PENGLAI, China – The name, “Lottie Moon,” is known by many in the Southern Baptist world. From the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) Lottie Moon Christmas Offering to movies, books and documentaries detailing her life of service, Lottie Moon is often hailed as a “missionary hero.”
Lottie Moon’s legacy will now be preserved beyond the Southern Baptist realm. Wulin Shenghui Church of Penglai in Shandong province, where Lottie Moon was a member during her time in Dengzhou, China, has been designated as a nationally protected historical and cultural site by The State Council of the People’s Republic of China, the China Christian daily reported Nov. 14.
WMU Executive Director and Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin is thankful for the continuing impact of Lottie Moon’s legacy.
“We celebrate the decision to protect this location of historical significance. More than a century later, we still feel the impact of Lottie’s legacy that helped shape our global missionary enterprise. Her sacrifice for the sake of the gospel continues to inspire new generations to fulfill His Commission,” she said.
Built in 1872 by Southern Baptist missionaries Tarleton and Martha Crawford, the church at Penglai is still in use to this day with a current church membership of about 4,000. The church was closed to foreigners in the 1900s but reopened in 1988. WMU leaders from the United States were some of the first foreigners to visit Lottie Moon’s church once it reopened. Within the walls of the European-styled church, WMU leaders discovered a monument dedicated to Lottie Moon by Chinese Christians in 1915.
IMB President Paul Chitwood reflected on the vital role Lottie Moon has played in Southern Baptist missions throughout the years.
“Lottie Moon’s love for the Chinese people meant that she gave her best to them – and her best was the good news that she shared by her life and witness as a Southern Baptist missionary,” said Chitwood.
“The Wulin Shenghui Church of Penglai Shandong province was ‘home base’ for Lottie and we are thrilled to see this site preserved, not as a monument to a missionary, but as a spiritual marker to remind the world that the gospel is worthy of your life. God used Lottie Moon to change China, and also to change Southern Baptists, forever,” Chitwood said.
“We’re incredibly grateful for the legacy of her work in partnership with this local church, and the more than 4.5 billion dollars given in her honor by Southern Baptists in the past 120 years to advance the gospel toward the vision of people from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, worshipping our Lord,” he said.
Catherine Finch is an International Mission Board writer based in Richmond, Va.