myMISSION Blog

Eight Things You Need to Know About Lottie Moon

Many people in our Baptist churches ask each year, “Who is Lottie Moon?” Others have been giving money in her honor for so many years they ask, “When will ‘the debt’ to her ever be paid?”

Let’s learn a few things about Lottie Moon.

Christmas and Missions

Growing up in a Baptist church there are two distinct times of the year that I remember different looking offering envelopes in the back of the church pews. It was around Christmas and Easter. These special offerings are named for two past servants of Jesus on the missions field, abroad and at home—Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. These two offerings then and today provide for the missionaries who serve “at home” (North American Mission Board, or NAMB) and “abroad” (International Mission Board, or IMB).

During December, WMU® provides an excellent resource to intentionally explore an international missions field and its needs. This year the focus is Indonesia. I am super excited about the literature and resources they have available to explore all the areas of this country; it will be like taking a trip minus the airfare.

Taking Christmas on the Road

Our group had just been formed two months before Christmas when I threw out the idea of taking a Christmas program to an assisted living facility. With all the rush in December, I was surprised when they jumped on it. The emails and texts flew as we began assigning tasks.

The Saturday morning arrived. One of our members brought her whole family—husband and 2 preschool children. Another mom who heard about the project drove over with her 2 young children as well. We had all ages who gathered that day.

Once the residents gathered, we began by singing some familiar Christmas carols. One of our members read the Christmas story from the Bible. I took the picture book, The Legend of the Candy Cane, and read it to the residents as one of our members’ daughter turned the pages so that everyone could see. Afterwards we talked about the symbolism in the story (which really is more suited for the adult residents’ understanding than for children) and the reminder of God’s love for us at Christmas through this simple candy.

Just Checking In

About a year and a half ago, our family found itself in a large first world city in Africa. We were there for medical appointments and were able to stay in an apartment complex with other missionaries. There was one woman who lived there year round due to the ministry that her husband led. When I hear the word humility I think of her.

Lee is a beautiful woman full of grace and truth. She speaks and you are wise to listen. She spoke wisdom into my heart during a time when I needed to hear it. She had me over for deep conversations and prayer. She invited me over to watch her favorite movie. She had our whole family over for dinner the night we flew in because she knew we would be tired and hungry. She is one of my favorite people.

Her humility exalts the Lord in all she does. Lee is real and honest in a world that is incredibly easy to be fake in. She is a hugger and I would absolutely love one of those hugs right now. I can see her smile and the wave of her hand as she would walk by, "just to check in.” I am grateful for her heart, her love for others, and her humble way of living her life.

Words of Wisdom

Is there a particular phrase that you can recall hearing more than most from growing up? For me, the words “Be thankful and have a humble heart” come to mind. Whether in school, church, or in the community these are words that have resonated with me even into adulthood.

There are times when the scale of humility teeters from modesty/not prideful to not worthy/no credit deserved. It is important to understand the context in which we use the words humble and humility and where our heart is in the process.

As children we are quick to be prideful because our world revolves around us. It is important to teach humility to our children. As we get older, humility can be seen more as “the quiet, silent type”; shown by individuals who address a need or concern and do not make it a public announcement. They know the need or concern being addressed is far greater than the need of drawing attention to themselves.

Where Is My Confidence?

Plopping down in the back row of my all-day training, I was planning on relaxing while listening to the day’s sessions. Taking notes, while making side comments to my neighbors, I didn't expect what was going to happen next.

A man I had never met before, who was taking a new position, came to introduce himself and share his testimony. After a few funny slides of his wife and children flashed on the screen, he had my attention. He shared his journey to faith and to ministry, and then he flashed an unexpected verse on the screen:

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jere. 17:7–8 NIV).

He began to dissect the verse, sharing with us how it mattered to his journey to live God's Kingdom out in His day to day life. His points passed through my ears, while my eyes welling with tears stared at the verse on the screen.

How to Love

Many times I have wished the English language did a better job at breaking down the word “love.” In the Hebrew language, “love” is broken down into raya, ahava, and dod. In Greek we read of phileo, agape, and eros. Both languages break down “love” into the aspects of friendship, commitment/relational, and passion. Why does the English language ball all these aspects into just one word?

Our relationship with the Lord should be our number one priority and should be the first love of our life. But in our culture and with the definition of love as we have, it is difficult for us to grasp and identify what this looks like. How do I begin to compare and define love for my husband, my children, my family, and my Lord? It can’t be the same for all. We are talking about the love for a Savior Who died for us, an eternal love, and a love for those in my life that is an earthly, temporal love.

Unconditional

 One big slip.

That’s what I was always waiting for—that one moment when I would slip up and it would be too major for a recovery.

God would look down on me in disdain and walk out the door. 

Deep places within my heart have believed this for years. I always wondered if my tenacious heart would eventually exhaust God and He would call it quits.

I built cadences of work and production into my spirituality in order to prove to God my loyalty and hopefully earn His love.

I knew the gospel. I had heard it my entire life, but it took being transplanted to the Middle East to learn unconditional love.

I had lived my life under the “A student” mentality. Hard work eventually pays off and everything should or at least could receive a grade. 

Rules set before me from a young age became my benchmark for affection. I believed in the pit of my soul that love is only earned.

Until God took me to the end of my effort, to a distant land where I no longer knew the measures of success. He took me out of the realms of a grade to tell me He loved me. 

Unconditionally.

Keep Knocking

It’s easy to pray for wisdom during a test, courage for a job interview, or safety while traveling home. We’re confident that God can answer those prayers. More than that, the answer to the prayer (or the result of the situation) is coming soon. You pass the test, don’t get the job, or arrive safely at home.

However, praying for people can be different, especially people you don’t like or agree with. I’m ashamed to admit that I have thought, “Is it really worth praying for them? They’re never going to change.” Even though I may not feel like praying for someone, I have to realize that I don’t act upon my feelings. I act in obedience to God’s Word.

In Luke 11:5–8, Jesus tells a story about a man whose friend showed up at his house at midnight. The man had no food to offer the traveler, so he ran to another friend, banged on the door, and asked for three loaves of bread. The supposed “friend” answered, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything” (Luke 11:7 NIV).

Loving Her

Most think that just because we are missionaries we must all get along. Somehow when we go under that occupation label, all of our humanness leaves us. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's simply not true.

We simply wouldn't have been real life friends, our personalities didn't mix well; these were actually things we talked about, joked over, and had a few laughs in between. We knew that a deep friendship would have never happened in normal circumstances. However, we found ourselves thousands of miles from our home culture and in a place where few foreigners lived. We were about to spend lots of time together.

Weekly (and hourly if I knew we were about to see each other), I'd pray for common ground. I'd pray for His love to overpower any petty things I felt when spending time with her. I wanted to love her and I wanted her to love me. Slowly, the Lord built a friendship based on Him. He was our common ground. He had given us both a love for this place that we now called home. He had created our personalities, which means He knew how different we were. He knew that we'd be together thousands of miles away from our friends and family. He knew we'd struggle.

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