Charlotte “Lottie” Moon was a teacher and a foreign missionary who lived in China from 1873 – 1912. Lottie was a pioneer for women’s equality. She campaigned to give women missionaries the freedom to minister and have an equal voice in mission proceedings. At that time, single women missionaries were not sent to evangelize, they were there to teach. Lottie wrote letters asking for more missionaries and money to grow her work.
In 1885 Lottie moved inland to evangelize full-time. She continued writing letters and articles and said there was a “desperate need” for more missionaries, which the poorly funded board could not provide. She encouraged Southern Baptist women to organize mission societies in the local churches to help support additional missionary candidates and to consider coming themselves. Lottie was instrumental in the founding of The Woman’s Missionary Union, an auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention, in 1888. The first “Christmas offering for missions” in 1888 collected enough to send three new missionaries to China.
Working as a missionary in China during difficult times, Lottie shared her personal finances and food with anyone in need around her, severely affecting both her physical and mental health. In 1912, she only weighed 50 pounds.
In 1918, at Annie Armstrong’s suggestion, WMU named the annual Christmas offering for International Missions in honor of Lottie Moon.