Charlotte Digges Moon was born on December 12, 1840, in Albemarie County, Virginia. Southern Baptists know her as Lottie Moon (information about Lottie and global stats taken from imb.org). She served the people of China with the gospel for nearly 40 years. She became a follower of Jesus in 1858, and at the age of 32 left her home for China where she would sacrifice her time and life for the sake of reaching the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus. She, more than any, realized that the task was too great to reach the 472 million Chinese in her day, thus more people were needed to bring the gospel to China.
She would write many letters back home urging Southern Baptists to give and pray, but to also consider going. For those new missionaries being sent through the Foreign Mission Board (International Mission Board today), she urged the FMB to instruct them that they were “coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial. . . . Let them come ‘rejoicing to suffer’ for the sake of that Lord and Master who freely gave his life for them.”
Years of Lottie letters prompted Southern Baptist women to organize and collect $3,315 to send missionaries to China. In 1918, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named the annual Christmas offering for international missions after Lottie. Today, the goal of this international missions offering named in her honor is $185 million. Since the inception of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, Southern Baptists have given over $5 billion dollars to international missions.
Lottie discovered in the 1800s that it takes all of us doing our part to reach the unreached with the gospel. We need churches praying, giving, and sending. Because Southern Baptists have taken Lottie’s charge for mission cooperation seriously, in 2020 there were 18,380 new churches planted; 144,322 new believers; 769,494 gospel conversations; 127,155 leaders trained, to name just a few ways in which our collective efforts are impacting the nations.
Lottie was never one to shy away with her words. On November 1, 1873, she would write: “A young man should ask himself not if it is his duty to go to the heathen, but if he may dare stay at home. The command is so plan: ‘Go.’” Let Lottie’s words on November 11, 1878, in Pingtu, sink deep in your heart:
“Oh! That my words could be as a trumpet call, stirring the hearts of my brethren and sisters to pray, to labor, to give themselves to this people. … We are now, a very, very few feeble workers, scattering the grain broadcast according as time and strength permit. God will give the harvest; doubt it not. But the laborers are so few. Where we have four, we should have not less than one hundred. Are these wild words? They would not seem so were the church of God awake to her high privilege and her weighty responsibilities.”(imb.org)
Lottie’s letters still echo today. God continues to use her life to compel others to pray fervently, give sacrificially, and go boldly. As the world population exceeds 7.8 billion people with at least 4.7 billion unreached with the gospel, what part will you play in assuring that the gospel continues to advance?
May we share in Lottie’s unprecedented concern and do our part, as we hear her once again say, “The needs of these people press upon my soul, and I cannot be silent. It is grievous to think of these human souls going down to death without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus.”