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At the end of the year, after wrapping up the Lottie Moon Christmas mission offering, the question is always asked, how did we do? What did we give? This year, let’s take a look at it in a different perspective.

What comes to mind when asked about numbers? First thought is that we need them to count. Good start. What else?

Okay, we know it is the title of the fourth book of the Bible—the one that can be rather difficult to read through. It has all those numbers throughout the book.

But, did you know that numbers can tell a story? Additionally, pun intended, according to Webster there are 38 ways to use the word “number” in the English language. One use is for the purpose of sharing information. We typically look at a number as a way to determine how we are progressing ahead or behind a given goal or objective.

This year as we completed the 2019 Lottie Moon Christmas mission offering, honestly, I was disappointed. Our goal was $25,000, and we gave $15,196.00, almost 40% under our target. I’m not sure why that was, so I went back to look at our history of missions giving. Just as Moses frequently told the children of Israel, “you shall remember…,” we too need to go back and remember why we gave, and what we have given, or we will forget.

Since the early days of our church, we have supported the International Mission Board Lottie Moon Christmas mission offering (LM) and the North American Mission Board Annie Armstrong Easter offering (AA). Today the LM offering supports 3,656 missionaries worldwide, engaging 847 people groups. That equates to 4 missionaries per people group. Some people groups have millions of people and others have only hundreds. And, they all need to know Jesus. That is why we give—to give His Light to the world.

Back in 2002, shortly after we started keeping records, with a goal of $3,000 for the LM offering, we gave $8,378.00, 250% over our goal! In 2008 we crushed a goal of $7,500, with over $20,000.00 for the AA offering. Looking back, we have been quite generous. Since 2001, we have given over $495,000 to those combined missions offerings. That is no small figure!

So, as I went back and remembered, I took another look at that 2019 figure. Our combined goal for the AA and LM offerings was $43,000. We gave just over $38,000! We met 88% of our total goal.

The numbers tell the story. Good job FBCW

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2019 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering

The impact of your giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for international missions is truly felt around the world.  Here are two of those stories:  one is from Columbia on the border of Venezuela, and the other is from Japan.

For months, Paul and Robin Tinley have been watching people spill out of Venezuela and into Colombia. It’s about 5,000 a day—a total of more than 3 million total—who have left their homes in hopes of escaping hunger, crime, unemployment, and lack of medical care. “Not only is the flow of refugees not diminishing, it’s actually bumping up,” Robin said. But, she and Paul, who serve as IMB missionaries in Colombia, are working around the clock to meet as many of the vast physical needs as they can. They’re also trying to seize the unprecedented spiritual opportunity.  “Venezuelans are more open now than they have ever been in their history, but they are open to anything—good or bad,” Robin said. “This is a historic moment where Colombian believers urgently need to share the gospel.” Though the Tinleys are stretched thin, they serve tirelessly alongside Colombian churches to offer food, child care, trauma counseling, and Bible study. They’re also working to help Venezuelans start microbusinesses to support their families. “We’re trying to offer them very practical help and also a source of comfort,” Robin said.

On the other side of the Pacific, in Japan, Masuda San was a broken man when he showed up at Mark Bennett’s sidewalk chapel for the homeless in Tokyo. “It was a typical story. They come for the food,” said Mark, an IMB missionary. “But while they’re there, we give them a portion of Scripture and share the gospel.” And, Mark learns their names—a big deal when you feel nameless and faceless, not seen by anyone. It got Masuda San’s attention. It brought him out of the shadows, and he just couldn’t get enough.   He couldn’t get enough Scripture either. He blazed through the Gospel of John and came back and asked for more. Then he asked for more again. Within six months, he had read the whole Bible. “He has this little worn-out New Testament, and it has notes and highlights,” Mark said. “We’ll be sitting around in Bible study, and someone will ask a question and he’ll start teaching them from Scripture. He knows the Word, and the Holy Spirit is using him to teach these other guys.”

PRAY for Paul and Robin to have energy to keep serving Venezuelan immigrants. PRAY for Colombian believers to share the gospel with urgency.

PRAY for the gospel to take root as Mark and his teammates work to meet the needs of dozens of homeless men on the streets of Tokyo. 

PRAY for the men to find their significance in Christ

The generosity of your giving for the Lottie Moon Christmas offering transforms lives around the world just like the people above. 

The 2019 goal for all Southern Baptist churches is $165 million.  The goal for our church is $25,000.  What is your goal? Pray about that, and pray for the people you just read about. 

The 2019 Week of Prayer for International Mission is December 1 – 8.

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