India (MNN) — Neena Williams thought she had reached the end of her ministry. But then she encountered Haggai Institute. Her school with four small graduating classes grew to five schools and education ministry to slum children.
Williams says of Mount Carmel, “I started a school in 1972 and it was with 12 children.”
By the end of the next school year, Williams was teaching 25 children, and the numbers continued to grow.
“That’s when it struck me that after having had these kids for two or three years and what I was able to teach them, I said, ‘Here is something that can continue until they finish high school, and that would be a great impact for the Lord,'” Williams says.
Williams’ husband soon joined her in running the school, resigning from his job in the Air Force and bringing in logistical help for running the schools.
By 1985, and one class at a time, Williams says the school had grown to grade 12.
“Meanwhile, we applied for land, and that is another miracle that we got prime land in the heart of the city,” she says. They paid 12,000 rupees, or just under $200, for 2 acres of land.
There’s always room to grow
By 1986, Williams thought the school had reached its full potential. Then she attended classes at Haggai Institute in 1990.
“That’s where I realized this was not the end of the ministry,” says Williams. “The ministry was, the vision was, that these children grow in their physical stature, in their mental capacities, and in favor with God and man just like the Lord Jesus did in Luke 2:52.”
That was the starting place for more growth, says Williams. “It had a great impact on me. Basically, the subjects which really touched me and really changed me–transformed me–was Goal Setting, of course. And then there was Effective Communication.” Williams was able to learn communication skills that combatted her fear of talking to adults. In addition, Williams was encouraged by the subject of “Christian Leadership.”
The ripple effects of training with Haggai
Pretty soon the Williams realized it was not enough to have just one school. They prayed about it. Now they have five schools with 500 teaching staff and 300 supporting staff.
And all of the schools support the vision to share the Gospel with those who are lost.
“Our constitution gives us the guarantee–Article 25-30–to the minorities to establish educational institutions to propagate their own beliefs with freedom and without fear. And so we are able to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ,” Williams says.
Mount Carmel says they make it clear to the parents and students that the school is based on the Bible. Even so, many parents who don’t believe in the Bible think it’s a small price to pay for the excellent education their children will receive.
“90% of my students and 60% of my teachers are from other faiths. I have never encountered any problems. Firstly, in India there’s a great respect for God and a great respect for Christian education because they feel the best education is given by the Christians,” Williams says.
“The ministry is to all of them–the children, the teachers, the workers, the parents. And it’s an amazing ministry because the Lord has given us so much credibility in the city. And He has established us and established our name, and we are among the leading schools in the city.”
The work continues
Thinking her ministry was over nearly 30 years ago, now her entire perspective for potential has been changed.
“I’m 73 now, but I think I can go on and start another one also because really it’s an amazing work for the Lord,” says Williams. “The children are so receptive, my teachers are so receptive, and it’s the Lord’s work. That’s all I can say.”
More recently, the Williams have started educating children from the slums. These are children who have never been to school and never will go to school unless someone helps them out. Now they serve about 250 kids with additional staff. The children are taught in English and are trained in practical skills. Williams says they encourage the children who are mostly girls to go home and teach their parents what they’ve learned. The hope is that training and education will empower women to fight some of the atrocities they are often subject to.
Haggai equips leaders with the tools and information to impact their world. Williams explains that it is very important that national leaders are taught these things because outsiders are often not welcome to work in ministry. So it’s helpful if leaders can do something powerful right at home.
“If we have to preach Christ in a way that is relevant to our society and our way, then I think it is we ourselves who can do it,” Williams says.
Why you should help
Haggai enables people with the vision to win people for God’s Kingdom to learn valuable skills. And they’re able to do this due to the financial gifts of partners like you.
Williams shares reasons why you should help that might surprise you.
“To have trained me to have done this, I think that’s a great work. And let me tell you one thing more. I took it as a steward.
“I was so touched that someone invested, at that time, $9,000 to train me. And I said, ‘I am a debtor, and I’m going to pay that back.’ And that’s when I started my ministry with Haggai Institute.”
Williams paid back the amount spent on her and continued to volunteer for training at the institute. She says Haggai taught her to be generous. You can be generous to someone in need as well. Click here for more information.
She asks for your help in another area as well: “Please pray because every day we preach the Gospel.”