After 10 years of faithful service as director of Togo’s Hôpital Baptiste Biblique (HBB), ABWE nurse Annette Williams was awarded the Chevalier de Mono. In the country of Togo, where Annette serves, this is a presidential award of honor. For Annette, however, it means so much more.
“The work and ministry of a hospital is not just one person,” Annette said. “It’s a team effort—a group of faithful workers steadily doing what God has called us all to do, using compassionate healthcare as a means of fulfilling that calling.”
A nurse by profession, Annette arrived in Togo when HBB was still just a dream in the mind of another ABWE missionary, Kay Washer. Incidentally, Kay also received the Chevalier de Mono for her work in Togo developing a school for the blind and introducing braille. Annette served on the team that helped make the HBB a reality, helping with the clean up after construction and stocking the hospital.
When HBB opened its doors for the first time 33 years ago, Annette began serving as a nurse. That role expanded in the 90s to include teaching at school that trains Togolese nurses. And then, in 2008, Annette was named the director of HBB.
With a strong grasp of the culture, a knowledge of both French and the local tribal language, connections made from her many years of service in Togo, and a Masters in Nursing Administration, Annette was deemed one of the best-suited for the task.
But there was still plenty of room for gaining new experience.
“I learned more about the Togolese culture in [the first 5 years of being director] than I did in the last 30 years [as a nurse],” Annette laughed. “It went way beyond what my education called for.”
The work can be hard at times. She had to learn how to juggle understanding laws with understanding the culture and how people interact, trying to make sure everyone’s needs are met while also trying to keep the balance between those laws and the community-centered culture—two sides which many times conflict with each other.
But Annette still rejoices in being a part of God’s great plan, seeing the way He is moving through the lives of the Togolese whom they have had the privilege of building relationships with on a daily basis.
“It has been 40 years of watching God work, and knowing that He is 100 percent faithful,” she said.
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