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7-year-old’s Christmas cards boost Lottie Moon offering

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BP)–At a time of the year when most children are thinking about the gifts they’ll get for Christmas, 7-year-old Rebecca Foster is busy handcrafting Christmas cards to raise money for missionaries serving overseas.

Rebecca has created her own line of Christmas cards and, for the second year in a row, is donating all the proceeds to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, which along with the Cooperative Program supports Southern Baptist international missionaries. Moon spent nearly 40 years in China as a missionary before she died in 1912.

“God gave me a gift for doing art. I want people all over the world to know about God,” Rebecca, who is homeschooled, wrote in an e-mail to family and friends, explaining the Christmas card program.

Last year, she made $100 for missions and this year she doubled her goal to $200, which she achieved in November. Since then she has raised her total to nearly $500 and was taking orders through Dec. 20.

Rebecca bundles her cards in packages of 10 and asks for a minimum donation of $6 per package. Her mother Susan estimates she has spent 50 to 60 hours this year creating and assembling the cards. Her parents pay for the supplies so all the money received can go directly to missions.

With nearly 800 Christmas cards finished so far this year, the program has turned into a family business. Rebecca’s father, Michael, coordinates printing, while her brother Nathan, 5, and her mother help as needed.

The process, which includes such tasks as gluing a button on the top of Christmas trees and spray painting, has taught Rebecca about planning and thinking in steps, Susan Foster says. Rebecca also accompanies her mother to the bank and signs checks to make deposits.

“We’re very proud of her and we think it’s wonderful, especially at Christmastime, to have her thinking about other people besides herself. We’re trying to do everything to support her,” Susan told The Tennessean newspaper, which ran an article about Rebecca’s Christmas cards.

Rebecca’s artistic ability has been recognized by the local county fair, where five of her six entries won ribbons, including a first-place blue ribbon.

Her interest in missions comes from an intentional effort by her parents to teach both their children about missionaries and to pray for them. Their work is reinforced through the Fosters’ church, ClearView Baptist in Franklin, Tenn., where Rebecca attends a “Kids on Mission” class on Sunday nights.

“Children who serve … become adults who serve,” Susan said. “Church is a very instrumental part.”

Jennie Ross, ClearView’s children’s administrator, said the church’s goal is to teach the children how to know, grow, serve and share. “Rebecca has taken this to heart and puts her faith in action,” Ross said.

Rebecca’s Christmas card fundraiser was sparked by a video about missions she saw at ClearView last year. Rebecca decided she wanted to raise money to help and thought about drawing pictures. Susan suggested turning them into Christmas cards.

“God said to tell all nations about Him,” Rebecca said when asked about her interest in missions.

After learning that some missionaries in Africa pay $12 a month to rent a hut, Rebecca is especially interested in helping meet missionaries’ physical needs so they can continue reaching others with the Gospel.

Rebecca’s cards have been sent around the world, including to missionaries in Russia and Zimbabwe and troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to the Lottie Moon offering, she is thinking of ways to help with the upcoming Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American Missions.

Rebecca, her mother and brother also do missions work locally, visiting several people in a nursing home each week and working at the Operation Christmas Child drop-off center at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home.

“We try to do missionary work so [Rebecca and Nathan] know missionaries don’t just go to Africa,” Susan said.

Southern Baptist churches collect the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to support the International Mission Board’s 5,500 missionaries and their work. This year’s Week of Prayer for International Missions, Nov. 30-Dec. 7, focused on missionaries who serve in South America as well as churches partnering with them, using the theme, “GO TELL the story of Jesus.” The national offering goal is $170 million.
Don Beehler is a writer in Franklin, Tenn. To learn more about Rebecca Foster’s project in behalf of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, write Rebecca: [email protected].

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  • Don Beehler