Just because you don't see the homeless walking around the streets of Lynchburg and vicinity doesn't mean they don't exist. They are very much alive and not doing so well; struggling to find a place to rest their weary bodies and looking for food to feed those weary bodies. This thought led The Rev. Keith O. Williams, 32 and Sheona, his 29-year-old wife to spread awareness about poverty and homelesses in the greater Lynchburg area.
Rev. Williams, the founder of Great I Am Ministries Outreach International, is making plans to place together programs to help get the homeless off the streets and into a world of hope and compassion. Back in October of 2006, The Works, the popular local cable access talk and informational program, featured a representative from the Lynchburg Area Food Bank to address poverty and hunger in the area. Great I Am Ministries is known for aiding people not only locally but around the world. The ministry's famous Adopt-A-Shelter Campaign became one of the most highly commendable programs in the Tri-City area of Virgniia (Petersburg, Hopewell, and Colonial Heights). Now, they plan to bring the same program to Lynchburg.
"I'm so tired of people talking about helping others and they don't do it," Rev. Williams said. " We need to stop talking and do something about it." "Everytime a holdiay rolls around, that is when we extend our hands to the needy, but what about the rest of the year. Jesus said that 'the poor will always be among us', therefore we need to help them everyday not just on holidays."
The newly established Greater Works Full Gospel Baptist Church will host several services in the upcoming new years to raise money for the outreach ministry so that more people can be helped. "We don't want to be called the 'holiday-helper ministry'," Sheona adds. "We want to become the 'everyday-helper ministry'." There is reason to believe that all this talk will become action.
The Williams family moved to Lynchburg in 2005 after a very successful completed assignment in the Tidewater area near Suffolk. Rev. Williams became a student at Liberty University while Sheona received the next assignment from God. After a year of spiritual preparation, Greater Works Full Gospel Baptist Church opened up its doors at a local library meeting room in Madison Heights. "We want to find the churchless, the helpless, and the hopeless," Keith proclaims. "Then they can become the church, the helpful, and the hopeful."
Rev. Williams was called into the ministry in 1999 after a personal encounter with God during a college retreat. He is no stranger to homelessness. In fact, Keith lost his apartment, his belongings, and his job all in the same day. He roamed the streets of Richmond and Fredericksburg, until he met his wife, Sheona, who helped him moved from homelessness to hopefulness. "I'm indeed indebted to her," he said. "I really don't know how to repay her."
After being homeless for about two years, Rev. Williams feels a burden to reach out to the homeless. "When you been through something," he said. "You must bring the hope that there is a home for the homeless." For that reason, Great I Am Ministries will once again live out their foundation, to help the people and preach God's word. "We want to mean what you say and say what we mean," Sheona proclaims.
Great I Am Ministries Outreach International was founded on July 25, 2003 by Pastor Keith O. Williams, a senior Psychology major at Liberty University with a minor in Pastoral Studies. The establishment of the ministry came from a 2002 church charter granting rights to start the ministry. This nondenominational, outreach-centered, Christian organization strives to reach people using a holistic, apostolic approach.
The ministry of helps seeks out people who are in lack and give them a helping hand so they can return to society as productive citizens. Pastor Williams was appointed by God to help the people and preach His word, a direct commandment based on Deuteronomy 5.7-11. This vision marked the beginning of a worldwide storm of outreach, which will allow God's saving power to cover the Earth.
Greater Works Full Gospel Baptist Church had its first service on October 15, 2006 with an attendance of over 50 people. Keith and Sheona understand that it will take some time for the word to spread about the church, but they are not giving up. How will Great I Am Ministries Outreach International affect the community? With its Get Your Fix in 2006 and 2007: The Year of the Lord messages, the ministry will offer food and clothing to the needy, computer training, expansion of its outreach, and religious education preparing men and women to work in God's kingdom. There will also be conferences and workshops to educate people on issues affecting the greater Lynchburg area. By January 2007, Great I Am Ministries will go in full force. Until then, there is much work to be done to get the word about the ministry and the church. "We received favor before," Keith declares. "We will obtain favor again."
Want to help?
Great I Am Ministries Outreach International, is accepting material and monetary donations. Material donations needed are computers, a televison and VCR/DVD combo, Christian movies, Sunday school books, bibles, a pulpit lectrine, clothing, nonperishable food items, and much more. You can call 434-420-1458 or 434-455-4927 to arrange for all goods to be picked up. If you wish to send a financial contribution, please make your checks and money orders payable to
Great I Am Ministries
PO Box 1291
Madison Heights, VA 24572
You can also visit our donations page of our ministry website:
Read more articles by Keith Williams or search for articles on the same topic or others.