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 them 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 Daisy was only eight years old 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, Oregon 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, Oregon 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.
God wasn’t finished with the Osborns yet. He had heard their cries to see and hear the reality that Jesus still did miracles. In September 1947 the couple returned to pastor Montaville Tabernacle in Portland, Oregon.
William Branhan was traveling with Jack Moore and Gordon Lindsay holding healing meetings. They held meetings in November 1947 at the Portland Civic Auditorium. Daisy attended a meeting first because T. L. was in the midst of a denominational convention. She told T. L. about the meetings and he knew had to attend. The healings and miracles in Branham’s meetings were dramatic. He would call people out by name, tell them their sicknesses, and then pray for them and they would be healed.
The Osborns were overwhelmed with a new vision of the love of Jesus and the fact that He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” What impressed T. L. the most was that Branham exalted Jesus and showed Jesus’ ability to love and heal people. He saw Branham as a humble man simply doing what Jesus asked him to do. T. L. began weeping at what he saw Jesus doing. The blind saw, the deaf heard, and the crippled walked. T. L. said it was as if he heard a thousand voices saying “you can do that too.” Once more the couple was shaken to their roots.
The Osborns decided to read the Bible in a new way. They read about the miracles and the fact that Jesus gave His disciples the authority to do what He did. T. L. fasted all food and water for three days as he sought God’s presence.
The Lord spoke to him and said “As I’ve been with others, so I will be with you. Wherever you go, I will give you the land for your possession. No demon, no disease, or no power can stand before you all the days of your life, if you get the people to believe my Word.” They began to hold healing meetings at their church. Immediately they began to see healings and miracles.
Their first miracle was a woman who had been badly injured in a car accident and could barely walk with crutches. She came under the power of God and started walking normally around the room with her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes she was completely healed and gave testimony that she had heard an angelic choir singing the praises of God.
The missionary flame in the Osborns rose up once again. Now that they were seeing healings and miracles they felt they had the answer to reach the lost in foreign lands. They didn’t have a lot of money but they were invited to go to Jamaica and preach in early 1949. They became affiliated with the Voice of Healing Organization. They returned to the US and held meetings with William Branham, F. F. Bosworth, and Gordon Lindsay.
These meetings gave T. L. national attention, but the Osborns hearts were for the lost in foreign lands. Between 1950 and 1964 the couple held large crusades in 40 countries. In 1953 the Osborns formed the Association of Native Evangelism made up of local pastors to plant churches. The meetings were some of the largest ever held before that time. The meetings would often have tens of thousands of people attending, with large numbers of people being saved.
Wherever they went their ministry was marked by dramatic miracles and healings. There were also regular occurrences of people seeing Jesus in a meeting. In one meeting in Thailand over 100 people saw Jesus walking through the crowds.
In 1958 the Osborns set up a system of training and supporting local pastors for one year as their churches got off the ground. Osborn Ministries provided movies, video and audio equipment, and material support. It is estimated that over the Osborn’s lifetime they have supported over 30,000 local pastors and helped see the Gospel preached in 50,000 villages. Their vision was that the ministry was not focused on them but on seeing the Gospel preached worldwide.
In the 1960s many of the healing and deliverance ministries that had started in the 1940s and 50s were fading away or focusing on other directions like education. The Osborns moved their headquarters to Tulsa, Oklahoma. They strove to make themselves relevant to the culture and to reach the lost internationally. Their ministry continued when many others closed down. Daisy also became increasingly visible in the ministry speaking to women worldwide about their place in God.
The couple was very media savvy and produced many books, media recordings, and a magazine called “Faith Digest.” Their books and tracts were published in 132 languages. The video miracle meetings were translated into 67 languages. The couple was very active and by the 1980s they had traveled to over 70 nations holding large crusades.
Daisy went to be with the Lord in 1995. Her husband continued ministering as his health allowed. T. L. Osborn died on February 14, 2013 after many years of faithful service.
Sources – Healing and Revival Press