TL & DAISY OSBORN
Pioneers in Global Mass Evangelism with Signs & Wonders
After giving his life to Christ when 12 years of age, Tommy Lee Osborn (known as TL) dedicated his life to helping people find Jesus. At 17, he met his future wife, Daisy, and knew that this was the lady he was going to share his life with. After marrying at 19, he and Daisy moved to Portland, Oregon, to establish a new church and shortly afterwards, enthused by Christ's commission to the disciples to "go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature", they went to India as missionaries. Little did they know that this trip was to be a major turning point in their lives.
Missions failure in India
Their time in India was discouraging and they returned a year later to the USA feeling that they had failed. Subsequently, they acknowledged that they were unprepared to cope with ancient religions and had not understood Christ's miracle power.
The Hindus politely accepted Christ as another good god to worship, but it did not make an impact on their lives as there was no supernatural confirmation of the preaching. The Muslims loved the teachings of Jesus and admired Him as a prophet and teacher, but challenged TL's authority for claiming that Jesus Christ is God's Son or that God had raised Him from the dead. Without any way of proving these crucial facts, TL and Daisy returned home, in agony of heart but determined to find an answer to their dilemma.
Healings and Miracles - the Gospel Key
Back in Portland, Oregon, TL and Daisy attended a gospel campaign where they witnessed not only hundreds coming to Christ, but also for the first time, amazing instantaneous healing miracles. This was the proof they had been looking for and they remembered Jesus' response to the Jewish leaders who asked if He was the Christ, "the works [or miracles] that I do in the Father's name bear witness of me" (John 10:24). They became convinced that healing and miracles would provide the key to taking the gospel to "the heathen masses everywhere dying without Christ".
Not having the money to return to India, they were invited to the island of Jamaica where during 13 weeks of ministry, thousands of blind, deaf and crippled people were miracuously healed and over 9000 people received Jesus Christ as Saviour. Encouraged by other evangelists and by Pentecostal denominational leaders, TL conducted a series of impressive crusades around the world and thousands of healings and miracles were reported.
Eventually, 14 years after their unsuccessful visit to the Indian university city of Lucknow, TL and Daisy got their chance to fulfil their dream and return to the Hindus and Muslims in India, but this time with the miracle power of the gospel. Sixty thousand people attended the crusade, and TL proclaimed to the masses that Jesus is the Son of God, raised from the dead. A young, agnostic student on the edge of the crowd, who was a fanatical member of a religious political party that had vowed to drive Christianity from India, suddenly fell to the ground weeping. As TL preached about Jesus, the Lord appeared right in front of this arrogant student, who declared to the multitude present that what TL was preaching was the truth. Thousands received Christ and hundreds of blind, lepers, deaf mutes, cripples and diseased were healed.
Indigenous Church Planting
Convinced that the natives would be the best missionaries ('...they speak the language, they don't need a furlough, they don't need food, they don't get sick'), in 1953, TL formed the Association for Native Evangelism to encourage the establishment of indigenous churches as a follow up to his massive crusades. In 1958, he began a programme of "co-evangelism", essentially supporting native evangelists who used his films and distributed his literature. Typically, he supported a native missionary for only one year, training him or her to build self-supporting congregations, as wells as supplying vans, loudspeakers and other equipment. The Osborns reported in 1971 that these missionaries carried the gospel into nearly fifty thousand villages and areas, and that over 400 churches were planted per year. In 1992, the Osborns estimated that they had trained and supported more than 30,000 indigenous preachers.
The Osborns continued to take the power of God's word to all nations throughout the following decades. As they preached and taught, God confirmed the word with signs following. Their books and tracts have been published in 132 languages, while their famous docu-miracle crusade films, videos and audio cassettes have been translated into 67 languages and distributed throughout the world. Several of TL's books have become textbooks in Bible schools around the world.
After Daisy's death in 1995, TL was devastated by the loss of his wife and co-worker of almost 54 years. However, until his passing in 2013 at 89 years of age, TL continued to travel the world organising evangelistic crusades and training pastors. Having evangelised in 'non-Christian' nations for more than half a century it is no wonder that the Osborns are said to have preached to more people, and witnessed more healing miracles, than any other couple in history!
The Century of the Holy Spirit, 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001, Vinson Synan, pgs. 332-333
www.michaelreidministries.org - article on TL Osborn