Editor’s note: Lorraine Pierce, widow of World Vision founder Dr. Bob Pierce, died on April 4, 2011, after a brief illness. Mrs. Pierce was 94. It was by the vision and calling of Lorraine’s late husband that World Vision was founded in 1950. Today, Dr. and Mrs. Pierce’s vision and dream to help those around the world lives on.
It is a time of mourning and also of celebration as the World Vision family honors the life of Lorraine Pierce, the spiritual ‘birth mother’ of World Vision, as many would say. I echo the words of our president, Rich Stearns, “The choruses in heaven must be especially sweet as this great saint is welcomed home.”
As I spent time this morning remembering the life of Lorraine Pierce, I recalled her gift to serve, her elegance, her wisdom and her godliness. These quotes, taken from interviews with Mrs. Pierce from 2000-2006, will forever remind me of her legacy of faithfulness.
On adjusting to a life of ministry with Bob Pierce:
“I never thought I would marry an evangelist. I don’t think that my husband expected to be an evangelist. We were going to have a church, and that seemed all right to me. But it didn’t turn out that way. When I realized that it was going to be evangelism, that we were going to have to be on the road, and it was a life that was absolutely opposed to what I expected for myself, then there had to be a change in me. It was not going to be in my husband. It had to be in me. And I knew it was worthwhile, and I knew it was necessary, but I was very, very fearful that I was in no way ready to do this job and this work along with him. So I knew well enough that it was necessary to die to self.”
On the early years of World Vision:
“God has given us through the years a daring that was there in the beginning. I think he gave to my husband a great portion of daring to trust God when there seemed to be no way, knowing that if he stepped out upon an empty void, he would certainly find a rock beneath his feet—and he did.”
On God’s Word:
“I’ve found that the four most important things are: worship, prayer, the Word, and music, which allows you to worship. I didn’t know the Word of God until the first obstacle in my life, when there wasn’t enough of man’s words to pull me through. It was the Navigators who taught me memorization of Scripture, and I’ve taught this to my children and grandchildren. I feel, when all is said and done, you find yourself in a corner where only what God says counts.”
On giving and serving:
“It’s a very natural thing to want to do more than we can do, but God understands that. Man looks at outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. And he just sees a heart that yearns to help or wants to do, and that’s what matters. When he sees the earnestness of that heart, he’s going to supply the need; he’s going to give that person what they need to have.”
Reflections on her life:
“It hasn’t been particularly easy to grow old. But you know, God knows that, too. And there’s a reason for all this. I have said to my children, and I’ve said to my friends, ‘Why am I still here?’ And the answer has been very simple: ‘Because God still has things for you to do.’ And that’s a wonderful answer for me.”
Read Jane’s Mother’s day message to Lorraine Pierce on the World Vision Magazine Blog.