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 China 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.
This year marks one hundred years since her death.
A young, unbelieving Lottie Moon told classmates her middle initial
stood for “Devil.” She pulled pranks, missed chapel and scoffed at
religion. Eventually, her questioning nature led her to choose Christ
and to obey her Lord’s calling to China.
There, Lottie experienced isolation and loneliness. She had a chance to
marry and return home. Her response: “God had first claim on my life,
and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the
result.” Lottie persisted through war and famine; the Chinese needed to
know her Lord.
She wrote home, “Please say to the missionaries they are coming to a
life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial.”
Apparently that didn’t deter the thousands who've followed Lottie
during these 100 years since her death — going just as boldly,
obediently and sacrificially.
“You have such a love and burden for the people, there is a certain
amount of trust you have to give away to God,” says a modern-day
missionary in East Asia. “It’s hard … to let go.” But God gave this
young woman a clear “Yes, this is where I want you to go.”
And, like Lottie, she’s dependent on Southern Baptists’ gifts to support her.
Lottie said it best more than 100 years ago: “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
Pray Southern Baptists will obediently and sacrificially give and go. Pray that each and every one of our churches will BE His heart, His hands, His voice!
taken from the imb website
Lottie Moon wrote missions support letters from China and inspired
Southern Baptists to pray, give and go. “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,” she wrote in the late 1800s.
It’s a brutal place to live, let alone practice medicine. But that
hasn’t stopped Doug Page* from being Christ’s hands and feet in a
rugged, remote corner of Central Asia. Together with his wife, Alice,*
the Southern Baptist doctor is sharing Christ’s love in a place with
only a handful of known believers.
Obedience hasn’t come without sacrifice. The Pages live in a mud home
with unreliable electricity. Winters are especially harsh, with
temperatures dropping to minus 40 — cold enough to coat the walls inside
their house with ice. The public hospital where Doug volunteers is
dirty and poorly equipped. He regularly treats patients for diseases
rarely encountered in the United States, like typhoid fever,
tuberculosis and dysentery.
Doug has amputated limbs from landmine victims, removed handfuls of
worms from intestinal tracts and helped nurse malnourished children back
from the brink of death, all while patiently and persistently seeking
God-given opportunities to share his faith. But open cultural and
political animosity toward the Gospel also means those who share Jesus
Christ do so at great personal risk, including prison, kidnapping,
torture — even death.
But the couple’s greatest fear isn’t personal safety. It’s that their
time in Central Asia won’t count for something eternal. “We want to be
faithful … knowing that we did our best, that we didn’t hold anything
back,” Doug says. “Everything is on the table.”
Pray the Lord will work miracles and hearts will soften toward the Gospel. Pray that the suffering, especially of women and children, will diminish as the people of this land come to know the Savior.
taken from the imb website
Mud homes dot the hills of the Central Asian town where Doug and Alice
Page (names changed) serve as Jesus’ hands and feet. The absence of
green alludes to the harshness of life here. From the air – the only
secure means of reaching the area – the town is a pallid oasis,
swallowed by a seemingly endless march of dead, sun-burnt mountains.
Ibrahim is a Songhai man who used to practice folk Islam. Now Ibrahim
is a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ and often faces severe
persecution for his faith.
When Ibrahim’s wife died, the community refused to bury her. She was a
Christian and, like Ibrahim and other believers, faced daily persecution
from Muslim neighbors. “We’ll treat your wife like we would a dog or a
donkey — she’s just an animal that should rot,” they told Ibrahim.
The Songhai people are primarily Muslim but have many beliefs rooted in
animism. IMB missionaries and volunteers share the Gospel with
villagers and disciple the few Songhai who have placed their faith in
Jesus. Despite the persecution, missionaries have witnessed great zeal
and dedication in the Songhai church.
Determined to bury his wife, Ibrahim began digging her grave as Muslim
villagers yelled insults at him. When his Christian brothers heard what
he was doing, they came immediately to help. That day was a turning
point for the Songhai believers. One of Ibrahim’s close friends,
Boubacar,said he greatly admired Ibrahim’s loyalty to Christ that day.
That day, the believers showed the inspiring power of a true family of
The Songhai church is small but full of dedicated members who cling to
the Gospel. Thank you for being faithful to send workers through the
Lottie Moon Christmas Offering — workers who disciple leaders like
Ibrahim and Boubacar. Pray for the doors to open — for more U.S. churches, volunteers and
national partners to take the Gospel into places it’s never been. There
are still many Songhai villages waiting to hear the message of Christ.
taken from the imb website
The few Christians in this small Songhai village face persecution on a
daily basis from their Islamic neighbors. This has not stopped them from
meeting together to share God's Word and pray for one
IMB workers Nik and Ruth Ripken* have served in some of the toughest
Muslim areas of Africa. They’ve known believers who have been martyred
for Christ. They’ve interviewed hundreds of other persecuted Christians
in more than 70 countries.
After all that, they’ve learned something about persecution: “The most
persecuted person is a lost person who has no access to Jesus,” Nik
says. “Satan wants to keep people from hearing about Jesus. If he can’t
do that, he wants to shut you up, to silence your witness.”
Most American Christians fall into that second category. They
experience no persecution because they tell no one about Jesus. Yet
persecution of Jesus’ true followers has been normal from New Testament
times to our day. The primary cause? People coming to know Jesus. The
key is how to make persecution count for God’s glory as the early
Everywhere the Ripkens go in the world, they meet Muslims, Hindus,
Buddhists and others hungry to know about God. “Every time we send a
missionary through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, we’re saying, ‘We
will not stop until every man, woman, boy and girl on earth has access
to Jesus,’” Nik says. “Being His heart, His hands and His voice means
we’re representing Jesus among all the nations.” Pray for boldness for believers in persecution as they proclaim Christ. Pray that the worst persecution — no access to Christ — will end in
our generation as missionaries take the Gospel to all peoples.
taken from the imb website
PEOPLE NEED THE LORD - The Ripkens (names changed) meet Muslims, Hindus,
Buddhists and others hungry to know about God. They help IMB workers
and Southern Baptist churches understand effective Gospel witness and
church planting in environments where persecution is the norm.
When Steve Hamilton* was diagnosed with prostate cancer just before he
and his wife, Lisa,* were to go as Christian workers to Beijing, China,
some friends took it as a sign.
“Of course people [said], ‘I guess you are not supposed to be going
overseas,’” Steve recalls. “And I said, ‘No, I think I am just getting a
tune-up here.’” The illness caused a year’s delay, but it didn’t deter
the middle-aged couple from going where God wanted them to serve.
While most of those in their generation were deciding where to travel
or settle for their golden years, Steve and Lisa saw a golden
opportunity. During an overseas visit with friends who serve among a
people group in another part of China, the Hamiltons opened their hearts
to the idea of sharing Jesus Christ in China as well. “Every day we
just saw the Lord doing things. So halfway through the trip we said we
ought to check this out,” Steve says.
And God has used them from the start. Before they even acquired
language skills, God brought young people into their paths. All of these
had come to Beijing from other provinces looking for employment
opportunities yet finding Christ through the Hamiltons’ desire to be His
hands, His heart and His voice in Beijing. Thank God for Steve and Lisa and other workers like them who obediently go despite illness, delays and discouragement. Pray for divine appointments, good health and acquisition of the Mandarin language for Steve and Lisa. Beijing is the focus of International Mission Study 2012 by Woman’s Missionary Union. Visit wmu.com/Beijing.
A worshipper at Lama Temple in Beijing goes through the motions.
Students sometimes come to the centuries-old Buddhist temple before
exams, hoping their offerings might lead to successful test results.
Christian workers are working to reach young people.
Before he found Christ, Bishwa Karmacharya was destined to become the
temple priest, making sacrifices on behalf of others. Instead, the
Nepalese church planter grew up to tell others about Jesus’ sacrifice.
Karmacharya is Brahmin, the priestly and highest caste in Hinduism, the
religion followed by most Nepalese. It’s typically unthinkable for
Brahmins and high-caste Hindus to associate with lower-caste Hindus.
But Christ has no caste, says Karmacharya, who was trained in church
planting by IMB worker Carl Russell.* Russell watched God develop in
Karmacharya a gift for sharing the Gospel and church planting. Now he
and his wife, Ramila, plant churches among all castes and people groups
His radical obedience has permeated a growing generation of Nepalese
pastors who, like Karmacharya, have chosen the road less taken, braving
threats and bombs to see Christ’s name glorified in the Himalayas.
“We don’t pray for one more church,” Karmacharya says. “We pray for one
more healthy church.” This means having local, indigenous leadership.
That’s why the Karmacharyas regularly pile into their car and drive down
roads that hug the hips of mountains to train these leaders.
Many Nepalese would call Karmacharya a radical because he’s chosen
obedience to Christ over caste, culture, family and Hinduism. He sees
himself as only obedient. Pray for healthy churches and other godly leaders to be raised up in the Himalayas; pray for safety for the Karmacharyas. Pray that the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal will be met so
more obedient workers like Carl Russell can disciple and train national
taken from the imb website
Women stand in prayer to Hindu gods at a temple outside Kathmandu.
Grace* shakes her head. Feathered earrings dance, framing her face with
motion and color. She is a member of one of the indigenous tribes of
South America and is talking about the future of her people.
There are outsiders who would keep them in something of a museum — as
living history, she says — stuck in a time that has not been a reality
for several generations. It’s not what she wants. Yet the identity of
her people in the global community is not an easy issue. “A lot of our
people don’t even know our [culture],” she says. “They say they do, but
they hide behind it.”
She wants her people to move ahead — to “win.” She wants them to take
advantage of all that is going on about them while retaining the best of
their culture. That means having to change.
Grace and her tribe are among 3,400 unengaged, unreached peoples across
the world. Nearly 400 are in South America. Isolated by language,
culture, history and — in some cases, geography — they live mostly in
small clusters of fewer than 3,000 people. Most will never have a
missionary assigned to them. Yet the church is called to take the Gospel
to all peoples.
Gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering allow IMB personnel to
identify and understand these often forgotten people, offering Southern
Baptist churches committed to embracing unengaged, unreached peoples a
basis for beginning their work among them. Pray that Grace’s people truly will “win” and have the opportunity to hear about their Savior. Pray that your church will be one to embrace an unengaged, unreached people group that might not otherwise hear the Gospel. (Learn how at call2embrace.org.)
One of the elders of an indigenous people group accepts a Bible from
strangers visiting the tribe. It is during an early contact with this
unengaged, unreached people group. These tribal people prefer to hold
onto their traditional faith – but they’ve never heard a clear Gospel
Today is the beginning of a week of prayer for International Missions. Each day this week I will post prayer requests that are listed on the imb website. You can visit there yourself at: http://www.imb.org/main/pray/page.asp?storyID=5624
Focus Scripture: Matthew 16:24-25, HCSB
Pastors brave threats and bombs in the Himalayas. In Central Asia, an
IMB doctor’s greatest concern isn’t for safety but that his ministry
will make a difference for the kingdom. A worker in war-torn Somalia of
the ’90s knew he’d have to be willing to die for Jesus and spend years
learning why believers in persecution grow unimaginably strong in the
Engaging people groups in the hard places comes with risk and sacrifice
for all who obediently choose to be His heart, His hands, His voice.
Most of us aren’t threatened because of our faith, but we need to be in
prayer for those who are — not that persecution will end but that
believers in persecution will stay courageous and bold.
Giving is also a call to obedience and sacrifice. The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering® enables IMB missionaries to live and work at the forefront of lostness and extend our witness through their full-time ministry.
Each of us and our churches are called continually to take the next
step in our obedience so that Christ is glorified and to ask “What am I
doing and what is my church doing to be obedient — to BE His heart,
hands and voice, no matter the cost?”
Today's focus on prayer is on the country of Egypt.
A glimmer of light shines in Egypt. It’s not pretty and it smells
worse, but it’s hope. It’s a sign of God at work. In the middle of a
city dump, which more than 3,000 people call home, God is raising a
Leading the vision to build this garbage city church is a 31-year-old
man who moved to the community as a teenager. “I have a strong sense for
what it is like here, since I have lived here myself,” says Joseph.*
“So God put in my heart to build a church here. That has been my dream.”
Joseph’s church is but one of many in a country with a rich history of
Baptist ministry. “Southern Baptists were very influential through the
Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon,” says Ron Robinson,* who served in
Egypt for 29 years and witnessed the beginning of Baptist work. “When we
first went [to Egypt], the work was evangelism that resulted in
churches. That was our statement.” The work has led to a vital impact on
Egyptian churches who are answering the call to reach their own people.
Especially with the unrest in the region, Southern Baptists need to
stay focused on how God is working in Egypt, says Ron. “He sent His Son
to die for these people and we cannot lose the eternal big picture. [We]
have to stay on track.” Pray for Joseph and other leaders who are carrying out the vision to BE His heart, His hands, His voice. Pray that Southern Baptists will act now with generosity and obedience while the doors of opportunity in Egypt are open.
One reason many Christians aren't fighting HIV/AIDS is that they haven't seen the innocent suffering it causes. Regardless of how the pandemic got started, despite the fact that many people are suffering because of their own sinfulness, vast multitudes of people are sick and dying through no fault of their own. People are dying because a spouse brought the virus home. Girls are infected because they were raped by men who believed AIDS can be cured by having sex with a virgin. Babies are sick because they were born to someone infected with the virus. Today is World AIDS Day. Please don't close your eyes and try to block out that these people exist. They are very real and in much need of a Savior. Below are some pictures of some of my new friends living with this disease in the compound.
This man is named Gilbert and is HIV positive.
Some friends of mine serving in Kafue joined up with me on this day and gave out
blankets to these patients as I gave out BGR buckets.
Phyllis Kalumba is 70 years old and has had a stroke.She also has diabetes.
Here Phyllis is with her bucket and blanket.
is 40 years old.He is HIV Positive and
has TB.His brother Shadrach
caregiver in the home.
Anthony is 38 years old.He is HIV positive and has TB.
Prisca Phiri is 22 years old and is HIV positive.She was recently released from the hospital
under the care of her uncle and aunt.Prisca hasn’t eaten or had anything to drink to speak of since her release
from the hospital.Evidently, she has sores in her throat. She is very weak and
her body aches all over.She lies on the floor all day and sleeps. She was so out of it that she barely responded to me praying for her.
Christopher is 16 years old and in the 9th
grade.He has had major leg infection on
both lower legs for at least one month.He has recently recovered from a very bad case of malaria after which,
the leg sores appeared.He told us that
since he has been sick he hasn’t had the opportunity to study properly for his
exams.Therefore, he will have to wait
until next year to write grade 9 exams.
Jimmy is an older man that lives with his wife
and some extended family.Jimmy is the
brother of one of the needs care givers.Jimmy had a major stroke in 2009 and has many complications associated
with his stroke.Some of which are
breathing & heart issues, stomach swelling, and back cramps.He is able to walk a little bit, however it takes a lot of
effort to do so.He has had certain
deformities since birth that further his health issues.
praying for Jimmy and his family
Here I am with a couple of the care givers I work with, Esther and Susan. These care givers are doing a tremendous job in this compound. Please pray for them as they reach out and help these people who are suffering with HIV, TB, cancer, and other sicknesses. Several people I have gone to visit over the last few months have already died. It always is hard to hear such news as you can imagine. It only takes one visit with these sweet people for them to have a special place in my heart. A mind-boggling 33.2 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. Every minute a child dies because of HIV/AIDS. We’re very sure Jesus expects his people to care about these people the
way he cares about them. Praying for those who are sick is very important and if you would like to do more I would encourage you to see what Baptist Global Response is doing to help. You can visit: http://www.baptistglobalresponse.com/projects/view/world_aids