I hope you will find this new addition to my blog as enjoyable and inspiring as it has already been to me in preparing it. God has brought so many beautiful women into my life who have each brought enrichment through friendships, encouragement, insight, inspiration, and just plain love. As I introduce some of these special ladies, you too will see their God-given
"Beauty Without & Within."
Jean Anne Williams
I met Jean Anne when she and her husband joined us on staff at the First Baptist Church in Bastrop, La. as Minister of Education in 1977. We became immediate friends. And although they only lived in Bastrop for two years, we have maintained a very close and intimate friendship. And one I treasure.
For several years before and after they moved to Shreveport, our families spent New Years together. This may have been the only time we saw each other during the year prior to our joining them in Shreveport in 2002, but we always looked forward to this special time of catching up, eating Dick's gumbo and Jean Anne's many deserts while watching football and working jigsaw puzzles.
We also have other wonderful memories including our Alaskan Cruise together in 2000.
There is something very special about Jean Anne. Whether you are initially attracted to her beautiful and warm smile, her sweet and sincere personality, or the engaging way she expresses interest in you, you are captivated and want to know more about this person.
So, let me tell you a little about her.
She is married to Dr. Larry Williams, who since leaving Bastrop in 1979, has served as Minister of Education and now Minister to Senior Adults at Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport.
They are the proud parents of two lovely daughters, Amy and Anne and five wonderful grandchildren, all of whom live nearby.
Jean Anne is an excellent cook and enjoys trying new recipes in her bright and cheery kitchen. She also delights in sharing her prepared dishes with folks who just need to know someone cares. And she does!
She loves to read and now that she is retired, she is especially enjoying catching up on all the books she has collected by her favorite author, Karen Kingsbury.
But, Jean Anne's favorite pass time, other than spending time with her family, is scrape-booking. She has been recording family memories in scrapbooks for many years. Below is a box full of 2013 events and happenings so far.
I asked her what her favorite possession(s) was, and I got two very interesting answers.
Jean Anne just recently acquired this trophy from her father, age 92, which dates back to 1940. The story is, in the little rural Oklahoma town in which her dad grew up, the only pass time for this tall athletic boy and his brothers was basketball. In 1940, he played on the small High School basketball team that won the State Title, and this is his trophy from that memorable event.
Jean Anne said that her dad shared some very interesting stories with her recently about that time. After graduating from High School, he was given a Basketball Scholarship to play at one of the large Oklahoma Universities. After playing one year, he left school because "He just didn't feel right about being paid to play basketball when his two older brothers were serving in the military." He continued to play basketball on local teams however, winning various trophies until 1973.
What a treasure trove of memories!
Her other favorite item really didn't surprise me because I have been aware of this item and its significance for many years.
As you will see, service is the most important part of Jean Anne's life. And it is something she and Larry continue to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
Jean Anne served on the staff of Broadmoor Baptist Church for 30 years, 1983 - 2013; 15 of those years as teacher of the 3-year old class and also teaching music two days a week in the church's Week Day Preschool. Then, she served as Director for 15 years. Under her leadership, the school grew and enlarged services to the families of the children enrolled. Although she retired in May of this year, she is still involved by volunteering to help as needed.
During this time, she also sold Premier Jewelry for 12 years. She taught a Sunday School class, worked with Children's Choirs and continues to sing in the Adult Choir. Yes, she has been a very busy lady.
Currently, she and Larry personally minister to the widows of their church. They have organized the group called, "Circle of Love & Hope." They meet once a week for Bible study, special interest programs, eating out, and craft projects that they share with local non-profit organizations. They enjoy taking trips to interesting locations where they will also be involved in some type mission project.
But, perhaps the greatest avenue of service has been in mission trips to Mexico and their on-going ministry to pastors and leaders in the South Central part of the country. They have teamed up with the Mexican Indian Training Center (MITC) in Cordoba to help support the work of the local pastors and churches while also meeting the medical needs of the people.
Larry and Jean Anne began their Mexico ministry along with members of their church, in the early 1980's. She has been going on these annual mission trips every year with the exception of perhaps seven of those years.
One of the things about Jean Anne is she is willing to serve where ever she is needed most. Her responsibilities on these trips through the years has been varied and include painting, cooking, assisting the medical teams, and most recently serving as "pharmacist." But, knowing this gal as I do, I know that her main ministry is to love on, encourage, befriend, and show the love of Jesus to these people.
She and Larry have passed the love for this ministry to their girls and now their oldest grandson.
I asked Jean Anne this question, although I already knew the answer:
"What is most important to you?"
"My Christian faith and the strength I gain from that. Of course my family is very important, and my church because this is where I serve and the majority of my friends are there, but, yes, I would have to say my faith is the most important thing to me."
This large painting done particularly for Larry, hangs in their home and epitomizes the lives of both Larry and Jean Anne.
May I paraphrase and say that it has been a joy to know and love this Godly lady who is truly
Beautiful Without & Within.