Tommy Lee (T. L.) was born to Charles and Mary Osborn on December 23, 1923 on a small farm near the Pocasset Township area of Oklahoma. Tommy Lee was one of thirteen children and the family struggled through the depression years. By the time Osborn was 6 the family had moved to SKedee, Oklahoma to try another farm. We don’t know a lot of family history, but T.L. testified that he was converted around the age of 13 when his older brother took him to a small church in Mannford, Oklahoma. His family became friends with Oral Roberts, who was leading a small church in Sand Springs, Oklahoma in the mid 1930s. T. L. would go with Roberts to help with evangelistic meetings. He said “Oral did the preaching, and I did just about everything else.” One of his duties was playing an accordion for the musical portion of the meetings.
When he was 15 years old the presence of God came upon him while he was out finding the milk cows and he began to cry. He knelt to pray and ask God what it was about. God told him he was called to be a preacher, and he began to laugh and cry at the same time, not understanding what was happening to him. Osborn dropped out of school after completing eighth grade in 1939 and began traveling with E. M. Dillard, who was holding evangelistic meetings. Osborn was responsible for helping out and handling the youth services in the evenings. He traveled with Dillard for 2 1/2 years. Their travels took through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and eventually to California.
Daisy Washburn was born September 23, 1924 to poor fruit farmers in Merced, California. The family had 11 children and Daisy was devastated by trauma in her young life. When she was only eight her mother and older sister were killed in a car crash. Daisy had a salvation experience when she was twelve years old and accepted Christ. Unfortunately this did not protect her from difficult times. Within a few years two of her brothers committed suicide and her father was murdered. In 1941, while in California T. L. Osborn met Daisy. They were smitten and married in Los Banos, California on Easter day in 1942. He was 18 and she was 17 at the time.
The Osborns were affiliated with the Pentecostal Church of God denomination and worked as evangelists. Their initial efforts took them to rural Oklahoma, but they returned to California for two years as itinerant pastors and evangelists along the west coast. Around 1944 the couple moved to Portland, Oregano and started Montaville Tabernacle and became pastors. The denominational superintendent came and spoke at the new church. He had been a missionary in India. His passion for India and the lost were burnt into the Osborns hearts. In 1945 they left their fledgling church and headed out to India as missionaries at the ages of 21 and 20.
Things did not go as planned for the couple. People were kind, but since they did not believe the Bible was the Word of God, they wanted some other evidence that proved that Jesus was really the son of God. The Osborns could not produce the “evidence” they were looking for and so there was no fruit in their efforts. They lasted less than a year in India. They returned home with both T.L. Sr. and Jr. being extremely ill. They took over the pastorate of the Full Gospel Church in McMinnville, Oregano and attempted to recover from their failures. They knew they needed more of the power of God. They read biographies, books, sermons, and searched the scriptures. They prayed for more power. They tried to contact people with miracle ministries, but never made the connections they were longing for.
In March 1947 the Osborns heard that Charles S. Price had died. T.L. broke down and wept. It seemed that all the giants of the faith in miracles and healing had passed on and he had missed them all. He said “I thought of Wigglesworth, Gipsy Smith, of Kenyon, of Price, of Dowie, and of others, not one of whom I had met or heard preach, but they were gone forever from the world’s scene of action.” The couple were told of a woman named Hattie Hammond who was holding a meeting and speaking on the subject of “Seeing Jesus.” Hungering for more, they decided to go. The Osborns were stirred and when they returned home they prayed late into the night to see Jesus. The next morning at 6:00 am T. L. Osborn woke up and saw a vision of Jesus that changed his life forever. Osborn testified that Jesus stood in front of him and his senses were completely overwhelmed. His body became immobilized and tears poured out of eyes as he lay before the Lord. The experience drove one point home – Jesus was the Lord of Osborn’s life and Osborn would be His forever. He truly understood that the Lord loved him and had a plan for his life. Old ideas of success dropped away and from that point on he wanted only one thing – the glory of Jesus.
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