Note About Sister Lawrie
The biography of Bro. Lawrie is not complete without reference to the great help rendered by his wife Ebenezer Natchathiram Lawrie in his ministry. Throughout all the hard trials and severe testing the whole family was drilled through, she had been a staunch help and an inspiration. She had boundless energy, administrative acumen and eagerness to serve God, which goes to prove that she was truly the God-chosen wife of this man, who has such a great position in the plan of God for future ages.
Sister Lawrie was born in Toungoo in Myanmar (Burmah) on June 10, 1928. Her father Mr. V.D. Gnanam was an accountant in the Public Works Department for the British Government in Myanmar when she was born. She was the 4th child of her family. In the year 1935, the family came back to India and settled at their village called Nallur, Tirunelveli District.
Their entire family was a God-fearing family and prayerful. Both parents were upright and so were the children. Every Sunday the children were asked to memorize Scriptures and keep singing the Hymns almost all the time after the morning Church service. Before Sis. Lawrie had completed her High School, she had read the whole Bible three times from cover to cover. In spite of it she was just a church-going Christian and had no experience of salvation.
She had some college education in the Sarah Tucker College, for Women at Tirunelveli for two years. Her college curriculum included some teacher’s training too. Before she finished her college education, her marriage was fixed and she was engaged to Bro. Paulaseer Lawrie. Only at the time of engagement did she come to know that Bro. Lawrie was a close friend of her elder brother Raja Simeon.
Bro. Lawrie had experienced salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ even before his marriage. Therefore after marriage he asked his wife whether she had been saved. She said she was going to church regularly and that she had read the Bible three times and prayed everyday and therefore she would go to heaven.
She could not understand salvation. This led to arguments between them. When Bro. Lawrie would go to prayer meetings, she would go to the movies with the women in the neighbourhood. She was not co-operating with Bro. Lawrie in spiritual things. It was later that she could experience salvation and receive the Peace of God.
In her exercise of discipline, she used to be stern. She was a no nonsense person when it came to enforcing discipline especially in her children. She was dedicated to bringing up the children in the Godly way. She used to sing hymns as lullabies to get her children to sleep. Her favourite bed-time stories were about Joseph, Moses, David and Goliath, Manna, Life and miracles of Jesus Christ etc. which she could tell in a gripping manner holding the attention of children.
Her eldest son Deva-Evu says that those bed-time stories are still green in his mind. She even made him finish reading the Gospel of St. John completely when he was four years old. Thereafter she encouraged him to read the Bible. She also made him read “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan which he read many times and made it one of his favourite books next to the Bible.
When the eldest son Deva-Evu was dying of Diphtheria she and Bro. Lawrie promised that they would relinquish their livelihood at Sri Lanka and return to India to do the Lord’s Work. But it was only when Bro. Lawrie had the attack of diphtheria at the American Hospital (CMCH), Vellore that she committed herself wholly for the ministry and promised to co-operate with her husband fully in the ministry.
Thereafter Sister Lawrie was on fire for God and nothing could stop her. Her indefatigable labour had been a major contribution in the ministry. She was in total charge of the correspondence of the ministry. She used to sit almost day and night to reply letters. She used to reply the letters prayerfully quoting appropriate Scriptures to encourage people in their spiritual lives.
She used to take down the addresses whenever people came and met Bro. Lawrie or her and saw to it that some letter or book was dispatched to them. Even if she found somebody’s old address she used to write something and send. According to the spiritual depth and standard of the person concerned, she knew what book to send to that person. She had a very strong memory and could remember faces and facts to the minutest detail.
She saw to it that the Message books of Bro. Branham too were sent out to all those thousands of addresses. She had the ability to get others too involved actively in the work connected with correspondence and other fields and supervise them as the ministry grew. She would patiently teach them how to write letters and also how to make book packets to send out.
She knew the Bible very well and was a living concordance. Even Bro. Lawrie sometimes referred to her for Bible data and other information. While preaching, if he was stuck up for reference or a name, all he had to do was to have a quick glance in her direction. She would immediately respond with the necessary information, like a living computer.
In the early ministry, she was a powerful preacher of the truth. She sometimes used to interpret for Bro. Lawrie in the vernacular when he spoke in English. Later she found that the Word of God forbade the women to preach through the messages of William Branham. Thereafter she stopped preaching in the meetings.
Sis. Lawrie had multifarious duties to perform in the day-to-day activities of the Ashram, and she was always busy from morning till late in the night, solving problems and catering to the needs of those in the Ashram, especially the ladies and also entertaining visitors. She was well-loved and respected by all members.
In spite of the great ministry the Lawries had, she always was humble and kept a low profile. She could not bear to see anything wasted whether it was food or anything. Even for the ordinary simple things she could find some good use. She was always level-headed and was not carried away by emotions or flattery. She was very much devoted to her duties.
When the Moon-landing message of Bro. Lawrie was explained to her, she found it difficult to swallow it at first as she was the wife of the very person concerned and knew all about him. It was after checking with the Scriptures and the message of Bro. Branham that she found the message and experience to be in order.
Sister Lawrie was never a ‘yes-man’ of Bro. Lawrie who would take any new message at face value. She had to see it in the Scriptures. In all the years of the ministry her unending support complemented the work of Bro. Lawrie and the ministry. Bro. Lawrie many times said, when his faith would be wavering, in times of difficulty she would be the strong one encouraging him to go forward saying, God would provide.
On August 29, 1990, our dear and well beloved Sister Lawrie passed away. She was 61 years old. It was exactly one and a half years after the departure of Bro. Lawrie. Her exemplary life was one of spiritual dedication to her God, to her husband, to her children and grandchildren, and to the ministry.
She was affectionately called Amma (mother) by many, and indeed she was spiritual mother to a multiple of hundreds who were inspired by her life. She is sorely missed by the people of this ministry. It is thought that she had a premonition of her impending death. She was not ill or bed-ridden.
A few days before her death, she had been busy cleaning her rooms and she was telling her grandchildren that she was going to see Bro. Lawrie. A few months earlier she had a very vivid dream that she was in heaven before a very great mansion. Bro. Lawrie was standing at the door and took her inside the lovely place. He said, “See the place I have prepared for you.” We can be sure we shall see her at the resurrection of the dead saints.