the coming of the Lord Jesus,” Terry writes.

The “model” is carried throughout the 12 chapters of Terry’s book, including the “The Model Life of Brotherly Love” in Chapter 13.

Expounding on I Thessalonians 4:9-12, Terry writes, “Brotherly love is the glue that holds the body of Christ together. This love makes the church different from any other organization on planet earth … They were making an impact on the world by expressing such love toward one another in the Christian community at large. Paul wanted them to increase what they had. They were being taught brotherly love by God; what they had was good, but Paul saw they needed to increase in that love.”

Other chapters in the 187-page book include “The Model Church,” “The Model Servant/Preacher” and “The Model Conversion.”

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com.