The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, named for a devoted missionary to China, is the primary funding vehicle for Southern Baptists to support overseas missionary efforts. It provides nearly 50 percent of the IMB funding, with every dollar given to the offering being used in the overseas budget. This year's Lottie Moon offering goal of $125 million is part of a larger challenge to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Cooperative Program. SBC leaders hope to raise a total of $750 million through CP, the Lottie Moon offering, and the Annie Armstrong offering for North American missions combined. Currently, CP funds account for roughly 35 percent of the IMB's budget.
Today, nearly 5,000 IMB missionaries are serving on international missions fields. Following are examples of some common costs that they incur. Perhaps God can use these examples to challenge groups within your church as they decide on their own contributions to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering.
$20 will provide:
• Prayer advocacy material in Peru
• Fuel for a 150-mile ministry trip in Europe
$100 will provide:
• Ten church-planting start-up kits in South America
• Software for a missionary in the Far East
$493 will provide:
• Screening for bilharzia for 100 children in Yemen
$1,000 will provide:
• Air time for Christian broadcasting in Peru
$4,870 will provide:
• Two months of training for fifty evangelists in Ethiopia
$10,000 will provide:
• A boat to reach "unreached" people along the Zambezi River in South Africa
$49,524 will provide:
• Four-by-four vehicle for ministry among the Afar and the Djibouti peoples
$100,000 will provide:
• Two missionary residences in Ecuador
Who was Lottie?
by Anita Bowden
A hand-written plea for more help – for more missionaries – written more than 100 years ago by a single female missionary in China, touched hearts and caused Southern Baptists to open their purses. Today, the need still touches our hearts, and we continue to open our purses for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions, named for that long-ago missionary.
So who was Lottie Moon?
Born in 1840 near Charlottesville, Va., Lottie Moon was a mischievous schoolgirl from a well-to-do family. Though she scorned religion as a young girl, God laid claim to her life and her attitude changed dramatically.
Lottie Moon taught school for a few years then felt God calling her to missionary service. She was appointed by the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) and sailed to China in 1873. For the next forty years she ministered among women and girls in northern China.
At first she tried to establish a boarding school for girls of upper class families in Tengchow. But enrollment lagged and she decided to devote her energies to more direct evangelistic work. Her house in Tengchow became the hub from which she traveled to surrounding villages, teaching women and children about God.
Through the years, Lottie Moon wrote many letters home inspiring her readers with tales of those who wanted to learn about God, challenging them to send more help and provide more money, and pleading for the spiritual needs yet unmet. One of these letters led to the first Christmas offering for foreign missions.
But war came to China and, after that, famine. Lottie Moon shared her food and money, often ignoring her own needs so the Chinese she'd grown to love could eat. Missionary colleagues became alarmed at her failing health, and she was placed on a ship for home. As the ship lay at anchor in the harbor of Kobe, Japan, Lottie Moon went to be with her Lord. It was Christmas Eve, 1912.
How fitting that each year a special Christmas offering in her name honors both her devotion to missions and our Lord's command to go "… unto the uttermost part of the earth."
IMB Fast Facts
Career missionaries: Nearly 5,000
Personnel appointed in 1998: 885
Volunteers in 1998: 20,140
Overseas baptisms in 1998: 348,635
Overseas churches in 1998: 47,224
New churches in 1998: 4,251
LMCO receipts 1998: $101,713,067
LMCO goal for 1999: $125 million
World Hunger/Disaster Relief receipts in 1998: $9.2 million