In less than two weeks, Lillian Trasher would be married to Tom Jordan. For you who have anticipated your wedding, you know that kind of excitement as you count down every day and give careful attention to each small detail so it will be the most special day of your life. But for Lillian, she couldnít seem to get excited let alone focus on the details of her wedding. She knew God had a call on her life to be a missionary.
She was going to have to choose between living a life of comfort, with a husband, a safe home, a safe income and the security of friends and family, or she was going to follow what seemed like a reckless call to pursue the will of God. Thatís a lot to struggle with two weeks before you are to be married!
She talked to Tom, her beloved fiancť, and sadly he was not willing to live a missionaryís life. As hard as it was, Lillian broke off the wedding and trusted in the Lord with all her might. Now before you judge her or even feel sorry for her, you probably need to know that she lived an absolute thrilling life. Just in her lifetime, she fed, clothed, housed and educated over 10,000 orphan children! She asked the Lord for 12 children and before she died, she looked out of her bedroom window at her orphanage and saw 1,200 orphan children in the courtyard! Oh please donít feel that Lillian missed out in life, rather, she didnít waste her life but lived in the fullness of Godís will.
The Biography of Lillian Trasher was a book I couldnít put down. I read it all in two days and where they ever two life-changing days for me. Her journey was thrilling. It seemed that each step she took was a step of faith. God wasnít behind her pushing her in the back to walk in some dark, unknown place alone. No! He was in front of her just as a good shepherd always is. He walked before her, bidding her to come and follow Him down this amazing journey of faith. Does He not do the same for us? Is He bidding you to come and follow Him today?
Lillian was born in Jacksonville, Florida on September 28, 1887. It is ironic that she shared the same birth date with George Mueller. He operated an orphanage in Bristol, England. He and his wife Mary had no income, yet they cared for over 10,000 orphans as well throughout their lifetime. Lillian always had a deep appreciation and respect for the Muellerís. She grew up in Brunswick, Georgia as a Roman Catholic but after reading much Scripture and through Godly influences, she gave her life to Christ and began to develop a very close walk with the Lord.
As Lillian searched for Godís will in her life, she sensed God was calling her to Africa. While trying to make the decision on where she would serve God as a missionary, she was invited attended a conference for missionary women in Petersburg. It was there she met Pastor Perlsford. He had been serving in the city of Assuit in Egypt and invited Lillian to come there to serve with his ministry.
Her family begged her not to go. Her friends tried to tell her how dangerous it was for a single female to travel and live alone in a foreign land. It seemed no one understood excpet her sister Jennie! Still not desiring to be out of the will of God, they prayed and asked the Lord to confirm their plans. One day the Lord took Lillian to Acts 7:34, the Scripture read, ďI have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their groaning, and I have come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send you to Egypt.Ē Could God have been more clear?
Lillian and Jennie arrived in Assuit, Egypt on October 26, 1910. Four months later on February 10, 1911 Lillian opened her first orphanage. Did you know that today you can visit Lillianís orphanage in Egypt? I go to Egypt quite frequently, and people there often ask me if Iíve ever heard of ďMamaĒ Lillian as she was affectionately called. Actually, itís not uncommon to find little girls named Lillian in Upper Egypt because of the vast influence she has carried there.
She is buried just outside the city of Assuit, yet her work goes on strong. Today, it is home to 650 children and widows. The 12 acre campus has 13 major buildings including nurseries, girls and boys dormitories, residence for the staff, a bakery, a barn for cattle, and a vocational training center. They have sports and recreation facilities, playgrounds and a large garden. It is one of the largest orphanages in the world!
Over the last century, the orphanage in Assuit has served over 25,000 orphans and widows to the glory of God! Do not ever underestimate what God can do through you. Lillian was penniless and she didnít have the support of friends or her family, except her sister Jennie. Yet, with Godís favor and with faith in their hearts, they have changed countless lives for eternity. What can God do through you?
Have you ever felt like no one supported you? Has your family discouraged you? Have friends tried to talk you out of pursuing Godís plans for your life? Well, be encouraged that Lillian and Jennie Trasher changed lives even when people didnít support them. With God, all things are possible!
ďReligion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.Ē James 1:27
To learn more about Pastor Chad Roberts, visit www.preachingchristchurch.com
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