Meet Missy Williams – Seed Effect’s ED

Posted by on May 2, 2013

Missy Williams - Seed Effect ED

Missy Williams – Seed Effect ED

We love our partnership with Seed Effect, love how God is using economic opportunity to help transform lives of our sisters in South Sudan! This week, we caught up for a chat with Seed Effect’s exec director, Missy Williams – and we so enjoyed what she had to say…watch Aardvark movie now

When folks ask for a quick overview of what Seed Effect is and how it works, how do you answer?
SE is a Christ-centered non-profit microfinance organization. We come alongside of struggling entrepreneurs and help them start businesses in South Sudan so that they’re able to provide for their families. What makes us unique is our desire to go into tumultuous areas and work alongside struggling families to share opportunities to invest in their own goals and dreams. To ensure the programs succeed, we have a local team in the region committed to empowering their own people.

Tell us the story of how you were led to begin Seed Effect?
I love interior design and had started my own business. At the same, though, my husband and I took a course on the world Christian movement. This made me rethink where I was heading with my life and we began asking God to change our hearts. Part of the beginning of His answer was a short-term mission trip to South Sudan in 2007. The war had formally ended just two years before, and independence (which happened 9 July 2011) wasn’t yet a reality. What we saw was a land and people starting from scratch, tasked with rebuilding a country that had been devastated by nearly a half century of war and conflict. We watched as people were returning to this land to start over – some with just a tarp and sack of grain. And we thought, how can we do anything about this, but how could we not? A little later, a local Sudanese woman shared her dream of owning a sewing machine. It was in that moment, that God gave me a vision for Seed Effect and I knew I would be back here. It’s been a long journey, but we launched the program. Today, there are five of us here in the States and a team of fifteen Sudanese in South Sudan who oversee the program.

What do you enjoy most about leading Seed Effect?
Our Seed Effect team is a family. Really. The team both here and in South Sudan is small and we’re able to truly know each other as we serve together. I love learning the stories of our clients, love seeing them empowered and watching how God transforms their lives – and ours in the process. I also love the chance to place people where God uses their gifts and abilities to help others as He glorifies Himself.

Biggest challenges?
This is a time of seismic change in South Sudan. There’s so much work to be done, and like the Sister Effect team, we so believe that God intends for the South Sudanese to be empowered to do it, to rebuild their nation. That said, our greatest challenge is finding qualified local workers to help expand our programs that serve the South Sudanese. Years of war, displacement and now resettlement, have left little infrastructure and opportunity in most parts of South Sudan. So many are without job skills training and formal education. This is all changing – and quickly – but there’s still this gap we’re facing right now in finding qualified local believers who will in turn expand these efforts to equip and serve local communities.

How do you see the partnership between Sister Effect and Seed Effect benefitting our sisters in South Sudan?
I see an incredible synergy, endless opportunities! Sister Effect’s model of coming alongside existing work in South Sudan allows chances to not only serve together and build new relationships here and in South Sudan; it also works to enhance existing efforts and expand into new frontiers. When like-minded groups or organizations together focus on and channel their attempts, God’s work through us is maximized – and in South Sudan, this means more lives are positively impacted. We’re super-excited about our relationship with Sister Effect and look forward to how God will use it to transform all of us involved in this work.

As a woman and a young mom, how does it feel to be coming alongside of these precious sisters in South Sudan?
Wow… my goodness! I’m not sure there are words to adequately respond to this. To be serving in a culture where women aren’t valued as we are here, where they’re often treated as property and not people… it’s been so very life-changing. It’s an indescribable blessing to be a small part of empowering these women and witnessing them grow and become more of who God intended them to be. It’s also incredible to experience over and again this truth that we’re so much more alike than we are different – that God has made and treasures all people equally, and to be created human means that we’re more alike than different than other human beings, no matter what our culture or contexts.

We’re definitely praying for the work of Seed Effect in Nimule and Kajo Keji. Can you share some specific ways we can do so?
Absolutely – here goes! Please pray for our clients and for new Sudanese nationals who will serve as local Seed Effect leaders. Pray for God to guide all of us in knowing how to implement what’s best in this land, what will be the most redemptive and transformational in the long term. Also, please pray that we’ll have the capacity to implement goals and encourage deep and lasting community growth.

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