Lottie Moon

Lottie Moon

 Lottie Moon by Louise Barbour

Lottie Moon was born in Virginia on December 12, 1840. She was named Charlotte Digges Moon, but everyone called her "Lottie." She grew to be a cultured and educated woman. In 1873, she obeyed God's call to go to China to share the gospel.

Lottie spent most of her years in Tengchow and P'ingtu, China. She wore Chinese clothes and lived like the Chinese people. The Chinese people respected Lottie. Her missions work won many Chinese to Christ.

Lottie loved the Chinese people. She often made personal sacrifices to help the Chinese. When there was not enough food for the people, Lottie gave away her food. She ate so little that she suffered from malnutrition. She was very sick. A missionary nurse was bringing her home to the US to see a doctor. But Lottie died on board a ship in the harbor at Kobe, Japan. She died on December 24, 1912. She was 72 years old.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

Who is Lottie? Many Southern Baptists don’t know who Lottie Moon is or why their churches are constantly raising money for her at Christmas.

Is Lottie Moon a creditor, like Sallie Mae or Freddie Mac?

Not at all. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) provides critical funding for Southern Baptists’ international missions efforts. An annual goal is set by the WMU Executive Board in consultation with the International Mission Board’s executive staff, allowing Southern Baptists to send and equip missionaries around the world.

The offering is named for Lottie Moon, a missionary to China whose letters pleading for mission support still resonate today. She died December 24, 1912, after living a life of total sacrifice to God and the people of China.

The LMCO can help reconnect Southern Baptists to the core of Christmas—Jesus was born to save the world.

To raise LMCO awareness in your Adults on Mission group or other small group, download IMB videos. And spur prayer support by learning about the missionaries featured during the Week of Prayer for International Missions.

Praying and Giving

Missionaries tell us that our prayers are the most important thing we can do for them. Opening my eyes to the world around me causes me to spend more time in prayer for missionaries and Christians around the world. WMU keeps us focused on them, where they minister, and the difficulties they encounter as they serve God.

As I communicate with missionaries through social media, I find myself drawn into their world by the stories and pictures of their people groups and their ministry. I am especially drawn to my brothers and sisters around the world who are being persecuted because they bear the name of Christ.

My family has designated the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® as our “Christmas Gift for Jesus” and no gift we give others compares to this gift. You might want to consider putting your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering in an envelope this year, tie a red ribbon around it, and mark it “To: Jesus. From:_____.”

Over the Hills and Everywhere

With much anticipation—for the whole month of December—you have been preparing for Christmas day. You have trimmed trees, strung colorful lights, and hung stockings with care. You have baked delicious treats, mailed Christmas cards, wrestled crowded shopping malls to find the perfect presents, and attended multiple Christmas parties with coworkers, friends, and family. Perhaps you’ve even had some quiet moments to watch a favorite Christmas movie, wrapped up in front of a crackling fire and sipping a cup of hot cocoa!

Hopefully, you’ve had other opportunities as well to inwardly prepare for the real reason of the season—the coming of the Christ child into the world. Perhaps you have spent time reading Scripture, participating in Advent devotions, or turning to our Father in prayer.

Give and Pray

It is December, time to trim the tree, decorate the house inside and out, and send Christmas cards. Not to mention shop. Shop for family, friends, co-workers, the pastor’s family, the mail carrier, Sunday School teachers, and school teachers. Then there is the entertaining, baking, Christmas parties, Christmas cantatas, and everything else that we are supposed to do in December. Wow! Are you tired yet?

All these things are so fun and make Christmas special and memorable, but they aren’t what Christmas is all about. Christmas is about the incredible Gift that was given to us all, Jesus. We need to make sure that all our activities are about Him and not just about the holiday.

When Lottie Wrote to Annie

If you come for a tour at the National WMU building in Birmingham, Alabama, you are bound to see the letter. That’s right, the letter written by Lottie Moon in 1889 to Annie Armstrong. Perhaps the 2 most influential women in Baptist life at the turn of the 20th century, Annie and Lottie both left an incredible legacy.

So, what does a letter from the most celebrated missionary to the most recognized supporter of missionaries look like? It’s all about the task at hand.

There is work to be done. While Lottie expresses gratitude for what has already been given, she sees a need for greater commitment. She urges Annie to send as many workers as possible to join her in China. So much had already been accomplished, but with each passing year, Lottie knew she alone could not see the job through to the end.

Emphasize International Missions

Look at the Southern Baptist Convention’s calendar and you’ll see that almost every Sunday, week, or month, there is an emphasis placed on something: senior adults, worship music, the Cooperative Program, etc. The first week in December is set aside for international missions.

And there are a number of ways your church can emphasize international missions this week and every week:

A Collaborative Ministry in Thailand

McIntosh Family

Claire and Mark McIntosh* work among a people who are mired in poverty and hopelessness. Their ministry speaks to the truth that in sharing God’s love, we must also meet people’s physical needs.

The McIntoshes help villagers find sources of clean water, provide seeds, share sustainable sources of protein, and enrich education. They teach a group of women how to weave baskets and purses that can be sold in order to earn money for their families. As the McIntosh family engages in community development, they build relationships and share stories of God’s love and care.

Mr. McIntosh shares that in one village, lack of food led to many health problems. Through funding provided by the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® and the Cooperative Program, Mr. and Mrs. McIntosh gave the people seeds and taught them how to garden and save seed for future crops. They educated the people about soil maintenance and gave them chickens as an ongoing source of protein. When they began ministering here, no one knew Jesus. Now, there are 39 followers of Jesus in this village!

Surrender Reaps Eternal Results

In December 2000, Jeff and Barbara Singerman and their family were held at gunpoint in their Benin home; death seemed certain.

Instead the robbers left in the Singermans’ truck that was purchased with funds from the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.

“On that very day, we were being featured in the Week of Prayer for International Missions,” Barbara Singerman said. “That incident generated greater boldness in our lives . . . and made us more willing to preach Christ to the death.”

She knows surrender to Jesus stretches a believer, fostering greater dependence upon Him.

After 24 years of sharing Jesus with and loving the people of Benin, God moved the Singermans to Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Leaving the Beninese “was one of the most painful experiences of our lives,” Barbara Singerman said. “But God calls us to obey, even when obedience is excruciatingly painful.”

Doing Less Brings Peace

Missionary, wife, and mother of 4 Heidi Sivonen is learning that doing less brings peace to her home.

“As a big family, we have learned as parents and as a couple that we need to prioritize life in such a way as to not be busy-bodies. Protecting the family from ‘busy-ness’ and learning to say no to the plethora of opportunities has helped us to create more peace in the home. Our ministry is full and we need to know our limits as we take up our cross and follow Jesus.”

Heidi and her husband, Mikko, serve as church planters in Finland. Mikko is the church-planting pastor of Espoon Kotikirkko and cofounder and coleader of Agricola Theological Institute, where he helps train local church members, elders, and pastors in church planting. Heidi helps a national crisis pregnancy group (her husband’s church houses 1 of 10 trained crisis pregnancy centers in Finland) and blogs at HousewifeUniversity.blogspot.com.

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