If you come for a tour at the National WMU building in Birmingham, Alabama, you are bound to see the letter. That’s right, the letter written by Lottie Moon in 1889 to Annie Armstrong. Perhaps the 2 most influential women in Baptist life at the turn of the 20th century, Annie and Lottie both left an incredible legacy.
So, what does a letter from the most celebrated missionary to the most recognized supporter of missionaries look like? It’s all about the task at hand.
There is work to be done. While Lottie expresses gratitude for what has already been given, she sees a need for greater commitment. She urges Annie to send as many workers as possible to join her in China. So much had already been accomplished, but with each passing year, Lottie knew she alone could not see the job through to the end.
Lottie devotes the second half of the letter to encouraging the newcomers in this new endeavor. “Please say to the new missionaries that they are coming to a life of hardship, responsibility and constant self-denial . . . They will be alone in the interior and will need to be strong and courageous,” Lottie says. A life of obedience to God is not always an easy one, but Lottie believed it was worth it when she said, “If ‘the joy of the Lord’ be ‘their strength,’ the blessedness of the work will more than compensate for its hardships.”
This letter is a good reminder to us as we begin to consider this year’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. The call to greater commitment and self-denial for the sake of the gospel stirred the hearts of Baptists like Annie Armstrong in 1889, as it stirs the hearts of Baptists like us in 2020. As your church participates in the offering this year, remember this letter. But more importantly, remember the command that Christ gave His disciples so very long ago:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20 NKJV).
Zachariah Seanor is the national consultant for Royal Ambassadors, Challengers, and Youth on Mission.