Larry Draper stands with his wife of 53 years, Sandy. The longtime evangelist and pastor died Aug. 21 at the age of 75. FACEBOOK/Photo
By Gordon Cloud
Described as a faithful servant of the cross, evangelist Larry Draper died Aug. 21 at his home in Rome.
That’s how long-time friend Eddie Watters remembers Draper, known as an able and avid expositor of Scripture. Watters said Draper knew more about the Bible and was able to extract more information from a verse than anyone he has ever known.
“He made the Bible come alive, to everyone,” he claims.
Born in 1944 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Draper served in ministry for 58 years as a music minister, pastor, evangelist, and missionary. He devoted most of his life to full-time ministry, receiving his education from Samford University, Southwestern Seminary, and Luther Rice Seminary.
Watters related a story Draper had shared with him from one of his early trips to Russia.
“He had several boxes of Bibles, which he was distributing on the street of the city he was visiting. As he bent over to get Bibles out of the box, he said the air above him was literally filled with the hands of people who were desperately reaching for a copy of God’s Word.
“One of the last to receive a Bible was a very old Russian woman, who lovingly clutched the Bible. As she walked away, she said something in the Russian language. The interpreter told Dr. Draper, ‘She said that all her life she had heard of a book that told her she had a Savior. Now she has one.’”
Draper described that encounter as one of the high points of his ministry, leading him on many more mission endeavors to other countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Belarus, Crimea, and Siberia. He also trained pastors and preached in Ecuador, Haiti, Nepal, and Greece. An estimated 400 churches were planted overseas under his ministry.
On those mission trips Draper sought for every advantage in sharing the gospel, for example, even growing a beard so he could better relate to the men in Pakistan.
Charles Drummond, North Georgia Region state missionary with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, remembers how faithfully Draper’s wife, Sandy, supported him throughout his ministry and attended him toward the end of his life.
After his last pastorate, West Rome Baptist Church in Rome, Draper founded Sound the Trumpet Ministries which became the base ministry for his evangelistic work and 55 mission trips. This organization would prove to be a catalyst in allowing worldwide opportunities for him to share the Gospel.
Funeral services were held for Draper Aug. 26 at Calvary Baptist Church in Rome with Michael Rodgers and Edwin Hayes officiating. In lieu of flowers the family asked for contributions to be made to Sound the Trumpet Ministries, PO Box 2459, Rome, GA 30164.
A native of Bainbridge, Gordon Cloud is a writer and senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Camilla.