Billie Wallace says she’ll never forget the day Pat Fleming Bohannon was supposed to rush into Five Points Baptist Church, Northport, dressed as missions hero Lottie Moon.
The skit was to help the church celebrate the 125th anniversary of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) six years ago and Wallace says Bohannon always committed fully.
She knew Bohannon meant to rush in, but in the moment she thought, “Wow, she’s really playing this up.”
Turns out Bohannon had tripped and fallen unintentionally on the way in, but had worked it into her monologue somehow and kept right on going.
‘A missions woman’
“She went right on with it,” Wallace said. “She’s 87 now so she would’ve been 81 then.
She would do anything like that — she loved promoting missions. And she always committed all the way.”
That’s why Bohannon has gotten the reputation as the church’s very own Lottie Moon — because of her commitment, Wallace said. “She came to Five Points in 2001 and we knew right away she was a missions woman.”
Bohannon grew up in Girls Auxiliary and she’s felt like God was calling her to missions ever since.
But then her course looked like it might be different than what she planned — she married a preacher.
“We got married right out of seminary in 1956, and when I married him he was thinking he was called to be a pastor,” Bohannon said of her first husband, Binion Fleming. “But then one Sunday God spoke to him and he said to me, ‘How do you feel about being a missionary?’”
She told him she was ready to go. The couple applied to the Foreign Mission Board (now the International Mission Board) and a few months later they were leading a church in Guam.
But the Flemings’ missions work didn’t end in Guam.
Over the course of their life together they racked up years serving as missionaries with the Home Mission Board (now the North American Mission Board) in Montana and Washington.
After her husband died Bohannon moved to Northport to be closer to family. She joined Five Points Baptist and continued her missions work there.
She married Ken Bohannon and the two carried on ministry in both of their churches — Five Points Baptist and St. Mark United Methodist Church, where he taught Sunday School.
After he died she kept the same schedule and taught the class at St. Mark in his place.
It’s been a joy
Now in her late 80s, Pat says she’s slowing down a bit, but everything she’s been involved in has “been a joy.”
“All my life it’s been a privilege to be able to share what God means to me and to reach into the lives of other people,” she said.
Five Points Baptist recently honored Bohannon’s legacy by purchasing a brick in her name on WMU’s new Walk of Faith brick garden.
For more information on how to honor a missions hero visit wmufoundation.com/walkoffaith. (WMU Foundation)