GLIMPSES OF THE WORLD:
Lottie Moon Offering
By Emily Crutcher & Manda Roten
SBC International Mission Board
As Southern Baptists engage the challenge of this year's Lottie Moon Offering for international missions, workers with the International Mission Board report numerous signs of God's work around the world.
The Southern Baptist Convention offering has a goal of $133 million, with a challenge goal of $150 million.
Here are samples of current reports from the field:
Five Tibetan girls chatted after class. Three were in their mid-teens, and two were in their early 20s. All knew their new English teacher was a Christian.
The three teenagers recently had become believers, but fear prevented them from telling others. The two older Tibetans threatened to beat their younger classmates if they heard even one of them was considering becoming a Christian. The smallest girl stepped forward and quietly said, “I am a Christian.”
As her friends watched in horrified silence, the two older girls began to beat her. The older girls then turned to them and said, “If we hear you have become Christians, we will do worse to you.”
When the older girls left, the two turned to help their friend. They begged her forgiveness for being so afraid to speak or to help.
She said she understood–because she too was afraid. For many Tibetan believers, fear does not go away. It is a way of life.
Each time the doorbell rang, Tony and Jamie–Southern Baptists living in Paris–knew another guest was arriving. Soon their high-rise apartment was crowded with Parisians and Paris immigrants, munching appetizers and getting to know each other through their common language, French.
Nine nations were represented in their home–including people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and even Laura, a volunteer from Tennessee.
They talked and laughed around the dinner table. Then Tony and Jamie led the group in a time of challenge and reflection. They read from the Bible, sang a French chorus and prayed. For many–including some Muslims and a Buddhist–it was the first time they had heard the Bible or sung a Christian song. As they left, each of them chose to take a French New Testament.
After the other guests left, Richard, a French teacher, told the Baptists: “Your passion and openness about your faith is shocking to us as French people. But don't lose it! Keep doing what you are doing. We need to be challenged.”
A short time later, Richard professed faith in Jesus Christ. “The light of God has entered my life,” he said. He has since been transferred to another city and is planning to start a house church among his family's new friends.
The 12-year-old daughter of IMB missionaries in Lima, Peru, is leading her own Bible study. Each Sunday, while her parents lead a house church in their home, her friends study the Bible with her.
She has decorated a room for the Bible study, prepares lessons to teach each week and plans creative crafts for them to make. She uses handmade gifts to encourage the other girls to attend each week and memorize Bible verses.
When parents pick up their daughters from Bible study for the first time, the Southern Baptist family has a chance to invite the whole family to the house church.
Now their home is filled with people many Sundays–parents worshipping in the house church and children studying the Bible together, under the faithful leadership of a “missionary kid.”
In early 1999, God led a team of Southern Baptists to a remote village in Tanzania. There they believe God gave them a vision to begin work among the Zaramo people group–98 percent of whom are Muslim. Half never have heard Jesus' name.
Within a few months, the team saw its first new believer–an outcast blind man. Soon afterward, an elderly man believed. After a year, a few new believers were meeting for discipleship and worship.
When one family of the team moved into the village, the work began to produce more fruit. One by one, the Zaramo were coming to faith in Christ.
In May 2003, 20 new believers followed Christ in baptism. Two fledgling churches with 30 believers meet regularly for worship and Bible study, and dozens of children faithfully gather to hear Bible stories. People from nearby villages want to hear Bible stories and learn about Jesus.
“What is being witnessed now is only the very beginning of a movement,” explained a Southern Baptist worker among the Zaramo. “Pray that this would be a sweeping movement of the Holy Spirit in the lives of men, women and children as he builds his church among the Zaramo people of Tanzania.”
A couple told a Christian worker in India that 20 people had gathered at their home to hear the gospel. The man followed the two to their home, where Hindus crowded around him and asked, “Who are you preaching about?”
He told them he was preaching about Jesus Christ. Then they asked: “Can you prove Jesus Christ? Show us your God.”
He told them he would show them that Friday. All the way home and during the following days, he prayed. On Friday, he returned to the people. “Do you want to see my God?” he asked.
“Yes!” they all answered.
He explained: “If you go see the Prime Minister, you need a letter of introduction. There is a procedure. It's the same if you want to see God. There is a procedure–it is the gospel.”
One man stayed to hear more. After sharing with the Hindu man, the Christian worker led him in prayer, and the man's life was miraculously changed. The worker asked him, “What happened?”
The man answered: “I saw Jesus! He came into my heart.”
For more information about the Lottie Moon Offering or the IMB, visit www.imb.org.