Faithful Unto Death (revision)
Revision by Brittany Conner
Characters (several roles can be played by same individual)
Setting: a mostly empty stage except for desk and chair at stage left. Two chairs will be brought on stage later.
DAUGHTER enters from stage right and crosses to desk. She drops book bag on floor and huffs into chair. She sullenly takes book from bag and drops it on desk. MOTHER enters from stage right and crosses to daughter.
MOTHER: I thought I heard you come in. How was school?
DAUGHTER: Horrible. You won’t believe this terrible assignment my teacher gave us. She wants us to research a religious figure that had an impact on their community. By time I got to the library, though, all the good books were taken. I got stuck with some book on a scary looking woman who lived like a hundred years ago. There goes my weekend.
MOTHER picks up book and reads title out loud “Lottie Moon.”
MOTHER: Oh I remember learning about Lottie Moon. Fascinating woman. You might be surprised by what you learn.
DAUGHTER: I doubt it. (picks up book and flips through pages) I mean, have you seen these pictures? She looks miserable and boring in every photo. (sighs) Oh well. Guess I better get started.
MOTHER pats daughter on back and exits stage
DAUGHTER: (opens books and skims first few pages. She talks as though she’s addressing book, uses heavy sarcasm) Let’s see Miss Charlotte Digges Moon. What exciting thing is there to learn? Oh look. I was wrong. You were born more than a hundred years ago. (DAUGHTER sighs and continues reading)
Lottie was born in Scottsboro, Virginia, in December 1840. From an early age, Lottie displayed a mischievous streak and a disdain for religious upbringing.
DAUGHTER pauses and says to self
DAUGHTER: Hmmmm … that’s interesting.
DAUGHTER continues reading
DAUGHTER: When Lottie was 17, she was sent to the Albemarle Female Institute where she earned splendid grades and specialized in modern languages. She also was the leader in all the pranks, the frolics and the good times.
AMELIA enters stage right and crosses to stand near DAUGHTER, who freezes as focus switches to LOTTIE and AMELIA. LOTTIE enters from stage right and crosses to AMELIA.
LOTTIE: Hello! You are a new student, aren't you? My name is Lottie Moon.
AMELIA: Yes. I'm Amelia Nichols. I only got here yesterday. Tell me, do you know where the Methodist church is?
LOTTIE: Methodist? But we aren't allowed to go to the Methodist church! Didn't you know that?
AMELIA: No ... I ...
LOTTIE: Oh, you see, our college president is a Baptist. And it is one of the rules of the school that each girl must join the Baptist church on her first Sunday here. Well, I will see you later.
LOTTIE exits stage right. ALICE enters as LOTTIE exits and crosses to Amelia.
ALICE: Hello Amelia! Someone told me you are a Methodist. I've come to ask you to go with me to the church in the morning.
AMELIA: But I thought ... Someone told me all of us had to join the Baptist church.
ALICE: Why, whatever gave you that idea?
AMELIA: I met a girl who said so... Lottie, I believe she said her name was.
ALICE: Oh, Lottie Moon! She is someone to tell you that, and she is not even a Christian of any faith. (ALICE calls off stage) Lottie Moon, I know you are over there. Will you come here?
LOTTIE enters from stage right
LOTTIE: That's the name my mother gave me, Lottie D. Moon.
ALICE: What does the "D" stand for, Lottie?
LOTTIE: "Devil"! Don't you think it suits excellently?
ALICE: (laughing) Too well, I'm afraid. I've been asking Amelia to go the Methodist church with me tomorrow. Could you not go with us?
LOTTIE: No thank you. I really am not interested.
ALICE: But you do not go to the Baptist church. Where do you spend your Sabbath mornings?
LOTTIE: (gaily) Under the haystack reading Shakespeare, which is much better than listening to a dry sermon!
LOTTIE laughs and exits stage right
ALICE: So sad. She’s such a brilliant girl but she says the most wicked things. I invited her to a revival at a local Baptist church but she said no. A group of us are meeting in the morning to pray for her. You are welcome to join us. I think prayer is the only thing that can help her now.
ALICE and AMELIA exit stage right. Focus returns to DAUGHTER
DAUGHTER: (reading) Lottie did change her mind and decided to attend the revival, and it changed her life. Whether it was a sermon, or a word spoken in private, we will never know; we have only her testimony in a letter to her cousin.
LOTTIE enters from stage right and addresses audience
LOTTIE: [solemnly] I went to the service to scoff, and returned to my room to pray all night.
LOTTIE exits stage right
DAUGHTER: The next morning, Lottie Moon appeared at the girls' sunrise prayer meeting to turn it into a praise service -- for she had surrendered to her Lord!
Following graduation, Lottie held several jobs, first as a private tutor, then as a leader in establishing a school for girls in Kentucky. Finally, she helped open a school in Georgia. It was there that she was impressed by a pastor’s call to "Lift up your eyes and look upon the fields, for they are white already unto harvest." At the close of the sermon, Miss Moon walked down the aisle to talk to the pastor.
LOTTIE enters from stage right and addresses audience
LOTTIE: I have long known God wanted me in China. I am now ready to go.
LOTTIE freezes as focus switches to DAUGHTER
DAUGHTER: The day before Lottie sailed for China, she received a letter from her friends in Cartersville, Georgia.
LOTTIE pulls letter from pocket and reads to audience.
LOTTIE: “A missionary society has been formed among the women for the immediate purpose of aiding as far as possible in the maintenance of Miss Lottie Moon, who has gone from this church as a missionary to China.”
LOTTIE pauses over letter to show she is emotionally touched by the words. She folds letter and replaces it in her pocket. LOTTIE exits stage right.
DAUGHTER: Delays, disappointments, illness of the sister who had preceded her to China, the return of the sister to the States, failures, trials and failures again, an abrupt change in her plans for marriage, loneliness, homesickness. The first six long years passed slowly.
(TWO WOMEN enter from stage right bringing along chairs on which they position near center stage. They then sit.)
DAUGHTER: No tiresome reports, but letters vivid in their details and filled often with humorous experiences, made their way regularly to the little missionary society in Cartersville. Always these letters were brought to the meeting of the society and read there.
MRS. CARTER enters from stage right and crosses to TWO WOMEN.
MRS. CARTER: Ladies, I know you are eager to hear the last letter we received from Miss Moon.
MRS.CARTER pulls out letter but pauses before reading. LOTTIE enters from stage right and addresses audience while MRS. CARTER and TWO WOMEN remain frozen.
LOTTIE: If only a machine could be invented to grind out answers! It must be admitted that patience less than angelic must grow weary at the endless round of questions. 'Where do you live?' 'How old are you?' 'Have you any children?' 'Why don't you wear earrings?' 'Have you holes in your ears?' 'From what country are you?' 'Have you mountains?' 'Which country is the best, yours or ours?' 'Do the women rule in your country?' The monotony of answering the same questions put by some dozens of people in the course of an hour and this not once but thousands of times, would be endurable were monotony the only drawback. But the utterance of Chinese demands an expulsive energy which so strains the muscles of the throat as to render even ordinary conversation physically wearisome. When more than one's strength is needed to talk of matters of the highest moment, when one's articulation begins to fail and the speaker longs to relapse into utter silence so the wearied muscles may rest, how delightful it would be to turn a crank and have the machine play: 'I am an American, I have been in China 10 years, people are alike everywhere in thinking their own country the best,' and so on, 'til, as on the hand organ, it is all ground out and the instrument goes back to its first tune.
The Chinese are a kindhearted, friendly race when once you know them and come to live among them in a friendly way.
LOTTIE exits stage right. MISS CARTER and TWO WOMEN exit stage right, taking one chair with them. They push the other chair to back of stage.
DAUGHTER: While in China, Miss Moon kept in close touch with various missionary movements and was able to influence the slowly crystallizing purpose of the women to organize their forces for more effectual work. She suggested that Southern Baptist women should institute a week of prayer and offering, not only for the Foreign Mission Board and its work, but also for both boards of the convention. She suggested that the week before Christmas be set apart for this purpose, and in May 1888, women of the Southern Baptist Convention organized. Miss Annie Armstrong was elected corresponding secretary of Woman's Missionary Union, and an office was established in Baltimore. To Dr. Tupper at the Foreign Mission Board there came a plaintive, urgent appear from Miss Moon.
LOTTIE enters from stage right and addresses audience
LOTTIE: I should be most heartily glad for two women for the Pingtu region. No one who has not seen can imagine the wide field opened there for women's work. I would I had a thousand lives that I might give them to the women of China. I am very desirous to go home for a long overdue furlough next year; I think my health requires it. Still, I am unwilling to go until Pingtu is provided for. When once that is done, I can go home happy and with a clear conscience. But I cannot leave those eager people without the certainty that there will be someone to carry on the work.
LOTTIE exits as DR TUPPER enters from stage right. MISS ARMSTRONG enters from stage left and crosses to DR TUPPER.
MISS ARMSTRONG: Dr. Tupper, would it be possible for the women of the South to raise the amount necessary to send relief to Miss Moon by a special Christmas love offering?
DR. TUPPER: I say try it! (MISS ARMSTRONG exits stage left. DR TUPPER freezes.)
DAUGHTER: (continues reading) The women heard of the need, the women saved and sacrificed, and the women gave.
MISS ARMSTRONG enters stage left and crosses to DR TUPPER.
MISS ARMSTRONG: Dr. Tupper, look! The first Christmas offering for China was a success and we collected enough for two missionaries-and more!
DR TUPPER: Praise God!
DR TUPPER and MISS ARMSTRONG exit stage right.
DAUGHTER: So the work grew ... in joy and pain, in times of eager, stressful labor and times of quiet peace. In the spring of 1912, Pingtu was swept by famine. The missionaries gave and gave. The board was in debt.
LOTTIE enters from stage right, hunched over and weakened. She feebly addresses the audience.
LOTTIE: I beg you to recall me home and use the money that was assigned to me instead to support younger missionaries who have years of usefulness before them.
LOTTIE crosses to chair that was left at center stage. Brings chair forward and sits heavily and tiredly.
DAUGHTER: The first of December came, and Lottie Moon, then almost 72, became very ill. She had stopped eating.
DOCTOR enters from stage right and crosses to LOTTIE. He conducts cursory exam (listens to heart or checks pulse).
DAUGHTER: One look at her told the doctor the story.
DOCTOR shakes his head and exits stage right.
DAUGHTER: Those who worked with her every day did not suspect what was happening. She had given her all.
WOMAN enters from stage right and crosses to LOTTIE. She fusses over her (warms hands, smoothes hair, rubs arms, etc).
DAUGHTER: Gentle hands took care of all her needs but it was decided that only a change of scenery would help. So on the 20th of December 1912, she and a missionary nurse sailed from Shanghai on a steamer bound for San Francisco.
WOMAN pats LOTTIE on shoulder and then exits stage right. LOTTIE slumps down in chair, folds hands.
DAUGHTER: One morning as the ship rode gently at anchor at Kobe, Japan, (WOMAN enters from stage right and crosses to LOTTIE) the nurse noticed that Miss Moon had for a long while remained very quiet. Lottie’s hands were folded in the Chinese fashion of greeting. It was thus that Lottie Moon went home on Christmas Eve.
WOMAN bends over LOTTIE as though crying. Both then freeze. Once DAUGHTER starts speaking, LOTTIE and WOMAN exit stage right.
DAUGHTER: (closes book) Wow. I had no idea.
MOTHER enters stage right.
MOTHER: So did you learn anything interesting?
DAUGHTER: Yeah, I did. You were right. I was really surprised by Lottie’s life. But, mom, it’s really got me to thinking.
MOTHER: About what?
DAUGHTER: Well, Lottie gave everything she had because she loved God. And, well, what am I giving? I mean, there have to be people who still haven’t heard about Jesus.
MOTHER: That’s a good question to be asking. Maybe we should both start praying about how God can use us to share Jesus with the people around us, whether it’s here or overseas. In the meantime, we can talk with our pastor about how we can help support folks who already are sharing God’s love with people around the world.
DAUGHTER: Thanks, Mom. That sounds great. Maybe we can talk at dinner about increasing our giving to this year’s Christmas offering and challenging other families to do the same. I mean, if I can’t go yet then the least I can do is help those who can.
MOTHER: Hey, let’s go talk right now.
MOTHER and DAUGHTER exit stage right.