Few evangelists have seen as much of the world as Lester Sumrall witnessed. As one of the most colorful preachers of the 20th century, Lester began as a fiery young preacher during the depression and by the time all was said and done left the world with a legacy of what simple and determined faith in God could accomplish. At the age of 74 he founded a global humanitarian ministry aimed at wiping out hunger among those struggling to survive amidst poverty, famine, disaster, and war. Lester Sumrall was a man who threw himself at the feet of Jesus Christ, possessing a zeal and commitment to God that still amazes those who knew him.
Lester Sumrall (1913-1996) was a world-renowned pastor and evangelist, entering full-time service for God after experiencing a dramatic and life-altering encounter with Jesus Christ. At the age of 17, as he lay on a deathbed suffering from tuberculosis, he received a vision. Suspended in midair to the right of his bed was a casket; on his left was a large open Bible. He heard these words: “Lester Sumrall, which of these will you choose tonight?” He made his decision – he would preach the Gospel as long as he lived. When Lester Sumrall awoke the next morning, he was completely healed and served the Lord for sixty-five years.
Lester Sumrall traveled the world ministering in 110 countries, including Soviet Siberia, Russia, Tibet, and China. During his life he penned over 130 books. His evangelistic association (LeSEA – Lester Sumrall Evangelistic Ministries headquartered in South Bend, Indiana), is still actively spreading God’s Word. LeSEA ministries include such outreaches as Indiana Christian University, Sumrall Publishing and LeSEA Broadcasting, which owns and operates 13 Christian television stations, 3 FM radio stations, 5 international shortwave radio station, and 2 Satelite channels covering the entire continents of Africa, Asia & Europe. LeSEA Broadcasting reaches 90% of the world’s population with the special purpose of bringing millions of souls to heaven.
Goodbye Planet Earth
“I am assured that this ministry will continue in the second generation, and I pray in the third as well, if Jesus tarries. We will experience success in our efforts to reach those million souls for Christ, if we continue to carry the same vision and consecration.
“Men who do not make provision for successors in business or ministry often leave behind problems that someone else has to clear up. Either that, or they leave no business or ministry at all. I feel that God will give a smooth transition for my uccessors, as I have provided them with an organization that can expand and grow. Instead of a mess, I will leave behind a well-organized, expertly managed evangelistic ministry. My sons will not have to struggle to match my accomplishments in the ministry either. They have developed a working relationship together that will far exceed anything I could accomplish alone.
“I can imagine my sons facing some dilemma in the ministry and asking one another, ‘What would Dad have done in this situation?’ I wish I could leave behind all the answers, but I cannot. In fact, that will not be necessary. I know the Holy Spirit is already guiding my sons as He has guided me. They will always have Him to turn to whenever they are not sure of the way.
“God draws patterns for lives of men and woman to instruct and direct them. He creates a special design for each rational being that is destined to live on this planet. If the individual wisely follows this divine blueprint, he will build a strong, successful, and happy character. Take time to analyze the life of a good man, and see that it was not achieved by accident or good fortune, but was a life in submission to the will of God.”
– Lester Sumrall