Behind the Scenes: Teresa Williams
2.11.2014 | by Hailey Bryant, Journalist Intern
Spring is a crazy time in the world of Lipscomb Missions. With dozens of both spring break and summer trips being coordinated simultaneously involving hundreds of participants, there are LOTS of details to juggle! A major player in keeping everything moving smoothly is the primary travel agent used by Lipscomb Missions: Teresa Williams of Frosch Travel. She has worked alongside the University for over eighteen years; working completely behind the scenes, she’s definitely the least visible but one of the most important parts of what we do.
Williams first experienced Lipscomb through her trip to City of Children in Baja over twenty years ago. Jeff Fincher (’97), a Lipscomb alum and former Director of Student Missions, was Williams’s trip leader and initial connection to the university. Being a part of Fincher’s team was an experience unlike any other, Williams shares, “It was so amazing to me because all that the kids wanted at the time was for you to hold them.” Since then, Williams has returned numerous times to serve at the City of Children as well as other churches throughout the Baja Peninsula, with each experience fueling her passion for mission work. However, close interaction with marginalized communities was nothing new to Williams.
Since she was a teenager, the Nashville native has volunteered with Inner City Ministry in Nashville. Throughout the years, Williams and her family have served weekly, ministering to the children living in public housing. “We bus the kids in, teach them and feed them,” Williams explains. “Then we take about forty of the kids to camp each summer.” Serving locally has become a deep passion for Williams, especially when the children seem to need one thing, she says, “All they want is to be safe and for someone to show them love.”
Williams has extensive mission experience with her family members, as well. In 2002, she and her daughter Danielle went to Africa for three weeks, a life-changing journey that continues to be her most memorable to date. She spoke of the unbelievable reality of being faced with a poverty-stricken land we usually only see at a distance. “You see it on TV, but when you’re there just watching them survive,” she pauses, “You come back thinking, I have so much. And they have so little, but they’re happy.” Her husband and all three of her children have been a part of her years in service, making it very much so a family affair. “It’s good to do as a family, so you can have that experience together,” Williams says.
Being a part of the missions family happened gradually, as the program blossomed from one trip to many. “The Mission Coordinators call me up, give me the dates and I do the research and figure out their travel options,” Williams says as she explains her role. She is also the person everyone calls when an emergency arises, coming to the rescue for teams and individuals time and time again. “Teresa has managed to navigate us through a countless number of seemingly impossible, high-stress travel situations and headaches, and she does it all with a heart for missions and ministry,” says Missions Coordinator, Paul Stevens. “Teresa always comes through for us,” says Aletha Thomas, Saba team leader, “It is a great comfort to know she is taking a huge load off our shoulders.”
Those who work with her on a regular basis cannot praise her efforts enough, “Teresa understands the vision of our mission. She supports who we are because she has lived it herself alongside her husband, kids and church family,” says Mark Jent, Director of Missions Outreach. “Few people play as vital a role in helping us mobilize 700 people as year as she does. Her personal care and professional customer service make her indispensable to us. She is selflessly dedicated to helping us fulfill our mission as we serve throughout the world.”
Without Williams’s tremendous efforts behind the scenes, Lipscomb Missions could not serve in the effective, global ways it does today.