John Allen Moore
Moon lost one administrative friend in June 1893 when Henry Allen
Tupper resigned as Foreign Mission Board corresponding secretary
at age 65 after 21 exhausting years. But Robert J. Willingham, who
also would become a supporter of Lottie, succeeded him. A few
months later Lottie said goodbye to her sister, Eddie, and before
the end of the year was back in Tengchow-really "at
Southern Baptist missionary men and women now made up the north
China mission. Lottie could have claimed the pleasant, growing
work around Pingtu-people there adored her-but she left it to
younger missionaries, visiting there less and less often. She went
instead to Tengchow where she visited regularly in many homes and
toured among a hundred or so villages with a day's reach of the
city. She made fewer long evangelistic tours.
she suffered chronic throat and other health problems, Lottie
spent long periods nursing seriously ill members of her mission
and some among the Presbyterians. Realizing the need to care for
herself, she took daily cold baths and usually a shampoo (she
thought "a very hot head at night meant loss of sleep").
She ate a tomato a day and took a quarter-hour nap after lunch.
She made July vacation time in Tengchow, catching up on reading
and writing, attending to local school and church duties, but
avoiding extensive travel.
from villages stayed with her for days or weeks at a time, some
indigent guests semipermanently. She never turned away a beggar
from her door without giving aid. She bore all these expenses
the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95), a shell demolished a wall at
Little Crossroads (as her compound was called); and other sections
were damaged. Missionaries fled on a U.S. warship, but Lottie,
then on her way back from Pingtu, did not try to join them.
Hartwell soon returned, and peopled flocked to hear him preach.
His missionary daughter, Anna, left Canton to join the Tengchow
mission and aided country work, relieving strain on Lottie's
throat. Lottie's goal: visit 200 villages each quarter.
fear you work yourself too hard," Corresponding Secretary
R.J. Willingham wrote her. But at the same time, in response to
her continuing appeals for recruits, he told her new missionaries
could not be appointed, due to the board's indebtedness. The news
was disheartening, but the forming of a new church in Pingtu city
delighted her. "I have never found mission work more
enjoyable," she wrote. And later: "To go out daily among
a kindly people, amid enchanting views of nature, everywhere one
turns catching lovely glimpses of sea or distant hills or quiet
valleys, all that to me is most delightful. I constantly thank God
that He has given me work that I love so much."
1898 she began a day school for boys and girls together, an
innovation for Chinese. Teaching mainly involved extensive
memorization and, as was the practice, she employed a Chinese
teacher to lead memory drills; Lottie gave the examinations every
Monday. She visited villages Tuesday through Saturday. Sundays
were busiest. Up at 6:15, she helped at the morning church
service, hosted the English-speaking community for a service at
Little Crossroads followed by dinner for the group and taught an
afternoon Sunday School class. Later, she led a special class at
her place for boys and girls. After reading and some writing,
including her diary, she retired at 10 p.m.
exhaustion and despair at the lack of recruits felled Hartwell,
his daughter and other missionaries for long periods. More often
than not, Lottie was the nurse, especially for women and children.
In all this she kept herself disciplined, writing a friend:
"When I think myself threatened with nervous prostration, I
quit work at once and take perfect rest. Not all people have the
resolution to do this, and of course, not all are so situated that
they can do it. I argue thus: I refuse to go any longer. I rest. I
get well in a month or so and then take up my work."
greatly admired Miss Moon, almost as much has had Tupper. "I
wonder," Willingham wrote, "if you know how much the
brethren of the Board think of you and your work." At the
same time he announced that new missionaries were coming-at last.
In mid-1899 the J.W. Lowes settled in Pingtu. Also, after years of
Lottie's pleading, a single woman, Mattie Dutton, arrived early in
1900. Lottie welcomed her to Little Crossroads, helped acquaint
her with language and customs and later took her on country tours
to train her.
as those in the violent and anarchistic uprising were called,
opposed foreigners and any modernization. They became most violent
in 1900. Roving bandits murdered every foreigner they
could-especially missionaries. Thousands of Chinese Christians
died during this time.
Baptists of north China, those in Pingtu suffered most. Warned
against going there, Lottie-disguised-risked her life to reach the
city. She slicked back her hair and donned a Chinese man's long
robe and the red-buttoned cap designating officials. Engaging a
sedan chair she sat, arms folded, at the front opening and looked
condescendingly from side to side in royal fashion.
Pingtu Baptists had been imprisoned and tortured. Lottie offered
encouragement to them and other believers, enhancing her unique
place in their hearts. But realizing the best hope for the
believers was to cut all ties with foreigners, she returned to
Tengchow in the same way she had come.
U.S. consul ordered all foreigners to leave the province. Lottie
and other missionaries boarded a Chinese gunboat, whose captain, a
gracious Christian, opposed the uprising. A U.S. ship took the
Americans to Chefoo, and later they reached Shanghai. Expecting a
long conflict, Lottie and Mattie Dutton sailed to Japan.
by Southern Baptist missionaries in Fukuoka, the two rented a
Japanese house. Lottie stayed nine months, teaching English in a
commercial school with her Bible as textbook. She also taught
private students; three of these young men became Christians. Upon
return to Tengchow in April 1901, she resumed her schoolwork and
city and country visiting. Work flourished in north China. Chinese
Christians of Pingtu province, entitled to large indemnity
payments for the Boxers' atrocities, refused all except that paid
by persons clearly guilty. This non-vengeful spirit won many
friends for Baptists.
Pettigrew, first trained nurse the Foreign Mission Board
appointed, had grown up in Virginia as an admirer of Lottie Moon.
When she and another single woman arrived early in 1902, Lottie,
as usual, helped them adjust.
board had adopted a policy-one Lottie suggested-of providing each
missionary a furlough after 10 years on the field. As her furlough
neared, Lottie was tempted, as usual, to delay it, but
factors-among them Eddie's worsening health-drew her home. Eddie
had sold the Scottsville house and wandered from one boarding
house to another in North Carolina and Florida seeking a healthful
climate. She made occasional small loans to the Foreign Mission
Board and bought a $3,000 annuity from the board, guaranteeing her
a return of $150 a year for life, payments to go to Lottie should
she survive Eddie.
made her furlough home at Crewe, Va., where a nephew cared for her
brother Isaac and his wife. Eddie joined them. Lottie-now heavier,
slightly grayed and missing some teeth-dressed in black and
traveled to visit various relatives, churches and women's
missionary societies. Women everywhere heard her respectfully.
tried to persuade her, after 30 years in China, to retire.
"Oh, don't say that you don't want me to return," Lottie
pleaded. "Nothing could make me stay. China is my joy and my
delight. It is my home now." At age 63 she sailed from San
Francisco, Feb. 27, 1904, sharing an economy cabin with two
strangers. Back at Little Crossroads, she happily donned her
modest Chinese robes and 67-cent, cardboard-soled fabric shoes to
board began a policy-one Lottie supported-that missionaries must
study the language two years before undertaking major mission
responsibilities. Among new recruits were the Jesse C. Owenses,
W.C. Newtons, Ella Jeters and Ida Taylor. Former members of the
mission who had defected to T.P. Crawford's Gospel Mission,
returned to the Southern Baptist fold on the recommendation of
Mrs. Crawford after her husband's death.
continued. The board's first hospital on any field opened in
Hwanghsien, conducted by Dr. T.W. Ayers. A theological school and
a girls' training school were begun in Tengchow. China was making
progress also. With abolishment of the classical examinations,
formerly offered in Tengchow, the city declined, and the
theological and training schools were moved to more-prosperous
Hwanghsien. Chinese Christians took the lead in combating the
practice of binding girls' feet, organizing the Heavenly Foot
Society. Parents of most girls in Baptist schools allowed
daughters to unbind their feet; some schools no longer accepted
girls with bound feet.
as a veteran, Lottie at times still used a teacher to drill her in
niceties of the spoken language and to help in writing materials.
She paid her teacher and all her servants-from personal funds. She
continued her school for girls and boys; grown men now clamored
for admission. She organized other schools to help meet the new,
widespread desire for education, still using the Christian
catechism and Bible stories as basic texts, plus courses in
arithmetic, geography and classical Chinese literature.
of frontier life and work continued to thin the ranks. At Little
Crossroads Lottie nursed Mattie Dutton, who had a nervous
breakdown, but the younger woman never again was able to resume
her age and circumstances, Lottie remained in fairly good health.
Her schools were growing, and she put even more of her own funds
into them. She kept up local church work, the English-language
service, two Sunday School classes in different parts of the city,
and her visiting in Tengchow and the villages. Her guestrooms at
Little Crossroads were in constant use with sometimes as many as
15 Chinese guests (at Lottie's expense).
other missionaries transferred to more fruitful fields, she was
now alone in Tengchow except for Ida Taylor, who later contracted
three types of smallpox simultaneously, and was never able to
return to work, though Lottie cared for her. New recruits arrived
for inland stations; two more hospitals were opened in north
two single women recruits studied Chinese life with Lottie, they
noticed during devotions that her Scripture reading did not
correspond with their Bibles. One asked what Lottie was reading
from. "Oh, the Greek," she replied, continuing her
translation. She translated with the same facility from Greek to
became the first Foreign Mission Board official to tour the
Orient, visiting north China in October 1907. Shantung Baptist
Association was to meet in Tengchow, but an outbreak of meningitis
in the schools forced transfer to Hwanghsien. Later the Tengchow
area suffered a siege of bubonic plague.
missionaries included Dr. and Ms. James Gaston-he opened the third
hospital, at Laichowfu-and Wayne Adams, a tall, young bachelor.
They all had been influenced to come to China by Lottie Moon and
her story. Adams, an admirer, for a year took his meals with her
(paying his part), often followed by discussions of Chinese life,
language, theology, literature or current events. He regarded this
as a liberal education. When Floy White arrived to marry Adams,
Lottie oriented her also.
Jan 11, 1909, Adams found Miss Moon nervous, her eyes cloudy.
Years later he learned that a letter had just brought tragic news:
Sister Eddie, living in a tiny cottage in Starke, Fla., finally
had given up in her search for health and holiness. She lay on her
bed, pulled the covers over her, put a gun to her head and took
her life. Long in a disturbed emotional state, Eddie Moon in a
sense had continued to live in China through Lottie. Eddie wrote
cheerful letters to her older sister, who faithfully replied. The
two sisters loved each other more than anyone else. But Lottie
bore her grief alone; she did not tell her associates, but went on
with her hard, dawn-to-dusk schedule.
the fall of 1911 women from three women's missionary societies met
in Lottie's living room and organized the Woman's Missionary Union
of North China. They elected Lottie president.
new missionary Lottie helped adjust was Jane Lide, another who had
been reared on stories about Lottie. The veteran taught her how
best to visit in the city and in villages. Jane was a good
student. As the two walked one day beside the Tengchow city wall,
a mounted Chinese soldier galloped toward them on the path. Jane
prepared to step aside onto the narrow, slippery ledge between the
path and a partially filled moat. Lottie stopped her. "Don't
worry, Jane," she said. "I'll teach him some
stood fast, tightening her hold on her umbrella. As man and mount
bore down upon the two, threatening to knock them into the moat,
Lottie suddenly opened her umbrella. The horse shied, throwing the
rider into the moat. The two women walked on, while the angry but
chastened soldier picked himself up out of the water.
revolution broke out late in 1911. Fighting was intense around
Baptist mission stations in north China. The U.S. consul asked
missionaries in Hwanghsien to move to a safer port city, and they
agreed-all but Lottie. When she learned Chinese hospital personnel
had been left alone in Hwanghsien, she made her way safely through
warring troops and took charge at the hospital, encouraging the
terrified nurses and other personnel by her courage.
resumed work caring for the ill and wounded. When Dr. Ayers and
other male missionaries risked their lives to return, they were
amazed to find Lottie directing the hospital efficiently, as she
had done for 10 days.
the hospital in rightful hands, Lottie packed to return home, but
the men warned that heavy fighting made this impossible. When she
insisted, they sent word to the opposing generals that Miss Moon
would be passing through at a set hour. A young missionary
escorted her, and as they made their way through the battle lines,
firing stopped on both sides.
forces won early in 1912. Under the lead of Sun Yat-sen and Yuan
Shih-kai, a personal friend of Lottie and other missionaries, a
republic was established with a Christian calendar and a
declaration of religious liberty. Lottie was delighted, but other
developments saddened her. These were destined to break her
no stranger to China, broke out in unusual severity. Churches
around Pingtu were multiplying under vigorous evangelism by
Lottie's beloved pastor Li. But Lottie wept to think of people in
the area living-if they did live-on ground leaves, roots and sweet
also ravaged the land. Lottie and other missionaries gave all they
could to relief agencies, and they continued to help all who came
to her door. The Foreign Mission Board's debt was a crushing
concern. With church members in America not trained in systematic
giving, the board had proceeded on faith to expand its work in
many lands; there were now 273 missionaries.
wrote Lottie in August 1911: "It is difficult to know how to
plan. Our indebtedness has been so great it will take over
$600,000 to carry out the work which we had already planned for
and meet the debt. Last year our receipts were only $500,000. We
are trying to be very careful." A week later he wrote,
"We are in an embarrassing position on account of our debt.
We do not know what to do." Lottie made rather large gifts to
the board (the income from Eddie's annuity for certain periods) to
help relieve the pressures. In midsummer 1912 he was still mission
secretary, always pleading with the board for new missionaries.
the Gastons visited her at summer's end, all seemed in order. But
in Lottie's heart the burdens were piling up. The immediate need:
the suffering around her. Her compound was no longer an informal
training school for Chinese women but a hostel for the ill and
buried herself in China's misfortunes, trying to help and no
longer taking care of her needs. Her small cash reserves were
gone. She gave and gave, not counting the cost to herself. She
almost stopped eating. If others could not have food, neither
would she. Her strength failed.
young colleagues sent for medical help. Missionary nurse Jessie
Pettigrew came from Hwanghsien, discovered and treated a large
carbuncle at the base of Lottie's ear and took her home with her.
Lottie dozed by day, tore her hair and refused to eat. Missionary
doctors tried to help. Dr. Gaston, early in December, gave his
diagnosis: She was starving herself to death.
doctors decided her only hope for survival was a voyage to
America. As Dr. Hearn packed her in pillows for the long day's
shentze ride to the coast, she sat up.
lay down, dear Miss Moon," he implored.
old, precise, literary Lottie Moon erupted. "I will not lay
down, sir," she corrected. "I will lie down."
Miller, missionary nurse, went with Lottie, whose slight,
self-starved body was said to weigh only about 50 pounds. Miller
arranged to sleep in Lottie's ship cabin to care for her. Hearn
brought aboard a supply of Lottie's favorite grape juice and other
food. He doubted she would survive the trip, but felt it her only
hope. Lottie dozed most of the time or was otherwise unconscious.
a few days she roused, took some juice and spoke weakly but
rationally about spiritual things. She whispered the words of the
song with her companion, "Jesus Loves Me," and asked the
nurse to pray for her. Next morning Lottie no longer spoke, but
pointed upward when her nurse neared, indicating the source of her
ship docked in Kobe, Japan, one of Lottie's favorite places, to
take on coal. On Christmas Eve 1912 she opened her eyes, smiled
and looked around. With her last remaining strength, she raised
her fists together-the fond Chinese greeting. She must have been
greeting her Lord, for in that moment her spirit went out to meet
remains were cremated, by Japanese law. Nurse Miller delivered the
urn of ashes to a board representative. Her life was never the
same for having been with Lottie Moon. The same can be said of
thousands of others-in American and in China.
Christmas offering, launched at her suggestion, was named for her
more of her story:
From Southern roots
| Part 2:
The offering begins
| <<Back to