It is perhaps impossible to offer an account of a man who defies "summing up," but the truth is that one has to try. Morris Williams lived a full life that many felt was cut short by his sudden death on 6 June 1991. Yet he left with the "bang" that characterized his philosophy of life—live at full throttle, seek life's lessons with vigor, accept no compromises to your values.
This collection of writings reflects the scope of his perspective on life. It didn't seem to matter what situation he found himself in—from the formality of serious meetings he chaired while Africa Field Director for the Assemblies of God, to the myriad experiences he had on his travels through dozens of countries, to his life at home with his wife, Macey—he managed to find truths in circumstances large and small.
He loved to write, and this is exactly what he did at every opportunity. He wanted to find the means to make a point in either a humorous or serious way—to communicate his insights and ideas in a manner easily understood by audiences in many parts of the world.
If there is "summing up" to do, it perhaps does justice to the man, the missionary, the father, the husband, the grandfather, to say that the title of this collection of writings is the way we all knew him and the way we all still think of him ... a person who loved good humor and was in pursuit of truth in every avenue of life.
Signed: Robert B. Williams, Virginia "Ginger" Fielder, Barbara R. Kraft, (Morris' Children).
"Morris Williams was a man who could make divine truth explainable, practical, and workable. He knew that God's message for mankind was meant to be lived out in the marketplace. He loved to explain the truths of the Kingdom in the simplest of terms."
Loren Triplett, Executive Director of the Division of Foreign Missions (Pentecostal Evangel, July 28, 1991).
Brother Williams is safe in the arms of Jesus. We reflect upon the years enriched by his spiritual insights, his keen mind, and his deep love for the people of Africa, and we are thankful. Soon after his death, the phrase "Apostle of Partnership" was employed several times in reference to Brother Williams. It is an apt attribute to this great man who was truly a gift to the Church.
The term apostle, in a general sense, refers to a messenger. No one can doubt that Brother Williams came to Africa as a man with a message. That message first and foremost was the message of Jesus. Many times Brother Williams explained the Christian calling to his young, eager missionary charges in this fashion:
Our calling is to Christ. We are called to Him.
Our placement for service is a matter of prayer and submission to His will... but only after we respond positively to the call to Him.
God implanted in the mind and soul of Brother Williams concepts of collaboration and working together which he called partnership. He taught and wrote about it prolifically across Africa. With chalk and eraser in hand, he endeavored to explain it in Bible schools and conferences around the world. We cannot keep from smiling as we think of his circles and arrows covering blackboards as this outstanding teacher transmitted the concepts of partnership which the Spirit of God made to bum in his soul.
Perhaps partnership has not been easily understood or readily accepted in every instance. That does not weaken its importance nor its relevance for this hour. We must still strive after the precepts of partnership-laborers together, fellow workers with Christ and with each other (1 Corinthians 3:9). We must do so with all our hearts.
We Assemblies of God people do not place great importance in monuments. Yet, what a fitting memorial to this spiritual statesman if we, one and all, could consecrate ourselves anew to increased efforts toward genuine, dynamic partnership across Africa. What a glad day of rejoicing when the national church entities of Africa and the missionary fellowships attain true biblical partnership with the Lord of the Harvest. Now is the time to announce loudly across Africa: WE ARE ONE IN THE BOND OF LOVE!
We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Brother Morris Williams, the Apostle of Partnership.
"It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4:11).
(© 1991 Harvest Messenger,)