Lottie Moon : biography
Charlotte Digges "Lottie" Moon (December 12, 1840 – December 24, 1912) was a Southern Baptist missionary to China with the Foreign Mission Board who spent nearly forty years (1873–1912) living and working in China. As a teacher and evangelist she laid a foundation for traditionally solid support for missions among Baptists in America.
Relationship with Crawford Howell Toy
Several have suggested that Moon had a romantic relationship with Crawford Howell Toy, a former teacher who became a controversial figure among Southern Baptists in the late 19th century. Moon first met Toy at the Albemarle Female Institute, founded by Southern Seminary founder John Broadus. Lottie was a capable student in languages, becoming one of the first women in the south to earn a master's degree in the field. Lottie—who previously learned Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish—would learn Hebrew and English grammar under Toy's tutelage. Toy wrote of Moon, "She writes the best English I have ever been privileged to read." While it is rumored that Toy proposed to Moon before the Civil War, there is no concrete evidence of such an event. Instead, Toy became a staunch supporter of the Confederacy while Moon aided her mother on their Virginia estate.Allen, 33-36.
Following his tenure at Albemarle, Toy was a professor of Old Testament studies at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Toy, however, was dismissed from Southern in 1879 following a series of controversial lectures and publications concerning his doctrine of Scripture, notably influenced by the European higher critics of his milieu. In Moon's 1881 correspondence with FMB secretary H. A. Tupper, she expressed her plans for a spring wedding with Toy, who was now teaching Old Testament and religion at Harvard University. Toy and Moon's relationship was broken before their marriage plans were realized—citing religious reasons for calling off the wedding. Toy's controversial new beliefs regarding the Bible and Moon's commitment to remain in China doing mission work for Southern Baptists seem to be these reasons. While Moon went on to become the "patron saint" of Southern Baptist Missions, Toy ultimately broke his affiliation with Southern Baptists and became a Unitarian.Allen, 139.
Virginia plantation roots
Moon was born to affluent parents who were staunch Baptists, Anna Maria Barclay and Edward Harris Moon. She grew up (to her full height of , according to one account) on the family's ancestral slave-labor tobacco plantation called Viewmont, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Lottie was fourth in a family of five girls and two boys. Lottie was only thirteen when her father died in a riverboat accident.
The Moon family valued education, and at age fourteen Lottie went to school at the Baptist-affiliated Virginia Female Seminary (high school, later Hollins Institute) and Albemarle Female Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 1861 Moon received one of the first Master of Arts degrees awarded to a woman by a southern institution. She spoke numerous languages: Latin, Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. She was also fluent in reading Hebrew. Later, she would become expert at Chinese.
Lottie Moon has come to personify the missionary spirit for Southern Baptists and many other Christians, as well. The annual Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Missions has raised a total of $1.5 billion for missions since 1888, and finances half the entire Southern Baptist missions budget every year.
Missionary work in China
Early years in China (1873-1885)
Lottie joined her sister Edmonia at the North China Mission Station in the treaty port of Dengzhou, and began her ministry by teaching in a boys school. (Edmonia had to return home a short time later for health reasons.) While accompanying some of the seasoned missionary wives on “country visits” to outlying villages, Lottie discovered her passion: direct evangelism. Most mission work at that time was done by married men, but the wives of China missionaries Tarleton Perry Crawford and Landrum Holmes had discovered an important reality: Only women could reach Chinese women. Lottie soon became frustrated, convinced that her talent was being wasted and could be better put to use in evangelism and church planting. She had come to China to "go out among the millions" as an evangelist, only to find herself relegated to teaching a school of forty "unstudious" children. She felt chained down, and came to view herself as part of an oppressed class - single women missionaries. Her writings were an appeal on behalf of all those who were facing similar situations in their ministries. In an article titled "The Woman's Question Again," published in 1883, Lottie wrote:
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine