by William Thornton
Because of the offering in her name Charlotte Digges Moon, Lottie Moon to all of us, is the SBC’s most heroic figure, a completely subjective opinion but one that has forty years of selfless service in China as justification. Lottie Moon was a remarkable individual.
Regina Sullivan wrote the latest biography of Lottie Moon (cover image shown).
A new children’s book, Lottie Moon: Changing China for Christ by Nancy Drummond is reviewed by Andrew Wencl here.
Moon was an inspiring example, serving in China, pioneering with work in some parts of the interior. She lived through the Boxer rebellion, vigorously contended for the faith, and tirelessly asked Southern Baptists for support. Read the book, any of them.
I wouldn’t have any hesitation in naming Lottie Moon as one of my heroes in Christian ministry. In today’s SBC she may be ignored, save for the Christmas offerings, or perhaps idealized. It is not inaccurate to say that thousands of men now serve and have served overseas on the revenue stream of the offering named for her.
One side note. Our International Mission Board in it’s online Lottie Moon information features an unattractive “schoolgirl” photograph of jut-jawed Lottie. Biographer Regina Sullivan told me that she saw a letter from Lottie to the board asking that they not use that photograph. There are certainly many others available. I like the photographs of Lottie in the field with Chinese men and women.
I’m praying that the LMCO shows an increase this year. This single offering makes up about half of the IMB’s budget and is itself larger than the total budget of any single SBC entity. The 2014 offering was down about one million from the previous year’s record total.
10 things you probably didn’t know about Lottie Moon
1. When funding from the Foreign Mission Board was not sufficient to provide additional workers for Moon’s lonely and arduous mission in Pingtu, China, Lottie loaned the Board $1,000 to help support a new missionary. The sum is equivalent to about $25,000 today.
2. Moon’s home in the seaport city of Tengchow was once hit by a shell from a Japanese warship. Moon was not home at the time. The bombardment was part of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904-1905.
3. At the 1890 meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Ft. Worth, Texas, it was said Lottie Moon: “She is the greatest man among our missionaries.”
4. The Christmas offering later named for Lottie Moon was an idea copied from the Methodists.
5. Miss Moon was the first single female missionary woman sent out by the SBC Foreign Mission Board. No, not Lottie but her sister Edmonia (Eddie) who was one two single ladies appointed in April, 1872. Lottie followed soon thereafter in 1873. Eddie was often sick and left China for good in 1876.
6. Lottie Moon’s uncle once owned Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation, post Jefferson, of course.
7. When Moon arrived in China in 1873, she found that there was serious personal conflict among missionaries in the mission. This would cause difficulty for decades. She had to contend with and endure this constantly; whereas, the wars, famines, and plagues were just sporadic.
8. Among other things, Lottie endured at least two outbreaks of bubonic plague. She would simply close the school she was operating at the time and wait for the plague to pass.
9. When a new missionary asked Lottie in 1909 what the secret was to her long success in China (she had been in the country for 36 years at that point), Lottie answered, “Early to bed and do not worry.”
10. Since she died while on a ship in a Japanese harbor, Lottie was cremated. The ship’s captain was concerned that an embalmed body would not be allowed entry into the United States.
These are from “Lottie Moon: A Southern Baptist Missionary to China in History and Legend” by Regina D. Sullivan.
William Thornton has been a SBC pastor for almost three decades. He is allegedly retired. William blogs at SBC Plodder.