Who's Lottie


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Who was Lottie Moon?

Lottie Moon - the namesake of the international missions offering - has become something of a legend to us. But in her time Lottie was anything but an untouchable hero. In fact, she was like today's missionaries. She was a hard-working, deep-loving Southern Baptist who labored tirelessly so her people group could know Jesus.

Why was the offering named for this early missionary?

Throughout her career, Lottie Moon wrote numerous letters home, urging Southern Baptists to greater missions involvement and support. One of those letters triggered Southern Baptists' first Christmas offering for international missions - enough to send three new missionaries to China.

Find products on Lottie Moon’s life, from a simple flier to a book of her letters.

Learn more about Lottie Moon

Lottie’s life in brief

Born Charlotte Digges Moon December 12, 1840, in Albemarle County, Va.

Lottie rebelled against Christianity until she was in college. In December 1858, she dedicated her life to Christ and was baptized at First Baptist Church of Charlottesville, Va.

Lottie attended Albemarle Female Institute, female counterpart to the University of Virginia. In 1861, she was one of the first women in the South to receive a master's degree.

Pre-missionary life
Lottie stayed close to home during the Civil War but eventually taught school in Kentucky, Georgia and Virginia.

Missionary appointment
Edmonia Moon, Lottie's sister, was appointed to Tengchow, China, in 1872. The following year, Lottie was appointed and joined her sister there.

Missionary work
Lottie served 39 years as a missionary, mostly in China's Shantung province. She taught in a girls' school and often made trips into China's interior to share the good news with women and girls.

Letters home
Lottie frequently wrote letters to the United States, detailing Chinese culture, missionary life and the great physical and spiritual needs of the Chinese people. Additionally, she challenged Southern Baptists to go to China or give so that others could go. By 1888, Southern Baptist women had organized and helped collect $3,315 to send workers needed in China.

Lottie's death
Lottie died aboard a ship in the Japanese harbor of Köbe on Dec. 24, 1912. She was 72 years old.

Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
In 1918, Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after the woman who had urged them to start it.

Lottie’s letters

In this section you will find letters written by Lottie Moon during 1873-1912 as she truly planted her life as a missionary in China. Included is her Sept. 15, 1887, "letter that started it all" credited with providing the impetus for the creation of a Southern Baptist offering to support international missions, which later became the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® for International Missions.

Lottie’s passion

"How many million more souls are to pass into eternity without having heard the name of Jesus?"

That question, ubiquitous in the letters of Lottie Moon, seared her heart as she planted her life in China more than a century ago. It compelled her to flee the safety of the Baptist missionary compound in order to live among those "heathen" to whom she felt called. It gave her the strength to place her 4-foot-3-inch body in the path of an anti-Christian mob intent on harming believers and saying, "You will have to kill me first." 

How many souls? What did she think? One million? Five million? Fifty million?

One hundred years later, nearly 7,000 people groups out of the world’s 11,000-plus people groups are considered yet unreached. They include more than half the world’s population. More than 3,000 unreached people groups are unengaged, having no church-planting strategy at all.

During the past five generations, Southern Baptists have been motivated by Lottie Moon to plant their lives in missions by going or supporting others who are carrying the Gospel light into the darkness. Today, despite recent shortfalls in the offering, we support what seems a respectable number of missionaries on the field: about 5,000. Today, our goal for the annual missions offering named for Lottie Moon is a substantial $175 million.

What would Lottie think? Would she be impressed that 16 million Southern Baptists were supporting about 5,000 missionaries? Would she think $175 million is a worthy goal? Or would she challenge us once again: "How many million more souls are to pass into eternity without having heard the name of Jesus?"

Quotables: Lottie herself

"At another house two women learned very fast; I say women, but one was a girl about twelve or thirteen, already married, however. There was a little child about three years old. My sister asked, 'Who is the True God's Son?' The little thing replied, in a very sweet voice, 'Jesus.'"

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
Published in the July 1874 Foreign Mission Journal

"Our hearts were made glad last Sabbath by the baptism of an individual who has interested us by his firm stand under the persecutions of his ... family. They fastened him in a room without food or water, and endeavored to starve him into submission. Providentially, they did not take away his Christian books. He studied these more closely than ever. The pangs of hunger he satisfied by eating some raw beans he found in the room, and when he wanted water he commenced to dig a well in the room in which he was confined. Chinese houses are built on the ground and do not have plank floors as with us. When the family discovered the well-digging they yielded. They had no wish to ruin their dwelling. The man has shown that he is made of stern stuff, and we hope he will be very useful as a Christian."

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
July 1874 Foreign Mission Journal

"How many there are ... who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God."

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
Sept. 15, 1887

"Why should we not ... instead of the paltry offerings we make, do something that will prove that we are really in earnest in claiming to be followers of him who, though he was rich, for our sake became poor?"

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
Sept. 15, 1887

"Is not the festive season when families and friends exchange gifts in memory of The Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion from abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good tidings of great joy into all the earth?"

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
Sept. 15, 1887

"What we want is not power, but simply combination in order to elicit the largest possible giving."

- Lottie Moon
Tungchow, China
Sept. 15, 1887

"I would I had a thousand lives that I might give them to ... China!"

- Lottie Moon
Zhenjiang, China
August 27, 1888

"Thirty miles from Pingtu city is a gold mine. Nestled close among low-lying hills are two foreign houses and the buildings over the mine. Several American miners are there in the employ of the Chinese government. These men are living a hard, dull, isolated life, in a remote region, far from home and friends, with the sole purpose of worldly gain. So much for the devotees of Mammon. One cannot help asking sadly, why is love of gold more potent than love of souls? The number of men mining and prospecting for gold in Shantung is more than double the number of men representing Southern Baptists! What a lesson for Southern Baptists to ponder."

- Lottie Moon
Pingtu, China
Feb. 9, 1889

"It is a great mistake to say that the Chinese are not hospitable. A more graceful, hearty hospitality than that of the Chinese I have met in no land."

- Lottie Moon
Pingtu, China
Sept. 10, 1890

"When the gospel is allowed to grow naturally in China, without forcing processes of development, the 'church in the house' is usually its first form of organization. God grant us faith and courage to keep 'hands off' and allow this new garden of the Lord's planting to ripen in the rays of the Divine Love, free from human interference!"

- Lottie Moon
Pingtu, China
Sept. 10, 1890
Lottie’s biography

Lottie Moon

Dec. 12, 1840 - Dec. 24, 1912

Lottie Moon was a heroine for today - a woman passionate about a lost world, a woman who didn't hesitate to speak her mind.

Read more of her story:
Part 1: From Southern roots
Part 2: The offering begins
Part 3: Her journey ends

Today's China is a world of rapid change. It's home to 1.3 billion individuals - one-fifth of the world's population. Village dwellers flock to trendy megacities with exploding populations. And China holds its own in the world's economy. It's very different from the vast farmland Lottie Moon entered in the 1800s. But one thing hasn't changed: China's need for a Savior.

Lottie Moon - the namesake of the international missions offering - has become something of a legend to us. But in her time Lottie was anything but an untouchable hero. In fact, she was like today's missionaries. She was a hard-working, deep-loving Southern Baptist who labored tirelessly so her people group could know Jesus.

Her mission
When she set sail for China, Lottie was 32 years old. She had turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home and family to follow God's lead. Her path wasn't typical for an educated woman from a wealthy Southern family. But Lottie did not serve a typical God. He had gripped her with the Chinese peoples' need for a Savior.

For 39 years Lottie labored, chiefly in Tengchow and P'ingtu. People feared and rejected her, but she refused to leave. The aroma of fresh-baked cookies drew people to her house. She adopted traditional Chinese dress, and she learned China's language and customs. Lottie didn't just serve the people of China; she identified with them. Many eventually accepted her. And some accepted her Savior.

Her vision
Lottie's vision wasn't just for the people of China. It reached to her fellow Southern Baptists in the United States. Like today's missionaries, she wrote letters home, detailing China's hunger for truth and the struggle of so few missionaries sharing the Gospel with so many people - 472 million Chinese in her day. She shared another timely message, too: the urgent need for more workers and for Southern Baptists passionately supporting them through prayer and giving.
She once wrote home to the Foreign Mission Board, “Please say to the [new] missionaries they are coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial.”

Disease, turmoil and lack of co-workers threatened to undo Lottie’s work. But she gave herself completely to God, helping lay the foundation of what would become the modern Chinese church, one of the fastest-growing Christian movements in the world. Lottie Moon died at 72 — ill and in declining health after she had made sacrifices for decades for her beloved Chinese.

But her legacy lives on. And today, when gifts aren't growing as quickly as the number of workers God is calling to the field, her call for sacrificial giving rings with more urgency than ever.

How much does your church plan to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering this year?


Dramas and skits

Every Gift Helps by Ashley Mitchell
A young boy shows he understands just how important it is to give to support missionaries.

What's Your Sacrifice? by Ashley Mitchell
Waiting in line to buy concert tickets, four teens change their minds about how to spend their money.

Because you gave, they came by Brittany Conner
This is a series of four skits. The skits can be performed one after the other or separately. The characters are unrelated, but each offers a perspective on how lives are changed because of those who serve as missionaries and those who support missionaries.

See Jane
by Brittany Conner
What would happen to missionaries if there were no Lottie Moon Christmas Offering?

We each have a role by Brittany Conner

Dramas involving the character or life of Lottie Moon

Monologue: Lottie Moon by Brittany Conner from Lottie Moon's letters
Lottie Moon urges Southern Baptists to give enough to send additional missionaries.

That All Peoples May Know Him by Karen Nadeau
Lottie Moon pleads for Southern Baptists to give so "That All Peoples May Know Him."

Faithful Unto Death
Original by Miriam Robinson, Revision by Brittany Conner     
A radio narration of the life of Lottie Moon.

Her Lengthened Shadow
Original by Lucy Hamilton Howard, Revision by Brittany Conner     
Scenes from the life of Lottie Moon.

It Cannot End at Kobe
Original by Carol Tomlinson and Doris Standridge, Revision by Brittany Conner 
How Lottie Moon lives on in 21st-century missions.

Teacake recipe

From the Web site for Woman’s Missionary Union (www.wmu.com):

As a way to earn the trust of the people and show her goodwill, Lottie Moon made tea cakes for the children in her village in China. Once the children ate the cookies, they would take Lottie to their homes where she would share the gospel with their mothers. The children began calling Lottie “the cookie lady” instead of “foreign devil.”

Plain Tea Cake (As made by Lottie Moon)
Three teacups of sugar
One teacup of butter
One teacup of sour milk
Four pints flour
Three eggs, well beaten
Half a teaspoon of soda
Flavor to taste, roll thin, bake in a quick oven.

Adapted recipe:
2 cups flour
½ cup butter
1 heaping cup of sugar
1 well-beaten egg
1 tablespoon cream

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and cream. Dust a board with flour. Roll the dough very thin. Cut cookies with a round cookie cutter. Place on a buttered or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake at 475 degrees for about 5 minutes.

Videos about Lottie's legacy

I cannot be silent: Lottie Moon became a portrait of obedience no matter the cost. 3:44

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Downloads: Windows | QuickTime

Find presentation helps for leading discussion on Lottie Moon and her influence on others.


Keeping Lottie's legacy alive: Lottie Moon taught Sunday School at a Virginia church that keeps her legacy alive. 2:00

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View video in QuickTime for mobile phone
Downloads: Windows | QuickTime