Oh, how I love the stories of men and women of faith who have gone before me and who have chosen to live lives of uncompromising integrity and audacious power during their term on earth. I love rich, complicated Bible stories of men and women who turned their ordinary lives into something glorious and extraordinary. I also ravenously devour the accounts of men and women who lived after the book of Revelation had been completed and yet whose names none of us should forget.
I want to tell you such a story today. I want to tell you the story of a little girl who grew up to make a huge difference this side of eternity.
Lillian Trasher, born in 1887, was led to the Lord by a neighbor in Jacksonville, Florida. At just 8 years old, Lillian prayed this bold prayer, "Lord, I want to be Your little girl. If ever I can do anything for You, just let me know and I will do it."
Lillian went to Bible school for just a year when she was a teenager and then when God asked her to work in a faith-owned orphanage in North Carolina, Lillian said, "Yes, Lord, I'll do it."
Lillian met a young pastor, Tom Jordan, during these years, and they quickly fell in love. However, Lillian heard a missionary speak about her ministry in India and that night Lillian felt the strong call to missions. When she realized Tom didn't share the same international call, Lillian broke off the engagement just 10 days before their wedding.
When Lillian heard the Lord call her to missionary service in Egypt, she simply said, "Yes, Lord, I'll do it."
Lillian and her sister arrived in Egypt in 1910 with less than $100 to begin their mission work. Just days after their arrival in Egypt, a dying woman gave Lillian her baby. The baby's grandmother was unable to care for the baby and intended to throw the little girl into the Nile River to be eaten by crocodiles.
In order to care for this baby and others who quickly followed, in 1911, Lillian opened what became the Lillian Trasher Orphanage, where she lived entirely on faith. Many days, when Lillian awakened with the orphans under her care, they had no food at all, but Lillian would always thank God in advance for His provision. And Lillian's God always provided.
By 1923, Lillian's orphanage was housing widows and the blind, and over 300 people lived under her care. Often the orphanage ran out of food, but miraculous intervention always arrived in time. On one such day, the children woke up to find nothing to eat—not even day-old bread or sour milk. Mother Lillian gathered everyone around the empty table and told them to thank God for the delicious meal he would send them. After the "Amen" was pronounced, a truck pulled up to the back of the orphanage and unloaded sacks of flour, rice, beans and peas and crates of milk, bread and eggs—the gift of an anonymous donor.
With the arrival of World War II, survival again became a daily struggle at the orphanage. As Rommel's tanks rumbled into Cairo, bandits were terrorizing the cities in the region. The bandits' lead scout had climbed up the walls of the orphanage, when he was killed by a single stray shot. His comrades fled, and the women and children were left unharmed.
And then came a second World War II miracle. The British had captured a German supply ship and wanted to know if the American missionary and her orphans could use a boatload of food. Two days later, a convoy came down the Nile with enough supplies to last the rest of the war!
No one in America or in Egypt thought that Lillian would be able to take care of the thousands of orphans who came to her, but Lillian was certain of God's guidance and always remembered her early promise to Him, "Lord, I want to be Your little girl. If ever I can do anything for You, just let me know and I will do it."
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written eight books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, Defiant Joy!, Holy Estrogen!, No More Ordinary, Refined, Joy For All Seasons, Let There Be Joy! and Pass the Joy, Please! which releases on February 1, 2018.Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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