Throughout the school year, Lee University students join together with co-sponsor Church of God World Missions to focus on special projects where they can be of service and make a difference in the world. Since 1991, one week each year has been set as “Dee Lavender Missions Week.” The 2018-2019 Missions Week is October 1-5, 2018. A variety of ministries and missionaries are invited from across the country to speak in classes and display booths/exhibits so students and faculty can experience a variety of organizations in which they may become involved for summer projects and/or following graduation. The chapel services for the week will focus on the 2018 missions project, the Smoky Mountain Children's Home in Sevierville, Tennessee.
It seems the most profitable fundraiser among the students are t-shirts. A new t-shirt/design is presented to the students at the beginning of each year to raise the awareness level of the established missions project. They are then given the option throughout the school year of purchasing one or more of the t-shirts with all the profits going toward the missions project.
See “Past Projects” to view the missionaries, ministries, and countries where Lee has helped to make a difference over the past 27 years! The numbers have reached well over $450,000.
Often times the Office of Campus Ministries will plan a missions trip to visit the site and ministry of the country for which they are raising money. Students can find out more information about the current projects by contacting our office.
Missions Week Exhibitors
During missions week each year, it is our goal to give the students at Lee University opportunities to become familiar with a variety of para-church organizations and missionaries*. If your organization would like the opportunity to present through an exhibit display or in a classroom and meet some awesome students in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee during the near-peak season, please complete the registration form and plan to join us this fall.
Several of your meals will be provided to say “thank you” for joining us. Also, please note that area lodging information is provided for your convenience. We are excited to have ministry guests with us and will be glad to help you in any way that we can.
For more information and forms, click the links below:
*Please note this week will not be an opportunity for any fundraising except for the annual LU Missions Project.
Please send an email to Campus Ministries with your contact information if you would like to add your organization to our mailing list for next year.
Missions 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 a special interest in:
- India (Hoyle and Mildred Case were missionaries there. Paul Cook was a Lee student whose father was a missionary in India.)
- Haiti (Interest sparked in this field because of a visit from the Klaudts. The Pullin girls--Dorothy, Alice, and Martha--were early activists in the Missions Club. Their parents were missionaries in Haiti and visited them at B.T.S.)
- Odine Morse, during the early period of the Missions Club, expressed her calling to the mission field as a career missionary.
- The Cases returned from India and Mrs. Case taught at B.T.S. for one year.
Two early projects of the Missions Club:
- Build a church in Guatemala
- Raise money at Christmas in order to give a $5.00 Christmas gift to each missionary on the field.
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 the Missions Club became a Missionary Society at Lee College. It 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.
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 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!