Tonight marks the 100th anniversary of the death here in Japan of one of my (John writing) heroes. Although she spent nearly 40 years of her life as a missionary in China, in Shantung province—the birthplace of Confucius and the site of a great outpouring of God in the 1930s—she died 100 years ago tonight, on board ship in the port city of Kobe, Japan.
She was connected to Japan—although few who remember her remember that fact—and her life affected many things I did growing up. And it even affects me, where we are as a family, and what we’re trying to do, and be, today.
I remember every year the churches I grew up in set a goal—usually one that would surely stretch us!—for our foreign missions offering, to be taken during the Christmas season. This offering bore, and still bears, this missionary’s name. The offering was eventually named after her as a remembrance of her deep desire to see more missionaries supported so that more people could come to the Lord, and her work encouraging the women of the churches that sent her to organize for missions.
I remember the members of the boys’ missions organization of my church—of which I was a member—going out into the countryside on our bicycles, delivering Christmas cards so that church members could put the money they would’ve spent on postage toward the foreign missions offering. Then one or two of the dedicated men in the church built a case with “pigeon holes” so that people could pick up their cards themselves, with the same intent of senders giving the money that would’ve gone to postage to the offering.
Many years that church and others like it, including the church I was part of during seminary, had a map of the world with lights that could be lit as we moved closer to reaching our offering goal. Or a thermometer marking the amount that had been given. Or something similar, to let us know where we stood and to help keep us on track, for the goal!
As I said, this missionary heroine died on board ship in the port of Kobe, Dec. 24th, 1912. 100 years ago tonight.
More about her can be found here: http://www.sschool.com/kids/lottie_moon_3.htm
We—and I believe you, too—have surely been affected by the lives of other missionaries, like maybe Paul Carlson, William Carey, Hudson Taylor, C.T. Studd, and David Livingstone or Jim Elliot or Nate Saint. But tonight I’m glad to remember the life of Lottie Moon, of Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, China and Japan, and all she did to serve her Lord so that people who never would’ve heard of Him might come to know Him.