Monthly Newsletter

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Lottie's Legacy and Me

by Blythe Chapman

My first memory of church is as a 3 or 4 year old shaking a jar to make butter. I remember a man and his wife telling us about some missionaries living high up in some mountains and they had to make their own butter. He told us the reason they lived there wasbecause they wanted everyone to know about Jesus. 

Now that I am a teacher, I know that there must have been weeks where this manthought, “Why am I doing this? They are not listening. This is not making an impact.” There is no way he could have known that more than twenty years later, his faithfulness would be part of my story of serving overseas. 

My story is not one of a dramatic call, but instead being taught and discipled year after year by faithful men and women who showed up even when it felt futile; I was taught to love the nations, to long for them to know Jesus, and to pray deeply for the people and the missionaries sent to them. I was given the opportunities to learn to serve. Each experience was a step, a discipleship moment, where I got to see first hand how loving God changes you from the inside out. I was not brave or particularly adventure some, but at each step God provided mentors to serve alongside me, to help me grow, to challenge me to try new things, and to know Jesus better so that when the opportunity to serve overseas after college was presented, I was ready to go. Not because I had suddenly found great courage, but because I knew I was not going alone, the body of Christ who had surrounded, taught, and discipled me were with me on this journey as well. 

So I packed my life and my teaching supplies into four suitcases and set out for Central Asia. What I found was that I was woefully unprepared to be a teacher (no college class can teach you what to do on that first day when you realize you ARE the one in charge!). I also realized that living in a city of almost 2 million people was bit different than thePanhandle of Texas and that a 13 hour time difference makes it really hard to call your mom on a hard day. But I did find that the Body of Christ was there in a place so different and foreign; I found likeminded people who shared the same vision because of Jesus. We looked very different from each other, but the goal was the same, to love people and share Jesus, to disciple and grow ​together, seeking the face of Christ. There were great joys while living in Central Asia – seeing the first Central Asian Russian translation of the scriptures published and getting to be a part of the distribution, getting to share the gospel with my students and having some respond. But there were also days of depression and hardship. Language learning was hard for me; I spoke in a clumsy way that marked me asa foreigner. On one particularly hard afternoon, several ladies at the outdoor market began to make fun of my language and my childish way of speaking. I was heartbroken- I wanted to build a relationship and instead, they were laughing. As I walked home, I was reminded that Jesus had been ridiculed and Lottie Moon had been made fun of too. I decided that I was in good company and that I could not give up; I must try again. I would pray before going to the market, asking that God would give me opportunities to show love (and to have a quiet mouth and heart when they laughed) and that he would send me someone who wanted to talk to me. Months later, I met a college student at that same market, who asked to meet with me! 

Growing up one of my heroes of the Faith was Lottie Moon. She was the first single woman missionary that the IMB (International Mission Board) sent overseas. She lived in the 1800s and was a force to be reckoned with. She was brilliant, one of the first women in the south to receivea masters degree, and she spoke five languages. While she was in college, her roommates got together to pray for her salvation and God dramatically saved her (her roommates had no idea the ripple effect their faithfulness would have on generations to come).After she made the decision to follow Christ, she was discipled by her local church and heard about China and the need for the Chinese people to hear about Jesus. At that time, women were not sent as missionaries unless they were married. Lottie wrote letter after letter asking to be sent and finally they agreed and she was sent to China! She quickly had a grasp on the language and wanted to begin making relationships with the people. However, the Chinese people were skeptical of her and the children often would make fun of her. Lottie, being a strong southern woman, was not one to give up, and so she decided that the best thing she could do was to make cookies! The curious children would come to see what she was making and as she shared her cookies, she would share Jesus with them and then would visit them at their homes to share with their families. Lottie wrote back to the churches in the States, asking them to pray formissions. She suggested that the women gather at Christmas time to pray and raise money for missions. Since that time, there has been a continuous Christmas offering for international missions. After her death in 1912, the offering was renamed the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions to honor Lottie Moon and her legacy of almost 40 years of ministering among the Chinese people. 

We are not all called to go overseas, but we ARE all called to be a neighbor, a mentor,and a discipler. You may feel like you are not good enough or know enough, but I guarantee that God has someone for you to pour into. I challenge you this year to find ways to serve and pour into others. You may not be the person who will be the next Lottie Moon (or maybe you are!) but maybe like for me, you will be the first person to introduce someone to missions and start that ripple effect. Lottie Moon’s legacy is still reverberating through history. 

Come and join!

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