Lottie’s world (a)
By Joe Westbury, Managing Editor
Published December 22, 2005
In this Index exclusive, Georgia Baptists are given an inside look at the believers who comprise the membership of the church where Lottie Moon served at the turn of the 20th century. Lottie died on Christmas Eve 1912 in the port of Kobe, Japan, as she was being evacuated to the United States. Her 50-pound body was decimated with starvation, but her love for the Chinese people is the legacy that continues to produce a spiritual harvest in the world’s most populous nation.
Quotes from Lottie:
• “How many million more souls are to pass into eternity without having heard the name of Jesus?”
• “I pray that no missionary will ever be as lonely as I have been.”
• “Surely, there can be no deeper joy than that of saving souls.”
Related story: Lottie's World (b)
The inscription over the front door of the sanctuary in Penglai reads simply “Holy Church.” It – and the brick cross above the window – continue to provide an ever-present witness to those walking past its doors.
Into her 60s, Lottie Moon had lost many of her teeth. But her humor and energy remained in steady supply until her death at age 72. Much of that energy was directed toward educating young girls. The gift of being able to read and write meant that her students could enjoy a standard of living that raised them above a lifetime of begging or servitude. With diploma scrolls in hand, the first graduates of the Baptist girl’s school in Tengchow (now Penglai) pause for a portrait.
For a testimony of the last known living student of the school see the exclusive interview on the Oct. 27 issue of the Index (www.christianindex.org/1681.article)
At 81 years of age, Penglai Christian Church (also known as Monument Street Church) Pastor Qin Jia Ye unlocks the front gate to the church before the evening prayer service. The setting sun, reflected in the glass above the front door, signals the end of the day and the beginning of the prayer service. The white obelisk in the background, a 1915 memorial to Lottie Moon, had been ravaged by students and pushed off its foundation during the Cultural Revolution. It lay discarded in nearby bushes for decades until it was discovered in 1987 and restored by Southern Baptists.
Women sing a Chinese hymn before a Thursday morning Bible study in the original sanctuary at Penglai Christian Church. The church was closed with the founding of the Communist Party and remained shuttered for 49 years. It was used as the local headquarters by the People’s Army of the Republic for many of those years – a mixed blessing which prevented it from being heavily damaged or destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
An ancient clock records the slow passage of time in the church vestibule. The small room serves as an overflow area for those coming to pray during the weekly service.
A man buys fresh seafood from a fishmonger just down the street from the Penglai Christian Church, background. The large building, constructed with funds donated by members of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, was dedicated on April 28, 2002. More than a thousand worship on Sunday mornings, says 81-year-old pastor Qin Jia Ye.
Women enter the courtyard of the church as they arrive for Bible study.