Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sister Gayle Williams, Martyred

Our sister, Gayle Williams, was martyred in Kabul, Afghanistan yesterday by two Taliban gunmen who accused her of spreading Christian propaganda.  The attack will likely further discourage humanitarian activities in Afghanistan where Taliban insurgents are increasingly targeting aid workers.

Gayle's life and death are testimonies of glory that give witness to how far God's love will go in his attempts to reach the lost with his life-giving love and work of redemption made available to all through Christ. May the Lord shine his light increasingly to that wartorn area through Gayle's story and the lives of others still there.  And may kingdom seekers around the world be stirred by her testimony to live a life that matters.  


Anonymous said...

My heart is heavy laden in this loss - as your friend and as a member of Christ's body. I did not know her, but you had mentioned her in passing. Let us know any other details that develop in this story or any particulars about her mission before her martyrdom. Wow ! What a glorious way to go. I do not read tragedy into this. No way doing His will can be anything but glorious, "whether in life or by death." Bob H

Anonymous said...

Gayle “tree” Williams

A photograph flashes in my mind when I think of Gayle and 7 cousins sitting around a picnic table on the banks of the Kariba Lake ranging in height and age all discussing how many fish we each planned to catch and the art of threading a mud worm onto a hook, as parents busied themselves with making sure sunscreen and hats where all on, no-one thought that one day we would all be on different corners of the world.

As we all grew up Gayle’s Mom always spoilt me as the son she never had. It was Gayle that started horse riding at a young age in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and got me hooked on what was to become my passion and later become my service back to society by training policemen to ride. I always remember that first ride. Gayle got a pony called Bronwynn (a grey Shetland) that loved ducking under fences and leaving her jockey behind. Gayle used to hate getting this pony but she hung in and mastered the ability of ducking. How many afternoons did we get yelled at as my mad passion for horses and show jumping had all the children skipping around the garden jumping the flowers as if we where horses!

At this time memories like Gayle Tamsyn (her middle name) Williams begin to flash back when she now did not like her middle name anymore and wanted to be called Gayle “tree” Williams. No matter how much her mom told her Tamsyn was a wonderful name “tree” seemed to stick!

Years later after immigrating to the UK, Gayle, Karen (her sister) and her mom came back to live with us in South Africa. I clearly remember this tall skinny athletic girl running me backwards and forwards across a tennis court with the ability to hit any ball from any man. For pocket money she came to work for my as a bar lady in the hotel night club and always had that smile that was Gayle. She was very into aerobics and went onto study in the field of sports and bio kinetics and was always competitive, latter getting into mountain biking.

Years later she returned to the UK and went off to the East again (Pakistan and Afghanistan) to do charity work. There was trouble and she managed to get out safely after a long hike through the mountains and across borders with women and children in tow! I am glad her fitness paid off. I remember after I had returned from 4 years in Africa as an expat, having escaped some close calls in different dark corners of the continent, how we had a heated debate about the existence of God and if he had turned his back on some areas. I said, “God had got fat and lazy and couldn’t see over his tummy the continents of Africa and Asia that feel into shadow under him and so ignored those areas!” – always looking for an argument, Gayle was not swayed and never took the bait, she never deemed to judge you or convert you, so claims of proselytisation are nonsense! She simply held her ground and was humble in her beliefs.

A little over 2 and bit years ago I was flying around the world on business and bumped into Gayle & her Mom in London and heard she had decided her true calling was to go back to Afghanistan and help the disabled via a charity organisation. When you speak too many of the family they will all tell you we thought she was much bigger then any of us. Often people look to the easy route with offers of – do something locally – do something in your own back yard – build a career and give a donation if you want to do some good - why go all that way when it’s not safe?

Gayle was due to return home for Christmas and I was eager to debate the book I had written about “Faithmentalism” and the holes in the catholic and Islam thinking around marketing and their use of media when it benefits them. It would have been a debate of note!

Gayle sense of adventure and calling to help out a group of people whom she held no malice and no judgement of their religious choices or lifestyle but simply to offer her time, her love and her skill was the greater force in her life. A selfless soul who didn’t deserve to be used as a cheap PR move that does nothing for anyone today. I truly hope that Gayle will find peace wherever that may be and that she will not be forgotten when the press dies down. What angers me most is that Islam does not preach killing, only fundamentalists interpret this for their own selfishness!

Beliefs & Doctrine of Christianity & Islam
view of the other religion

• Islam is respected as a fellow monotheistic religion, but Muhammad is not seen as a true prophet
• Christians are respected as "People of the Book," but they have mistaken beliefs and only partial revelation

We miss you and we will never forget your smile!

Love Ed and family!