Missions ClubBTS, Lee College, & Lee UniversityMissions Week started out as a missions club in 1939 at BTS and became the Missionary Society in 1941 at Lee College. It appears that with the growth of the school and the broadening of training opportunities to include a liberal arts curriculum, there evolved a special week called “Missions Week.” This was probably instituted in the late forties or early fifties.In 1992 “Missions Week” was renamed “Dee Lavender Missions Week”, and continues in that same manner today as students are challenged to obey the great commission and many continue to joyfully respond. It is the desire of the leadership to present evangelism as the greatest vocation in all of life and that we are all trained to touch our world for Christ.
The Missions Club was organized in 1939. The occasion was the influence of Pearl Stark who had just returned from Angola after the death of her husband in Angola. The group was organized for study and prayer concerning missions.Mrs. Stark was chosen as the first president. It was a very popular organization with overflow attendance at its meetings. The group began to travel to churches to encourage interest in missions. The group broadened its interest to other mission fields, taking special interest in:
Two early projects of the Missions Club:
In 1943 the Missions Club collected material for a history of Church of God World Missions. Horace McCracken was the primary writer of this book, History of Church of God Missions.
In 1941 a Missionary Society was organized under the leadership of a faculty member named Avis Switer. It soon became the largest organized group on campus. In the early years of BTS, world missions were emphasized during the entire school year. The World Mission Board conducted meetings on the school campus. This enabled the board to interview those students who felt that God was calling them to the mission field.Missionaries who were meeting with the missions’ board were invited to visit classes and speak in chapel. Looking at the diary of a student in the early 40’s, it is easy to see that foreign missions were emphasized the entire school year.Entry on January 15, 1943: “Brother Vessie Hargrave talked to us on Mexico.”On January 28: “Met the Missions Board and talked about South America and Mexico.”On February 9: “Spanish class in charge of chapel.”On March 8: “Brother Turner from India spoke in chapel.”On April 29: “Brother M. P. Cross spoke $15,000 offering. Brother Cross told us we should go to Mexico.”On July 26: “my first sermon in Spanish.”On August 10: “end of war.”
It appears that with the growth of the school and the broadening of training opportunities to include a liberal arts curriculum, there evolved a special week called “Missions Week.” This was probably instituted in the late forties or early fifties. One to two projects continued to be presented each year.Missions Week is still one of the highlights of the school year. Students are challenged to obey the great commission and many are joyfully responding. It is the desire of the leadership to present evangelism as the greatest vocation in all of life and that we are all trained to touch our world for Christ.
Every year, there is a week here at Lee University that is set aside to focus on missions. This Missions Week is carried out in honor of a Lee University student, Dee Lavender, who died on a summer Mission Trip. While in Panama she wrote a letter home to her Mom and Dad. In the letter she said:“Dear mother and daddy, I just got home from church. I imagine you are in your hotel room at camp meeting. I would like to be there with you, but I know I’m where God wants me to be…. I’m grateful for your prayers and those of the church. I am praying for you everyday as well. I am very much looking forward to seeing you and relaxing at home. I love and miss you both. Love, Dee”She let us in on the details of her trip through the writing in her diary. In one entry she wrote:“Sunday I began to get sick. I didn’t go to church Sunday night because I was too weak. Alone on the couch, my mind began to dwell on how sick I got in Mexico. Then I thought about awful things. So I prayed that Jesus would touch me and make me whole.”After about 2 months in Panama, things took a dramatic turn. Dee was rushed to the hospital due to complications from a diabetic condition. She slipped into a coma and passed away on July 26, just 4 days before her 21st birthday. Dee dedicated her life to missions. She knew the sacrifices of ministry, but dedicated her life to it still. As a student at Lee she made a profound impact on the faculty, staff, and her fellow-students.She was conscientious about her preparations because she wanted to be prepared for the calling God had placed on her life.In her own words:“If I can only finish the work God gives me to do, then my life will be complete.”Now you have the opportunity to impact the world during Missions Week at Lee. Please check out our project for this year!
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