By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG-News, 23 December 2021
Assemblies of God missionary Lillian Trasher, in a 1935 Pentecostal Evangel article, celebrated the 25th anniversary of her arrival in Egypt. She testified of God’s provision for the Assiout Orphanage, which she founded in 1911: “He has never failed me all these years and we are being fed like the sparrows, who have no barns or storerooms. Seven hundred little ones. We are still looking to the Lord for our hourly needs. O! He is such a wonderful Saviour!”
Lillian Hunt Trasher (1887-1961) was born in Jacksonville, Florida, and grew up in Brunswick, Georgia. She accepted the Lord at a young age, and as a 9-year-old she prayed, “Lord, if ever I can do anything for you, just let me know and I will do it.” Little did she know at the time where that initial commitment would lead.
A few years later her family moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where she was invited by evangelist Mattie Perry to work in a nearby orphanage, which cared for about 100 children. Trasher’s love for children soon led her to accept this invitation. During her apprenticeship at the orphanage, she learned how to make clothes, care for infants, and teach children — all on a shoestring budget. This experience would prepare her for her life’s calling in Egypt.
She left the orphanage to study for one year at a Bible school in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then traveled for a time as an evangelist. In her travels, she met George S. Brelsford, a missionary working in Assiout, Egypt, and the door opened for her to sail to Egypt as a missionary in 1910. At that time she had no mission board to support her, but she received gifts from friends and offerings from churches.
Residing with other missionaries at Brelsford’s mission, she began to study the Arabic language and pondered the course of her ministry. A few months later, she was called to the bed of a dying woman who had a small baby that was left an orphan. Lillian took care of this baby, and this led to the establishment of what today is known as the Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Assiout, Egypt.
During the 50 years that Lillian operated the orphanage, thousands of Egyptian children and families received food, clothing, housing, spiritual nurture, and education. This won her the respect of the Egyptian government, as well as the international community. Since 1911, the Lillian Trasher Orphanage has provided hope and a loving home to more than 25,000 children. In 1919, Lillian Trasher affiliated with the Assemblies of God. She previously held credentials as an evangelist with the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Because of her tireless work with orphans in Egypt, she is fondly remembered as “Mama Lillian” or “Mother of the Nile.”
Read the entire article, “Assiout Orphanage: A Testimony of God’s Faithfulness,” on page 11 of the Dec. 21, 1935, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.
Also featured in this issue:
• “The Coming of Immanuel,” by Ernest S. Williams
• “The Revival That Was Born in a Christmas Convention,” by Mary Martin
• “The Christmas Message,” by D. H. McDowell
• “Marvelous Miracles in France,” by Douglas R. Scott
And many more!
Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.
Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.
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