A skeptic nicknamed "Devil." A strong-willed child who climbed through a kitchen window, while her mother was at church, to cook a forbidden hot Sunday dinner. A schoolgirl who told her best friend she would rather read Shakespeare than listen to a sermon.
What were Southern Baptists thinking when in 1918 they named their annual offering for international missions after Charlotte "Lottie" Diggs Moon?
They were thinking of a woman who put away childish things and accepted the hardships of rural China over a privileged lifestyle in the United States. They were thinking about a woman whose eloquent letters home reflected a passion for telling the Chinese about Jesus. They were thinking of the person who convinced Southern Baptist women to observe a week of prayer and self-denial at Christmas in order to send more missionaries. And they were thinking of a woman who ultimately gave her own life, starving herself because her beloved Chinese had nothing to eat and her beloved Foreign Mission Board was deeply in debt.
Today, Lottie Moon "stands in" for more than 4,900 missionaries with similar commitment to their people, whether it is the Isaan of Thailand, refugees in London, or the Ayizo of Benin.
Today's missionaries remain convinced that God will move among the people they've committed their lives to. They share Lottie's urgency as they seek to minister in the face of AIDS, war, hunger, natural disasters, and growing political and religious opposition.
Today's missionaries want their fellow Christians to share their urgency and provide the resources to reach the 1.7 billion with almost no access to the gospel and the millions more who have yet to hear a clear presentation of God's offer of eternal life.
You can be a part of what God is doing by giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. Since the first offering in 1888, the proceeds have been used to support missionaries and their work overseas. None of the offering is used for stateside administration and promotion.
As you think about what you will give, consider what is necessary to support you and your family. Missionaries need the same support, plus support for their ministries.
Consider, for example:
• You can pass up one trip to the movies and help make it possible for a missionary to show the Jesus film to a people group who can't read.
• You can drink tap water instead of bottled water for one week and help pay the salary of a missionary couple living where tap water must be boiled or filtered to be safe for drinking.
• You can carpool with a co-worker for a month and make it possible for a missionary to buy gasoline for driving to villages where he is discipling new believers.
• You can urge your Sunday School to give the equivalent of a year's housing costs for a family of four in your community and make it possible for a missionary family to live in a city where they can minister to refugees from many unreached people groups.
• You can head to the library instead of buying that book you've been wanting and help a missionary provide Bibles to new Christians just learning to read.
• You can give up meat for a week and help provide the salary a missionary couple uses to feed their family.
• You can cut back $10 on Christmas spending for each member of your family and support a missionary who is telling another family the Christmas story for the first time.