In her 90’s, and legally blind, Mamie Parker Williams, “Mamaw Williams” to me, became an honorary member of her community's volunteer fire department. Still independent and living alone she grabbed her backyard garden hose to extinguish a fire in her outbuilding. A neighbor called the fire department and they took over in putting out the fire. Mamaw made the paper that week!
But long before Mamie wielded the water hose, she was wielding the Word. As a young woman Mamie accepted the call to ministry. Mamie taught Sunday School, played the organ and prayed with people. In her book, My Journey Home, she wrote, “I was always interested in missions and orphans. I taught my class with an emphasis on these two ministries as well. Often we would raise money to send to the church headquarters for missionaries and the orphanage.”
Her words are recorded in a national church publication, dated June 5, 1920, “My heart’s desire is to be a true and shining light for my Savior and lead lost souls to Him. I realize that the coming of Christ will not be long and Oh! How my heart aches for those that are lost. I want the power of God so that I can tell the lost world more about our precious Savior.”
Mamie meets the General.
In 1923 Mamie met a young preacher, General Grant Williams (his real name).
Arrested in 1921 for disturbing the peace while preaching on a front porch, a friend, knowledgeable in the law, advised him to plead guilty to the charge. Papaw pled guilty and the judge ordered Grant to pay a small fine. Realizing that he did not have the money and would have to go to jail, the judge passed around a hat in the courtroom to collect the money for the fine!
Mamie and Grant got married and spent the rest of their lives together in ministry.
I remember well the summer vacations and Christmas visits when all of the family members who had gathered to visit in Mamaw’s and Papaw’s living room would kneel in prayer. Mamaw was always the most vocal, her voice rising above the rest.
She prayed. She cried. She laughed. Mamaw had a way of “praying through.”
And at the age of 103, she went to meet the one "for whom her passion burned."
Yes, Mamaw was a firefighter. She fanned the fire of desire in my life for Jesus.
It was an occupational hazard.