Believers in South Asia gather for their weekly Bible study meeting. IMB/Special
By Ann Lovell
RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Southern Baptist church members gave $156.6 million to support international missionaries in 2018-2019, the third-highest Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions ever received.
“Because you and your church gave through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, you are a part of reaching the unreached in every nation,” said IMB President Paul Chitwood. “When you make LMCO a priority in your church, by God’s grace, we see the numbers rise exponentially of those who meet Jesus for the first time, of those who follow our Lord in baptism, and of new churches planted.”
IMB closed the books for the 2018-19 offering Sept. 30, and the Lottie Moon offering exceeded by $2.2 million the 174-year-old organization’s 2018-19 LMCO budgeted goal of $154.4 million, Rodney Freeman, IMB’s treasurer and chief financial officer, reported. IMB also received $99.3 million from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for 2018-19. This is the third consecutive year that Cooperative Program giving topped $99 million.
Sandy Wisdom-Martin, executive director of national Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), reflected on sacrificial giving to international missions efforts. She related a quote dated 100 years ago as printed in the December 1919 issue of Home and Foreign Fields from one of our Southern Baptist faithful: “I wish to seek by my life and by my money, as far as I can, to glorify God in the salvation of the lost and the construction of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, so that God’s will may be done in all the earth.”
Wisdom-Martin said, “One hundred years later, that continues to be the testimony of Southern Baptists as evidenced by their generous gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We rejoice at the opportunity to undertake greater things for the sake of the Gospel.”
The Lottie Moon offering supports nearly 3,700 full-time missionaries, who are sharing the Gospel in towns, villages, and cities around the world. This year’s offering accounts for nearly three-fourths of IMB’s overseas budget. The overseas budget provides both ministry funds and missionary support, including missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation, and other expenses. The remainder of the overseas budget is funded through regular giving by churches to the Cooperative Program.
Your giving matters
Through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program, Southern Baptists directly support the work of IMB personnel such as:
Victor and Madeline Hawthorne* who started Story One, a new church for the Deaf in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Story One members are now sharing the Gospel among the Deaf in Thailand and training Deaf Christian leaders in Nepal and Indonesia.
Eric Marshall* and Gary Vinson* in Central Asia, who are discipling a young man named Ali. The young man, considered the neighborhood bully by many in his community, requested a New Testament with hopes of filling the “hole in his heart” and now meets regularly with Marshall and Vinson for Bible study.
Ross and Dena Frierson*, who serve in Wales and helped Tai,* a Southeast Asian human trafficking survivor, find salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
“In the slums and cities, in the jungles and on the plains, in the provinces and on the plateaus, your gifts make it possible for Southern Baptists to take the Gospel to the areas where billions are waiting to be reached,” Chitwood said. “The Lord of the harvest has called us to the fields, and to the fields we must go. Thank you for making that obedience possible with your faithful LMCO gifts.”
Learn more about how gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering make an eternal difference. See how Cooperative Program funds undergird missionaries around the world. Find out more about how WMU can help churches learn about and pray for Southern Baptist missionaries.
Ann Lovell is editorial/design manager for the International Mission Board.