Published December 22, 2005
Related story: Lottie's World (a)
PENGLAI, China — Children no longer beg for scraps of food here as commonly as they did when an American missionary first set foot in the town known as Tengchow.
The neighborhood around the church where she served, like the country, has seen much change in the past 100 years. But through civil unrest and world wars, the brick cross on the front of the church has always offered hope and solace to those in need.
It was to this small town, now a bustling city, that a former Georgia resident gave her life in service to the Chinese people. Lottie Moon, then 32 years old, broke the traditional mold of an upscale 19th century woman when she turned down a marriage proposal and left her job, home, and family to follow God’s direction.
The church where she served still stands, and an obelisk dedicated in her memory in 1915 – three years after her death – testifies to her legacy. The white marker was nearly destroyed in the Cultural Revolution by students who chiseled the word “American” from its face and then toppled it from its pedestal.
The church was closed for 49 years when Communists came to power at the end of World War II. Only 20 members, all “silver hairs” the pastor explains, cautiously returned when a relaxed social order allowed the church to reopen in 1988.
Pastor Qin began leading a Bible study and preaching and was soon elected an elder in the church. In 1994, at 71 years of age, he was named pastor.
Today after 17 years of explosive growth the church numbers 3,600 members.
“God has blessed our faithfulness. Every year we baptize more than 300,” Qin says through a translator. “After nearly a half-century with no church, people are hungry for the Gospel.”
“We remember Lottie,” he says with a smile. “She was a wonderful woman who told us about Jesus.” In a corner of the churchyard, a damaged obelisk continues to tell the story of the storyteller.
Carved into the stone is this simple heading: “The Tengchow Church remembers forever.”
The following inscription explains how Lottie graduated from school, never married, and came to China and loved the people. The marker names the schools she started, tells of times she risked danger to be with the Christians, and describes her “as someone who opposed evil.”
Mostly, however, it speaks of her love as she helped the old, the sick, the children, the beggars, the expectant mothers, the widows, and anyone in distress. It even mentioned the fact her salary was not enough to live on and that she often lacked food and clothing. And then it adds that she never regretted her life.
The tribute closes with the fact that Lottie did not want to leave the people but she had to due to failing health, and when she left them, she died.
For more information on Lottie Moon visit www.ime.imb.org or read “The Story of Lottie Moon” by Cathy Butler and published by Woman’s Missionary Union (go to www.wmustore.com/ and type in Lottie Moon in the search box. The translation on the obelisk is based on information in the book.)
How you can be involved
For ways you can help reach the Chinese, check out volunteer opportunities such as teaching English, backpacking, and small-city adoption by sending an email to GoChina@imb.org.
For teaching opportunities email the East Asia office at ChinaEncounter@pobox.com or call (866) 879-0233. For more information about how the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes it possible for thousands of people to hear about Jesus for the first time, visit http://ime.imb.org.
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