LMCO: The most wonderful time of the year

It’s been called “the most wonderful time of the year.” For Southern Baptist missionaries and for the estimated 2.8 billion people who have little or no access to the gospel, the Christmas season is the most wonderful time of the year because it’s the time that Southern Baptists give focused prayers for and generous financial gifts to international missions.

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Lottie Moon, a Southern Baptist missionary in China during the 1800s, wrote letters urging American churches to send and support more international missionaries. In 1918, after Moon died on the mission field, the Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) named an annual Christmas offering for international missions for the woman who had challenged the WMU to start it – the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO) was born.

This year’s LMCO theme is “Making a difference among the multitudes.” This theme is based on Revelation 7:9, which reads, “I saw a great multitude from every nation and all tribes and peoples and languages standing before the throne.”

Generous giving to the 2019 LMCO makes a difference among the multitudes. Men, women, children and entire communities are transformed as a result of this offering. The financial gifts of Southern Baptists enable thousands of missionaries to live among, serve and share the gospel with people who have never heard it until now.

The national goal for LMCO for 2019 is $165 million, and Arkansas Baptists’ goal is $5.5 million.

The LMCO has empowered Southern Baptists’ international missions work through the decades.

As International Mission Board (IMB) President Paul Chitwood told messengers at the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting: “The gospel is being preached among the nations, and we are privileged to be part of it.” Because of Southern Baptists’ generous gifts to LMCO:

– Overseas baptisms by churches that IMB missionaries have planted or directly partner with have increased by more than 6,000 over the previous year.

– New church starts reported in 2018 were nearly triple the number of new church starts IMB reported in 2016.

– The number of national believers who received advanced theological training increased by 10,000 over each of the previous two years.

At the beginning of this giving season, a week of prayer, Dec. 1-8, is dedicated to international missions.

Arkansas Baptists can support international missions in two vital ways during this most wonderful time of the year. The first is to give financially to LMCO. One hundred percent of LMCO monies collected go directly to reaching every nation and people group with the gospel.

The second opportunity is to pray during the Week of Prayer for International Missions. The stories in the Week of Prayer brochure and accompanying videos show the impact IMB missionaries are having around the world – from Africa to Mexico, Venezuela to East Asia, Japan to Bulgaria.

Your church should have received materials for use in observing the Week of Prayer for International Missions and LMCO. For additional materials, please contact Arkansas Baptists’ missions team at 501-376-4791 or 800-838-2272, ext. 5137. Also, videos and other materials can be downloaded by visiting imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering.

Contact Margaret Colson at margaret@arkansasbaptist.com.

© Copyright 2019 Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine, Inc. Use of this in article in print or through electronic means a violation of copyright. Request permission to reprint here.

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