At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 3, 2006, Dr. Evelyn Thompson passed from this life into the presence of the Lord. She died at her home in Pico Rivera, Calif., surrounded by immediate family and close friends. Sister Thompson had been a Foursquare minister for more than 68 years.
Laurissa Evelyn Leonard was born in Saugus, Calif., on October 4, 1909. She married Arthur Frances Thompson on September 6, 1924, just weeks shy of her fifteenth birthday. Although she had been converted and baptized at an early age, she was baptized in the Holy Spirit and received water baptism in 1934 at the Long Beach Foursquare Church. After graduating from L.I.F.E. Bible College (currently called Life Pacific College) in 1938, Sister Thompson entered evangelistic ministry with her husband. In October 1944, they accepted the pastorate of the Escondido (Calif.) Foursquare Church, leaving in September 1954 to go to the Philippines as missionaries.
Following a year in Manila, Evelyn and Arthur Thompson began ministering in Davao City on Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines. They were there until 1969 and established a Christian day school and Life Bible School, in addition to hundreds of Foursquare churches. Large numbers were saved and healed under the Thompsons’ ministry. It was during this time that the Thompsons adopted two children: Ramon and Joyce. They also “unofficially” added a third, Thel Bringas. These three helped alleviate the emptiness left by the loss of the Thompsons’ biological children, both of whom had died years previously. Sister Thompson did not limit her maternal inclinations to just family, however. Thousands affectionately called her “Nay Nay,” which means “beloved mother.” Following their extremely productive time in the Philippines, Arthur and Evelyn began a four-year missionary term in South Korea. After transitioning back to the United States in 1975, Sister Thompson became an associate pastor at Angelus Temple, acting as “radio pastor” and ministering to tens of thousands of listeners. She retired in 1996.
Sister Thompson received an honorary doctorate from L.I.F.E. Bible College in 1973, recognition she well deserved. Foursquare president, Dr. Jack W. Hayford, further honored her with these words, which appeared in the foreword of Sister Thompson’s biography: “I have seldom met so remarkable a person. Anna and I [have] been blessed to have a personal relationship with this lady–one who would make an excellent candidate for the title, ‘First Lady of 20th Century Christian Missions.'”
Sister Thompson is survived by her daughter, Joyce Pascua, Joyce’s husband, Jose, and their son, David (wife Heather); and her son Thel Bringas, Thel’s wife, Sonia, their son, Ken (wife Len), and Ken’s two children; several nieces and nephews. The Thompsons’ son Ramon preceded them in death.
The viewing for Sister Thompson will be Friday, December 8, from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. The memorial service will be Saturday, December 9, at 1:00 p.m. at the Florence Avenue Foursquare Church in Santa Fe Springs, Calif. Interment will be Monday, December 11, at 11:00 a.m. at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Thompson Christian School Memorial Fund. Further information is available from Forest Lawn: 800-204-3131.