John Allen Moore
Moon's return to China after accompanying her sister Eddie (Edmonia)
back home to Virginia was not nearly as quick as she wanted. H.A.
Tupper, corresponding secretary of the Foreign Mission Board,
recruited her to travel to church and mission societies to bolster
mission support. Tupper also corresponded with her about mission
Richmond Baptist women authorized use of part of the funds raised
for the Moon house to send Lottie back and also promised to
provide her support, Lottie returned to China.
a stopover in Japan, Lottie wrote Tupper, "Now I honestly
believe that I love China the best. Actually, which is stranger
still, I love the Chinese best." Famine raged in north China
as Lottie arrived in December 1877. She and other missionaries
gave to relief programs and shared personally as they could to
relieve the suffering.
in 1878 Lottie opened a girls' boarding school for higher-class
Chinese. Her purpose was evangelistic: She knew the school would
help her enter pupils' homes, since the exclusive citizens of
Tengchow wanted little to do with "foreign devils"
otherwise. Finding pupils would be hard, for females generally
were judged incapable of education. Some Christian missions paid
parents to send their children-especially girls-to school;
Baptists did not do so but did provide instruction and materials
school soon had 13 pupils, but all from poor families. They
studied arithmetic, reading and geography and learned from Martha
(Mrs. T.P.) Crawford's catechism and a book of Bible stories
Sallie Holmes had prepared. Lottie taught singing, accompanying
with an organ Eddie had ordered and paid for. Lottie wrote to
women's societies to suggest that each adopt a girl to support for
$15 a year. She promised to report on each girl's progress.
managed to save about a third of her pupils from the practice of
binding girls' feet. The custom usually began about the time a
girl would be entering school. The four small toes were bent under
and bandaged and drawn toward the heel until bones broke. The
suffering young women wound up with a three-inch foot and a
pointed big toe. Often infection, illness and sometimes even death
kept trying to buy the mission house where she lived or other
property-in vain because of Chinese opposition to selling land to
foreigners. T.P. Crawford, with Lottie's support, persuaded the
older Baptist church in northern Tengchow to move outside the
city; this united work by Southern Baptists around the other
congregation, renamed Tengchow Baptist Church.
Holmes and Miss Moon devoted most of their time to village visits.
When invited into a home, one would take the children into the
yard to tell Bible stories and teach the catechism and songs.
Lottie, if she were the one staying inside to teach the women, sat
cross-legged on the kang, using her bedroll for a backrest. A kang,
a brick bed about 5-by-10 feet and 3 feet high, was found in every
home. It was heated from fire built inside it through an opening
from an adjoining room. People sat, ate and slept on the kang, the
only heated place in the house. At night, Lottie unrolled her
the morning neighbors usually crowded around to stare at the
foreigners as they ate breakfast. Once Mrs. Holmes remarked,
"Miss Moon, please note that we are being observed by 30
people; I've counted them." Two were in the doorway; others
peeped from behind. Four boys stood on a table for a better view.
look," said Lottie. "Some boys are tearing holes in the
window [made of paper]. We are a wonderful sight, I suppose."
Later she wrote Tupper, "Have you ever felt the torture of
human eyes bearing upon you, scanning every feature, every look,
every gesture? I feel it keenly."
spoke from early morning to late evening, from the kang, on the
street, in the yard of dirty homes, traveling in shentzes or
riding donkeys, in the heat and dust of summer or wintry rain and
snow. She was constantly in contact with the people, continually
at risk of exposure to smallpox and other diseases. Yet she
suppressed her craving for cultured life and conversation and her
Southern tastes-all for the cause of Christ. "As I wander
from village to village," she said, "I feel it is no
idle fancy that the Master walks beside me, and I hear His voice
saying gently, 'I am with you always, even unto the end.'"
found strength in prayer and Bible reading and in devotional
classics. She often wrote quotations from spiritual writings in
the margin of her Bible or devotional books. One favorite was from
Francis de Sales: "Go on joyously as much as you can, and if
you do not always go on joyously, at best go on courageously and
suggested to Tupper that the board follow the pattern of some
other mission groups and provide for a year of furlough after 10
years on the field. The board eventually adopted such a policy,
but not until several missionaries in China died prematurely and
others returned home in broken health.
life takes the strength and energy out of us before we know
it," she wrote. "We have to learn to be watchful and not
overwork lest the time come too soon when we can work no
more." Becoming more careful of her health, she cultivated
her garden and took walks for exercise. She read extensively and
kept up with mission thought in her own and other denominations.
became her great enemy. "I am bored to death with living
alone," she wrote Tupper. "I don't find my own society
either agreeable or edifying."
bombarded the board with requests for recruits, including single
women. Tupper tried, but with small success. "I
estimate," he said in one speech, "a single woman in
China is worth two married men."
continued correspondence with Crawford Toy, through the years the
only man in her life. In addition to seminary teaching, he was
president of the American Philological Society, which promoted
phonetic spelling. Lottie used it for a short time, even in
letters to Tupper, who believed she and Toy were considering
1879 Toy, accused of teaching a liberal view of biblical
interpretation, had to resign from the Louisville seminary
faculty. He became a professor at Harvard University, but the
controversy continued in Southern Baptist papers between heresy
hunters and some of Toy's former students. Tupper wrote Miss Moon
in some defense of Toy; she replied, "What you say of our
mutual friend is very pleasing to me. You are right in supposing
that I think very highly of him (this is not to go in The
Crawford, visiting in Richmond, reported Lottie would go to
Harvard as Mrs. Toy. Lottie apparently wrote family members to
prepare for a wedding in early 1882.
her loneliness, Lottie felt abandoned in the mission. For extended
periods she was the only Southern Baptist missionary in north
China. One side of her responded to the prospect of cultured life
in a community of scholars such as at Harvard. But her deep
commitment to missions and China won out. A niece asked her years
later if she ever had been in love. "Yes," Lottie
replied, "but God had first claim on my life, and since the
two conflicted, there could be no question about the result."
article by Lottie in Women's Work in China brought protests from
conservative Southern Baptists. She listed three classes of single
women missionaries regarding decision making in a mission: (1)
those greatly dissatisfied and wanting changes; (2) those content
to work under current restrictions and exercise influence
indirectly; (3) those who enjoy full rights but wish these
extended to others. The board's committee on women's work quoted
from the article in a report in The Foreign Mission Journal,
noting, "This is not endorsed by the committee but is
reproduced to show what some others think."
Lottie saw this, she protested to Tupper: "I wrote the
article for deep and intense sympathy for my suffering sisters. I
have belonged heretofore to the third class who are free. It seems
to be the purpose of the committee to relegate me henceforth to
the first class. I distinctly decline from being so relegated.
Will you be so kind as to request the Board to appropriate the
proper sum, say $550, to pay my return passage to Virginia? On
arrival, I will send in my resignation in due form."
assured her the board considered her a full partner in determining
policy. She responded calmly that single women missionaries in all
missions should have equal voice-as in her own mission-but again
threatened to resign. She declared she was unable to understand
why the China committee "do not endorse my position."
Holmes, after long service in China, had left in 1881, so Lottie
took over her compound-"Little Crossroads," and made
that her home for the rest of her life. She conducted both her
school and Sallie's, but soon was devoting full time to city
visiting and country work.
in 1882 missionaries N. Weston Halcomb and C.E. Pruitt reached the
field, the first new personnel since Lottie's arrival almost 10
years earlier. Two years later, a single woman missionary arrived
and soon married Halcomb. Next came two couples-the E.E. Devaults
and James M. Joiners. Some new arrivals soon died; others went
home as invalids. Lottie respected Halcomb as an effective
missionary and a man of integrity. However, he resigned after
concluding his views on biblical inspiration and interpretation
were inconsistent with mainline Southern Baptist teaching. Pruitt
remained the only man active in the work.
T.P. Crawford always seemed less involved in missions than in his
business ventures, attacking the board and trying to force on
others his ideas of full self-support. After a few years, he left
the board and formed his own Gospel Mission. He took many Southern
Baptist missionaries with him as he opened interior stations.
Moon nurtured a dream, shared by some colleagues, of establishing
a chain of mission stations toward the interior. Hwanghsien, 20
miles from Tengchow, was the first, led by Halcomb, Devault and
Joiner. But since those workers were soon ill or gone, Lottie had
to serve there for a time.
saw as the next stop Pingtu, the world's 12th largest population
center, 100 miles further inland. Lottie, the first Southern
Baptist woman to open a new mission outpost, made a survey trip to
Pingtu in late 1885, spending three nights in miserable Chinese
inns on the way. A month in Pingtu convinced her a mission station
must be started. The people seemed curious and open, even in
religion. She returned to Tengchow and gathered a supply of warm
clothing, medicines, staple foods and reading material. The U.S.
North China consul opposed her going, since there was no consular
protection for foreigners in the interior (Pingtu had no resident
foreigners), but the few other Southern Baptist missionaries on
the field supported her plan.
reached Pingtu in December 1885. Aided by a Chinese couple from
Tengchow, she rented a four-room, dirt-floor house for $24 a year,
planning to stay until summer. She ate and lived as the Chinese
did. No one she knew spoke English.
first wanted to be accepted as neighbor and friend. It was easy to
attract a friendly, curious crowd, and she quickly adapted to the
local dialect. She began visiting surrounding villages and within
a few months had made 122 trips to 33 different places.
returned to Tengchow in June 1886 and after catching up on her
work there she felt she needed to nurse seriously ill new
missionaries in Hwanghsien for the winter and care for the local
church. It was April 1887 before she could return to Pingtu, where
she met a warm welcome.
knew she was wearing herself out. She had had no co-worker since
Sallie Holmes left six years earlier. Lottie wrote Tupper to ask
for a furlough and also requested missionary recruits. She said of
the people, especially those in Pingtu: "We must go out and
live among them, manifesting the spirit of our Lord. We need to
make friends before we can hope to make converts."
the same time she wrote to encourage Southern Baptist women to
organize, conventionwide, to study and support missions. They were
planning to act on the idea at their usual informal gathering
along with the Southern Baptist Convention in 1888. Lottie's
article in The Foreign Mission Journal told of the example
Methodist women had set: "They give freely and cheerfully.
Now the painful question arises, 'What is the matter, that we
Baptists give so little? Whose is the fault? Is it a fact that our
women are lacking in the enthusiasm, the organizing power, and the
executive ability that so conspicuously distinguishes our
letter that was to become famous appeared in the Journal for
December 1887. For several years the women's society in
Cartersville, Ga., had taken a Christmas offering to help Lottie's
work. Now she learned that Methodist women that year were to
observe the week before Christmas as a time of prayer and giving
for missions. She urged Southern Baptist women to follow their
it be said why the week before Christmas is chosen? Is not the
festive season, when families and friends exchange gifts in memory
of The Gift laid on the altar of the world for the redemption of
the human race, the most appropriate time to consecrate a portion
from abounding riches and scant poverty to send forth the good
tidings of great joy into all the earth?
wanted it clear that she was not trying to separate women's work
from other mission work:
seeking organization we do not need to adopt plans or methods
unsuitable to the view or repugnant to the tastes of our brethren.
What we want is not power, but simply combination in order to
elicit the largest possible giving. Power of appointing and
disbursing funds should be left, as heretofore, in the hands of
the Foreign Mission Board. Separate organization is undesirable,
and would do harm, but organizing in subordination to the Board is
the imperative need of the hour.
She opposed raising funds by entertainments or gimmicks. She
wonder how many of us really believe that it is more blessed to
give than to receive. A woman who accepts that statement of our
Lord Jesus Christ as a fact and not as "impractical
idealism," will make giving a principle of her life. She will
lay aside sacredly not less than one-tenth of her income or her
earnings as the Lord's money, which should would no more dare
touch for personal use than she would steal. How many there are
among our women, alas, who imagine that because "Jesus paid
it all," they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime
object of their salvation was that they should follow in the
footsteps of Jesus Christ!
10 months in Pingtu as the only Southern Baptist missionary within
a hundred miles, Lottie Moon returned to Little Crossroads in
Tengchow in July 1888. Looking over her accumulated mail, she
learned that women of the South had formed a conventionwide
organization at their spring meeting in Richmond. Miss Annie
Armstrong served as corresponding secretary for the Woman's
Missionary Union, auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention;
headquarters were in Baltimore, Md.
request for furlough had been granted, but reluctantly, for Tupper
feared for the North China mission without her. Despite failing
health, Lottie also was unwilling to leave until new women
missionaries had arrived and been introduced to the work. She
returned to Pingtu with Martha Crawford. Most promising outpost
was in Sha-ling, 10 miles away. A church was formed there in the
fall of 1889, the fourth church related to Southern Baptist
missions in all of north China.
success of the first Christmas-season mission offering among
Southern Baptists, in 1888, resulted chiefly from Lottie's
suggestion, Tupper's strong support and Annie Armstrong's
extensive letter writing and publicity. It had been designated in
advance to send women missionaries to help Lottie in China. The
goal: $2,000. The result: $3,315.26, enough to send three single
these years Lottie lived mostly in Pingtu but managed to get to
Tengchow to give orientation to new single women missionaries. She
regarded July as her time for semi-relaxation and catching up on
broke out in Sha-ling in 1890. Relatives of one of the first
inquirers, Dan Ho-bang, tied him to a pole and beat him, but he
refused to worship at ancestral tablets. A young convert, Li
Show-ting, was beaten by his brothers, who tore out his hair;
still, he remained steadfast in his faith. He was to become the
great evangelist of north China, baptizing more than 10,000
rushed to Sha-ling and told the persecution leaders, "If you
attempt to destroy his church, you will have to kill me first.
Jesus gave Himself for us Christians. Now I am ready to die for
Him." One of the mob prepared to kill her but was restrained.
Lottie calmed the terrified believers and remained with them until
persecution waned. When the believers did not retaliate with the
usual legal action, the Chinese turned with more respect to hear
of the new faith. The church became the strongest in north China;
its members evangelized in nearby villages.
am trying honestly to do the work that could fill the hands of
three or four women," Lottie wrote in an open letter
published in the Religious Herald, "and in addition must do
much work that ought to be done by young men … Our dilemma-to do
men's work or to sit silent at religious services conducted by men
just emerging from heathenism." Letters against women
speaking in public where men were present or taking the lead in
general work continued in Baptist papers; nothing on the other
side was printed from American readers.
came furlough-Lottie's first trip to American in 14 years. The
last family property at Viewmont had been sold. Eddie Moon, still
sickly, though she taught school at times, had bought a small
house near Scottsville, Va., and awaited Lottie there. To recover
her health and strength, Lottie declined speaking invitations for
six months. Tupper, at her invitation, visited her in Scottsville
to talk about mission work. Pruitt, then on furlough but leaning
toward Crawford, also came to talk to Lottie and became a loyal
supporter of the board. All Southern Baptist missionaries in north
China at the time joined Crawford and his Gospel Mission, except
William and Effie Sears and Laura Barton. The board reappointed
Lottie at her own expense visited church and women's societies in
several states. She attended WMU meetings in connection with the
SBC, in Atlanta, admitted to convention sessions as an
"observer." At the 1893 convention in Nashville, the WMU
meeting honored Lottie, and she supported a plan to use the
Christmas offering that year for mission advance in Japan.
more of her story: Part 3: Her
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From Southern roots
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