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Lillian Trasher Biography

Lillian Trasher Biography
Lillian Trasher

Lillian Trasher

Lillian Hunt Trasher served as a Christian missionary in Assiout, Egypt, where she founded the country’s first orphanage; over a period of 50 years, she cared for approximately 10,000 needy children. Because of her contributions, she earned the nickname of “Mother” Thrasher.

Lillian was born on September 27th, 1887 in Jacksonville, Florida. She grew up in Georgia as a Roman Catholic.

In 1905, she briefly attended a Bible college. For three years (1908-1910), she served as Mattie Perry’s assistant at Faith Orphanage in Marion, North Carolina, mending, cooking and changing diapers. Lillian asked God for guidance, praying, “Lord, I want to be Your girl.”

She also listened to a missionary talk about her experiences in India, causing Lillian to want to serve in Africa. Asking her fiancé, an ordained minister named Tom Jordan, to join her, he declined, offering to postpone their wedding. Sensing that she wouldn’t return to the United States, Lillian broke off the engagement only ten days before their wedding.

Struggling to raise money to cover her expenses, she received little encouragement, yet did not give up. Lillian attended a missionary conference, meeting Pastor Brelsford (also seen as Perlsford) who’d served in Assiout, Egypt. Initially reluctant to encourage her, the pastor eventually invited her to join him when he returned.

Before she left, people suggested that she randomly open her Bible to see which page she chose. It was Acts 7:34, where it read that, “I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.”

Arriving in Egypt late in 1910 with her sister Jennie and less than $100, a dying woman soon gave her baby to Lillian. To care for her and others like her, on February 10, 1911 she opened what became the Lillian Trasher Orphanage, where she lived entirely on faith and charitable contributions, often not having food for more than one day. She traveled on donkeys and sailed by boat; one time, her boat nearly sank. She contracted the bubonic plague, but survived.

By 1914, Lillian had set up a school and Bible study program for the eight orphans in her care. By 1918, she had 50 orphans – and eight widows in her new widow’s dormitory. A local Presbyterian hospital agreed to provide free care for up to six orphans at a time, increasing Lillian’s ability to care for sick children.

Late in 1918, Jennie returned to the United States, with Lillian forced to follow her during anti-English post-World War I riots, which included an attack on the orphanage. In the United States, Lillian went on a speaking tour of Assemblies of God churches, raising significant funds for the orphanage.

In spring of 1920, Lillian returned to Egypt; by 1921, she cared for 150 orphans and, by 1924, 300 children. She shared the Christian message wherever she traveled and kept the faith, even during tough years of the Great Depression.

During that time, a Swedish orphan revealed that she was spanked for not being Christian, leading to Muslim outrage in multiple countries. As a result, 70 Muslim children were removed from Lillian’s orphanage. As sad as that made Lillian, she continued to receive large numbers of children needing care and she continued to advocate for the children until her death on December 17, 1961, when approximately 1,200 lived in her orphanage.

Today, the Assemblies of God of Egypt oversees the orphanage, with 85% of the funding coming from churches in Egypt. The Episcopalian Church honors Lillian annually on December 19th.

About The Author

Kelly Boyer Sagert

Kelly Boyer Sagert is a full time writer with eleven books and two full length plays to her credit, along with more than 1,000 short pieces.

18 Comments

  1. Avatar

    I saw Lillian Thrasher as a child in Houston, Texas. She was a speaker there. My father held me up and said, “Always remember you saw this great lady, Lilian Thrasher.” I met George Assad while he wrote a course at International Correspondence Institute in Brussels, where I was volunteering. He was a real ally nice man.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    Lillian was my cousin. I have been researching her for the past five years. In early 2018 I am meeting with Joseph Assad and his wife, Michele. Joseph’s father,George Assad, was raised by Lillian and later became director of the Orphanage until his death in 2011.

    Reply
  3. Avatar

    I read her book! Amazing.

    Reply
  4. Avatar

    She really loved children. I can’t believe that she took care of approximately 10,000 needy children.

    Reply
  5. Avatar

    Lillian’s message is affecting my life changing it’s quality ,set me free
    I am really grateful for her living love

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Her life was a great inspiration for many soldiers of Christ in the mission field.
      Does any body know of any surviving relatives in Florida or any other state?

      Reply
  6. Avatar

    Women should rise up to serve our creators, with all our power and strength. We should be faithful like Lillian and other women of faith in scripture

    Reply
  7. Avatar

    God will bless you more for the words of inspiration.

    Reply
  8. Avatar

    I have been examinating out a few of your articles and i must say pretty nice stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your blog.

    Reply
  9. Avatar

    Wow Nice Work she saves alot of ppl’s live, Espacially when she have faith,Knowing that god is always on her side when she Do her work..
    God iS awsome..

    Reply
  10. Avatar

    Hey, Cung . . . I just saw your comment. What a wonderful feeling to have, knowing that God has great plans for you.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      Encouraged by tour comment. do you know any relatives still in Florida?

      Reply
  11. Avatar

    All the biography was very meaningful for me. I firmly believe that God is going to do great thing through me in the days to come.

    Reply
  12. Avatar

    I just saw these comments . . . thanks for your kind words, Nolan and Ana!

    Reply
  13. Avatar

    i really like Lillian`s story! she was a very faithful woman.

    Reply
  14. Avatar

    This was so helpful for my school project! thanks Kelly Boyer Sagert for researching and writing all of this.

    Reply
    • Avatar

      same this sight was helpful

      Reply

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