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The Fruits of Giving

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   Below are excerpts from the IMB organization concerning our 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Our leadership in the IMB had to make some radical and difficult choices as did their employees and missionaries. But we have come through those initial trying times and are now declaring a witness that is more honoring of our LORD.

     On behalf of my family, I am grateful to be part of an organization that cares deeply about keeping their house in order so that more people can be reached for Christ. Because our churches gave, our missionaries are able to stay on the field and make Christ known to those who have no way of hearing about Jesus plus train them to take this Good News to their own people.

Finalized in early June, the 2015 Lottie Moon offering totaled $165.8 million — the highest total in the 127-year history of the offering. The offering surpassed the previous all-time record of $154 million in 2013 by $11.8 million. The 2014 Lottie Moon offering totaled just over $153 million.

“Southern Baptists have exhibited their commitment to God’s mission through these gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering,” said IMB President David Platt. “Especially after a year in which we have walked through many challenges together, the support Southern Baptists have shown through this offering will not only sustain but also encourage the thousands of missionaries sent from Southern Baptist churches who are spreading the gospel right now. As an IMB family, on behalf of unreached people around the world, we are deeply grateful for the generosity of Southern Baptists who have given for God’s glory among the nations.”   

Full-time missionaries are essential as leaders who continue to be the key strategic workers in some of the most difficult places on earth. More than 3,600 IMB missionaries depend on the Lottie Moon offering and regular missions giving by churches through the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program for missionary salaries, housing, medical care, children’s education, field transportation and other expenses. Supporting one fully funded missionary overseas costs an average of $141 per day, or about $51,000 per year.

The Lottie Moon offering enables missionaries to make a difference.

Consider the refugee crisis in Northern Africa and the Middle East. It’s hard to imagine anything but a continued descending darkness closing in on Syrian and Iraqi refugees. While images and reports of cruelty and pure evil continue to shadow refugees — numbering in the millions — from any light of hope, there is hope in the good news of Jesus Christ.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY, HERE’S THE LINK:

http://imb.org/updates/storyview-4516.aspx#.V1mFp4Rb-FI

Taking the Lottie Moon Offering personally

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WHY GIVE?
BECAUSE GOD DESERVES THE WORSHIP OF ALL PEOPLE!
And we — who are redeemed and made new in Christ — are compelled to proclaim the gospel, the only hope for the billions who have never heard of Jesus.

Simply put, your giving enables missionaries to be sent to multiply churches among unreached peoples and places for the glory of God.

BECAUSE YOU GAVE
Last year’s report:

1.75 million people heard a gospel witness
275,000 became new believers
14,000 new churches and 4,000 new groups were formed
21,000 leaders were trained to start new churches
444,263 nationals met in on-going Bible studies

YOUR GIVING SENDS MISSIONARIES

Gifts to the Lottie Moon offering provide 58 percent of IMB’s total budget, while the Cooperative Program provides 31 percent.

WHAT DOES IT COST TO SUPPORT A MISSIONARY?

The average salary for a single missionary is:

$51,400 a year (average as of February 2015)
$4,283 a month
$988 a week
$141 a day
Support includes housing, salary, children’s education, medical expenses, retirement and more

WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S GOAL?
The 2015 Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goal is $175 million. One hundred percent of your gifts support missionaries and their ministries.

http://www.imb.org/main/lottie-moon/details.asp?StoryID=13782#.VnWA14Q3DFI

* * * * * * * * *

A personal note from a missionary’s mom:

   Because my son serves with his wife and sons on the mission field, I take the Lottie Moon Christmas offering very personally. No big surprise, right! But as most of you who read my blog know, our missionary organization has had to make some tough choices this year regarding its financial health. I applaud our leadership in their commitment to get their financial house in order so that they are a testimony of good stewardship with the funds with which they have been entrusted.

   As our sons and daughters serve on the mission field, there is much that make sharing the Good News about Jesus to the people they have been called to serve difficult: the political climate, cultural conflicts, climate conditions, anti-Christian religions, poverty, indifference, apathy, etc. Therefore, I plead with our churches, family, and friends of our missionaries to accept the challenge to give extra (prayerfully and financially) this year in support of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Considering the difficulties our missionaries face in making Jesus known to those they are serving, let’s make sure that lack of necessary funds to carry out their mission is not one of them. 

   We all have a responsibility to make Jesus known to the world. So shouldn’t all of us take the Lottie Moon Christmas offering personally?

How the economic downturn is affecting our missionaries, and how we can pray for them.

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During my time in the African bush, I met a wonderful missionary couple. I have asked them if I could share their concerns over the recent economic crisis concerning our missionaries and they gave their consent! Please read an excerpt from their newsletter regarding this subject, paying special attention to the prayer requests listed at the end.
The Financial Crisis at the IMB
The economic downturn of the last few years obviously hit the IMB very hard. You have likely read the news of the severe moves that the IMB is having to make in order to keep as many of our missionaries on the field as possible. This comes at a time of unprecedented access to the most difficult and hard-to-reach peoples of the earth. Voluntary Retirement Incentives are being offered to those who are over 50 years old and have at least five years of IMB experience. As we heard Dr. Platt and other top leaders announce this to missionaries and staff, you could hear the catch in their voices. (In case you’ve not read it, here’s the link to the open letter from Dr. Platt to Southern Baptists: Dr. Platt’s letter) Asking for our most experienced, well-connected, and culturally adapted personnel to voluntarily retire is certainly not the “A Plan,” but it was clear to us that our leadership has considered alternatives and believes this drastic move to be necessary at this time.
The Exciting Future of the IMB
This decision DOES NOT in any way dampen the vision for creating opportunities of service and pathways for 100,000 new overseas missionaries! We have worked with some of the “newer” missionaries and have met some of those who have been appointed recently. Their commitment to Christ, and their zeal to share the Gospel and the Word of God to the Unreached is so challenging! We are excited to know that our own gifts to the CP through our local church and those given directly to the LMCO are being used to support these men and women who are joining our experienced field personnel! As IMB missionaries, we are indeed “faith missionaries,” trusting God to provide through Southern Baptists who will passionately support IMB missions now and in the future! We are convinced that the best years of the IMB are ahead!
What now?
-Please consider today to be a strategic time to give to the IMB! Your timely gifts will be appreciated more now than ever before!
-Please pray for the IMB leadership as they seek to obey the Lord as well as meet the expectations of Southern Baptists by keeping our missionaries on the field.
-Please pray for all the IMB missionaries who are seeking God’s will in their decision about their future employment.
-Please pray specifically for us, as we strive to discern God’s best for us at this time. The reduction plan means that 1 out of 6 employees must find employment elsewhere. What does God want us to do? Jesus’ parable in Luke 19:6-10 reminds us that we are the Lord’s unworthy slaves and our desire is to be obedient to our Master. We rest knowing that His plans for us are always for His glory and our best!
-Please pray for us following Epaphras’ example in Colossians 4:12: that we would stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. We can’t wait to see what HE does next!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GIVE TO LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING!

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http://www.imb.org/main/give/page.asp?StoryID=5523&LanguageID=1709Lottie Moon past and present

• 2012 goal: $175 million
• 2011 receipts: $146.8
• 2010 receipts: $145.6 million
• 2009 receipts: $148.9 million
• $3 billion given since offering’s inception
• $3,315 collected in 1888 for first offering, enough to send three women to China

How much does it cost to support a missionary?
• $49,800 a year (average)
• $4,150 a month
• $958 a week
• $136 a day
Reported May 2012. Support includes housing, salary, children’s education, medical expenses, retirement and more.

IT’S LOTTIE MOON CHRISTMAS OFFERING

TIME AGAIN!

(And that’s a very good thing!)

I pulled the statistics above from the website listed and posted them here for your benefit.Statistics can be a very dry read but being the parent of a missionary, these figures become quite personal.  Because I know that people who are not involved with missions as I am, tend to overlook an offering such as Lottie Moon, I hope that God can use something I blog here to spark your interest and motivate you to want to give to this offering.  

WHY, you may ask?

If you will notice, the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering has not met its goal for the past several years.  Yet, the figures for supporting our missionaries continues to rise.   For me, as the mom of a missionary, this is alarming!  Oh, I know we are facing harsh economic challenges here in our own country and that might cause us to assume that we can’t give to LM this year. After all, it’s Christmas time and we need to do all that we can to provide what Christmas we can for our own. I am in sympathy with that.  That’s why people have to make giving to LM a deliberate matter of prayer.  God knows what He’s able to do through us so we need not assume that He is challenged by our meagerness.  But should that be a challenge for God?  Read the following verse before you respond:  

Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and test me now in this, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

I sort of got the feeling the above verse says it all!  

Our missionaries depend on us to do the

following:

 1 – PRAY and ask God what He would have us give to help sustain our missionaries. (and their precious families, like my daughter-in-law and my new little grandson)

2 – OBEY,  once that is made known to us! (We want our missionaries to willingly obey God to tell others about Christ, so we need to be willing to support them so they can!)

3 – GIVE.  In prayerful obedience!  (Remembering, God is not limited by your means, only by your lack of faith! Matthew 13:58)                                                                                                                                                       

I want to personally thank those of you who give to the LM offering.  Because you gave, my son had a truck to drive over the challenging roads of the 2 day trip to take my daughter-in-law to her 6 week visits to the doctor; because you gave, my son has a house for his family and the house has electricity (but not for the first few months, that’s why I am so grateful they have it now since my grandson will soon come there!)  I could go on and on but suffice it to say, because of the support of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, this mom can be at peace knowing my children are being provided for.  And you know what, for all those other parents of missionaries on the foreign field, I say thank you and God bless you for giving to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering!

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