Ottery community worker and youth leader, Christo Williams will be launching his debut book, 21 Observations of Excellence, Excel amid adversity, on Saturday October 28.
Mr Williams, 35, said his vision is to help the community by sharing words of wisdom and practical tools they can use to excel and to move forward. “The book is a body of inspiration, especially after Covid, which everyone who faces adversity can read.”
Mr Williams grew up in a challenging environment, in the Ottery flats, where they had been constantly faced with gang war and violence. “Those years it was labelled as the battlefield. It was the space in between the rival gangs that were going at each other.”
However, growing up with negative influences of gang war, did not deter his parents Christopher and Wilhelmina Williams from raising their children “differently”.
Mr Williams said he and his siblings were raised by his parents who exposed them to a culture of family values despite outside influences. “For the most part we adhered to the instructions of the parents. “Reg of weg” (either you do it right or you leave).
Mr Williams said his love for reading came from his father’s influence. “My dad told us stories about the journey of his life – where they grew up. He was a good storyteller. And he would tell his life story. My dad was a passionate committed reader and he took me to the library. That is where my love for literature and reading came from.”
As an adult, Mr Williams said he has met people who daily struggled with depression and anxiety. “We deal with stress and in this book you will find inspiration with the issues that we face. It gives them a unique perspective. Most of the things we have in writing are from other people, but 21 Observations of Excellence, have viewpoints and insights, uniquely written because of my passion to see people grow and change.”
The book was inspired by Pastor Robert Adams, the founder of the Ottery Welfare Network (OWN). “Pastor Robert was my father’s ‘covenant brother’ in church,” he said.
“My responsibility was to teach and oversee and lead the Bible teaching within the church. One of the themes of God’s Word was ‘excellence’.
“Pastor Robert was the spiritual oversight pastor and the visionary and my dad was the associate pastor. As soon as the theme came through, I would meditate and pray about it.”
Mr Williams said he remembered Pastor Robert suggested the theme excellence should be “in book form”.
The writing of the book was set in motion after his dad passed away in January 2021.
“I wrote it in times of adversity – all the things I valued I thought I lost. We lost him to kidney failure.”
In the process of writing in August of 2021, Mr Williams was dealt another blow as his mother was diagnosed with cancer. “Over a year, the cycle continued – mourning my dad – discovering my mom had cancer and experiencing the journey of chemotherapy, fighting cancer. This book saved my life as I thought I was going to lose my mind.”
Mr Williams said this book is a guide, especially for those who find themselves in times of adversity.
“When people hear about the word excellence, especially in businesses and secular spaces, it normally has a negative connotation – people connect excellence with being boastful or full of pride or being self-centred. However, this book rescues excellence from its purely secular viewpoint. Excellence is seen through a spiritual lens. It is interpreted in how excellence can be beneficial to the community despite where they are from, despite the chaos and adversities people are facing. This word will encourage people to apply daily to move their lives forward and not wait for better days but to live it.”
The book launch will take place at the church building, 6 Olga Road, in Grassy Park, on Saturday October 28.
Contact Mr Williams at 062 860 9187 to get a copy of the book. Those who wish to invite Mr Williams to speak or to host training sessions or workshops can also contact him at email@example.com