Lottie Moon was born into a comfortable life on an antebellum plantation in Virginia. She died on Christmas Eve, 1912, on board a ship off the coast of Japan, some say of sickness due to malnutrition, after a life of ministering to and suffering with the Chinese people she loved. Between her birth and death, she met the power and love of Jesus Christ who forgave her, redeemed her, and sent her to teach the people of China about Jesus and the “great tidings of great joy.”
From her letters:
“Here I am working alone in a city of many thousand inhabitants. It is grievous to think of these human souls going down to death without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus. How many can I reach? The needs of these people press upon my soul, and I cannot be silent.”
“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.”
“Recently, on a Sunday which I was spending in a village near Pingtu city, two men came to me with the request that I would conduct the general services. They wished me to read and explain, to a mixed audience of men and women, the parable of the prodigal son. I replied that no one should undertake to speak without preparation, and that I had made none. (I had been busy all the morning teaching the women and girls.) After awhile they came again to know my decision. I said, “It is not the custom of the Ancient church that women preach to men.” I could not, however, hinder their calling upon me to lead in prayer. Need I say that, as I tried to lead their devotions, it was hard to keep back the tears of pity for those sheep not having a shepherd. Men asking to be taught and no one to teach them.” February 9, 1889.
“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.” September 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?” September 15, 1887.
You’ll find these quotes and many more from Lottie Moon’s letters in Send the Light: Lottie Moon’s Letters and Other Writings, edited by Keith Harper, published by Mercer University Press.
“When Moon returned from her second furlough in 1904, she was deeply struck by the suffering of the people who were literally starving to death all around her. She pleaded for more money and more resources, but the mission board was heavily in debt and could send nothing. Mission salaries were voluntarily cut. Unknown to her fellow missionaries, Moon shared her personal finances and food with anyone in need around her, severely affecting both her physical and mental health. In 1912, she only weighed 50 pounds. Alarmed, fellow missionaries arranged for her to be sent back home to the United States with a missionary companion. However, Moon died on route, at the age of 72, on December 24, 1912, in the harbor of Kobe, Japan.” Wikipedia, Lottie Moon