In memoriam: Emeritus missionary Nannette Lites, 81

Nannette Webb Lites

Nannette Webb Lites, an emeritus International Mission Board missionary who shared the gospel among East Asian Peoples in Taiwan and Colombia, died Feb. 8, 2019. She was 81.

Born Sept. 8, 1937, on a cotton farm in Dyess, Ark., she grew up in Wilson, Ark. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Ouachita Baptist College (now University) in Arkadelphia, Ark., and a master’s degree in social services from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She also attended New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

She married Milton A. Lites of Garland, Ark., on August 2, 1962. They were appointed as IMB missionaries in November 1969. She was included in Outstanding Young Women in America in 1972, and she published “When Children Sing,” a collection of children’s songs in Chinese.

“When I enrolled for my junior year I changed my major to religion,” Lites wrote in her application for missionary service. “In studying the writings of Paul I began to see how deeply our Southern Baptist mission work is rooted in the New Testament. I also began to form a concept of how my life and talents might be used in this great mission enterprise. I thought for a time that it was a very realistic concept, but after attending the Missions Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that spring, I realized that I had eliminated myself because I thought God called only perfect people to serve as missionaries.”

“In November I attended the state B.S.U. convention where in a quiet moment in the final service I received at least one answer; God was definitely calling me to serve as a foreign missionary,” she wrote.

Her service with the IMB included the roles of director, Taiwan Baptist Mission Language and Orientation Center in Taipei; and counselor and cross-cultural consultant with the Community Services Center in Taipei. They transferred to Colombia in October 1994, where she served as a church and home worker in Bogota.

She is survived by her husband of 56 years, Milton A. Lites; their children, Emily Lites Barnard and Phillip Lites, both of Arlington, Texas; and grandchildren Amy and Natalie Barnard, Sara Lites and Allison Lites Bender.

Read her obituary here.