Thursday, August 3, 2017

Literacy MIssions: Making the Word Known

Recently I've been reading and writing about Literacy Missions in the United States. It is a subject dear to my heart. I love writing about it, teaching students of all ages, and training volunteers to participate in the ministry. I volunteered in Literacy Missions from April 1977 to October 2016 through my church, local literacy councils, the North American Mission Board (NAMB), State Conventions, and in public school. I finally realized it is a ministry that belongs in the church because it involves ministering to the whole person.

Literacy Missions consists of three branches: Adult Reading and Writing (ARW) reaches out to adults who need help with reading and writing skills they have missed out on in life. Tutoring Children and Youth (TCY) strives to help those who are having difficulty in school. Volunteers spend and two or more hours each week, teaching reading, writing, and math in church-based ministries. English as a Second Language (ESL) is an outreach to Internationals (all ages) in our midst who need to learn to speak English in order to get jobs, care for their families, and adapt to our culture. All these ministries have a common purpose---to help these people learn to read the Bible and come to know Jesus.

You could say Literacy Missions is my passion, and for that reason, I have chosen to spend some time on my blog writing about the hundreds of volunteers who share my passion and the students who bless our lives. Every week I'll share two stories about a Literacy Missions student to help you understand what the teacher-student relationship means to each person, and how God has blessed those who accept the call He placed on their lives to be involved in Literacy Missions.

Today Barbara Martin shares a story about one of her ESL students at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.

                                               ESL Student and Teacher Skype from China

          We praise God for the 25 Internationals who professed faith in Christ this past year through the North Carolina Literacy Missions ministries.

          One of those students was Li, a visiting scholar from China studying at one of our major North Carolina universities. Last September, Li joined an ESL class to improve her English while she was studying in the States. The ESL class used the Bible to teach English. Soon Li was asking questions about the gospel and wanting to learn more than we could cover in class.  She started meeting weekly with her ESL teacher for more Bible study. Li did not know it, but although she was not yet a believer at the time, she was an early disciple (learner) of Christ. 

          After months of study and much time with her teacher, Li indicated that she would like to become a follower of Christ. In May of this year, she accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized in July. She has returned to China now and is sharing her faith with others. She is a light to her own people. Li continues to grow in her faith as she continues regular Bible study by Skype with her ESL teacher. 
Barbara Martin is Li's teacher. She is a retired missionary,who served with her husband in Brazil for eighteen years. She currently serves as the Literacy Consultant for the NC Baptist State Convention. Her missionary spirit never tires as she works with international students who attend the ESL ministry at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC.

                                           * * * * * * * *
If you would like to volunteer to work in an ESL program, contact me, and I will put you in touch with someone in your state who will connect your with a Literacy Missions ministry near you.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Look who's back!  Jo Huddleston has been writing Sweet Southern Romance again, and she wants to share it with you. You can read Chapter 1 below. Please leave a comment, and we'll draw a winner March 27 to receive an eBook copy of With Good Intentions.

Jo is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series, her Caney Creek series, and her standalone novel, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern historical romances

Jo is a member of ACFW and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Learn more at where you can read first chapters of her novels and novellas and also sign up for her mailing list.



With Good Intentions is a sweet romance spiced with deception, set in 1959.

 Jean Stewart and her mama stand firm to protect their family business from a big-city developer’s takeover. Oscar Wainworth sends his son William to convince the ladies to sell their property. William has an instant attraction to Jean, believes he shouldn’t be the one to discuss the sale with the Stewarts, and gives them a fake name. If they know he’s a Wainworth, he’s likely to find himself out on the sidewalk.

One lie leads to another until William may have dug a hole too deep to escape. By stealth, he learns that Jean can’t associate with anyone who is dishonest. To win Jean’s love, William must convince her that his lies flowed from good intentions.

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Chapter 1

October 1959—Birmingham, Alabama

William Wainworth shifted in his chair, stretched his long legs beneath the massive conference table, and braced for the impending reprimand from the CEO. This regular Monday morning meeting of Wainworth Development sales staff had gone on longer than he’d expected.
He would loosen his necktie but doing so would violate the expectations Wainworth’s CEO held for his male employees: wear a coat and tie when representing Wainworth Development. His daddy being the CEO of Wainworth Development, William had that rule ingrained in him from an early age.
Among other stellar traits, his daddy dressed immaculately, and he expected his workforce to follow his example. His appearance had favorably impressed many clients who sat with him in his Birmingham office. Every weekday, he never ventured outside his home without the requisite coat and necktie. William had never seen him wear wrinkled pants or curled-up shirt collars.
Now, Oscar Wainworth stood tall, slender, and good-looking between the head of the table and an easel, his index finger tapping on a sketch positioned there. William moved his attention from his daddy to the sketch, a street-level drawing of storefronts along a sidewalk in Conroy, Alabama.
Wainworth Development sought to purchase that entire block of businesses, demolish the buildings, and replace them with an apartment complex having a bookstore on the first floor. Sitting across the street from a growing college, the location proved ideal for Wainworth’s purpose.
The building plans had received the city’s approval. Wainworth representatives had successfully gained signatures on real estate contracts to acquire all the properties except one. The smallest business on the block refused to sell, despite repeated overtures from Wainworth Development.
Oscar Wainworth faced the dozen or so men seated around the table in chairs upholstered in rich, brown leather. He put his palms on the gleaming tabletop and leaned forward. “Gentlemen, this one small store is the monkey wrench in this whole deal. We’ve bought up all the properties on the block, yet here’s this little hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop smack-dab in the middle that you’ve not convinced to sell. Why is that? Why this one store?”
Mumbled reasons and comments circulated around the massive table. William and Oscar had heard them all before. Oscar Wainworth stood straight, his six-foot-four height menacing, and met the eyes of each salesman. “Yes, the owners are females, and you’ve all probably tried to be gentlemanly in your contacts with them. That’s commendable and appropriate.
“But, men, you need to work with these ladies just as you would any other client. Wainworth Development is a business, and you must conduct yourselves accordingly—doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a man or a woman. However, it’s time to get tough with these women. Understood?”
The men bobbed their heads in sync as if they followed the directions of an orchestra conductor, and his daddy continued. “Do I have to go down there and show you how it’s done? Must I close this deal myself? I assure you I will not be happy if I do.”
His gaze settled on his son. “William, I want you to go down to Conroy and convince the owners to sell. This has become a special case, and if you’ve learned anything from me in your thirty-two years, you’ll be successful. You drive on down there and stay as long as it takes to get the job done.”
“Yes, sir, I will.”
“Get going. Now.” He waved a hand toward the closed door to spur William into motion. “Ask Gloria for the files on this property and be on your way. Check back with me when you get there.”
William pushed his chair away from the conference table and rose. “Yes, sir.” His daddy was a workaholic, especially since his wife, William’s mama, had died five years ago. Oscar Wainworth put in a sixty-hour work week, never leaving a job undone. He expected similar dedication in his staff.
Finally outside the conference room and waiting at Gloria’s desk for her to collect the files, William exhaled. He didn’t mind that his daddy booted him out of the meeting—anything beat sitting in a stuffy roomful of cigar smoke.
Gloria returned and handed him several file folders. “Here are the files you need. Good luck. I hope your trip goes better than those of the other men Mr. Wainworth has sent down there.”
“Thanks. Where did the other guys stay? You got the name of a hotel?”
“Yes, they stayed at the Conroy Hotel. I’ll telephone to reserve you a room. How long will you be staying?”
“Maybe for the remainder of the week.”
Same Day—Conroy, Alabama

William carried his luggage up to a second-floor hotel room, then returned downstairs to grab a late lunch in the hotel’s dining room. When he crossed the lobby, the antiquated wooden floors groaned beneath his every step. Inside the dining room, booths lined one wall and tables covered with white linen tablecloths dotted the floor space.
He asked the hostess for a booth, and she seated him at a high-back wooden booth near the entrance. After a light lunch of steaming vegetable soup and a ham sandwich, he found a pay phone in the lobby and stepped into the booth to call Birmingham.
“Good afternoon. Wainworth Development.”
“Gloria, ring my daddy’s office, please.”
Shortly, he heard his daddy’s voice. “That you, William? How does the lay of the land look down there?”
“Just letting you know I’m here. Haven’t seen the owners yet, but plan to go there now.”
“Fine, fine. How about you call me every morning about ten o’clock to bring me up-to-date with what you’re doing? We’ve got to get this deal finalized.”
“Yes, sir, I’ll do that.”
William stepped out of the telephone booth to walk outside the red brick hotel. He stood on the sidewalk, hands shoved into his pants pockets. Without haste, he scanned what he could see of the town—to his left, a bank stood on the corner, and to his right, a drugstore anchored that corner, its front facing away from him.
Not many folks moving around, and from the casual dress of those passing by him, then had to be college students. He glanced at his polished shoes and creased dress pants—shades of Oscar Wainworth. He’d stand out like a palm tree at the North Pole among these young people. Might as well put a sign on his back saying, Here I am from the big city. I want to buy your property.
He returned to his hotel room, tugging off his necktie as he opened his luggage. Later, again on the sidewalk, dressed in blue jeans with his long-sleeved dress shirt now open at the neck, his black leather bomber jacket, and loafers, William breathed in the fresh air. A satisfying change from the pollution that filled the air over Birmingham.
Turning to his right, he sauntered west until he reached the corner and stopped. He faced the street in front of the drugstore and read the signpost: College Street. Some committee must have worked many hours to come up with that original name—the street sliced through downtown Conroy, Alabama, between the college and the town. The next block to his left held the businesses Wainworth Development had bought. Except for the ice cream shop. Might as well head on down there.
He crossed the street when the traffic light changed. Again on the sidewalk, he passed the stores that would soon disappear once Wainworth had acquired all the properties.
Before he reached his destination, the clock tower atop a lofty, red-brick building across College Street tolled the hour. Three o’clock. A spattering of foot traffic moved across the manicured lawns of nearby campus buildings. Probably class-changing time.
A short distance farther, William stood outside the building whose purchase depended on him. The sign above the door read: Stewart’s Ice Cream Shop.
Inside, William verified that his daddy had been correct when he referred to the business as a hole-in-the-wall place. With about only 400 square feet, the twelve-foot wide, deep room measured about thirty-five feet from the entrance to a closed swinging door in the back. Along the right wall, chairs occupied the length of the room, stopping at a pay phone attached to the wall and a display case that faced the entrance.
The tile floor shone, and on his left stood three ice cream cases, each about eight feet long. Their fronts were white and spotless, and no fingerprints smudged the glass through which sat numerous opened tubs of ice cream. The sweet, pleasant scent of ice cream filled the room and drew William to follow the customers already in the shop.
He fell in line with a few college students awaiting their turn to be served. The kids weren’t impatient, but rather they calmly shuffled toward the cash register. He’d skipped dessert in anticipation of his visit to the ice cream shop, and the various flavors listed on the wall tempted him.
An attractive woman probably in her late forties with dark hair and a pleasant face worked efficiently behind the counter. Another female stood behind the tall display case near the rear of the room. He could only see the back of her head and didn’t have a clue to what she did. Soon William stood first in the line.
“May I help you?” the woman asked.
“Yes, ma’am. I’d like a cone—two scoops, please.”
“What flavor?”
“Vanilla and chocolate. Would you please put the vanilla on the cone first and then the chocolate?”
The woman dipped his ice cream onto a cone while William read the flavors painted on a wooden board hanging above a counter behind her. “You certainly offer a lot of flavors here.”
“And yet you choose our trusty standbys—vanilla and chocolate.”
“Yes, ma’am. Always been my favorites.”
William paid for his treat and took a seat in the last chair against the wall. From there he had an unlimited view of the business except for the area behind the display case to his right. His attention fell to the contents of the case. Behind the glass sat numerous delicious-looking desserts—artfully decorated cakes and pies waiting to be personalized with someone’s name, a tray of individually-wrapped ice cream sandwiches, and two log rolls made of chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream.
Everyone had been served, and either left with their ice cream or taken seats along the wall to eat their treats. The woman who had served him sauntered toward where William sat. She stopped at the empty counter space across from him, reached underneath it, and brought out a large piece of flat cardboard decorated with balloons of red, blue, green, and yellow and the name of the ice cream shop.
While the woman worked with the cardboard, she spoke to the girl behind the display case near him. “Did any Wainworth people contact you before I came to work?”
William angled his body toward the entrance, pretending lack of interest in what the woman had said. He watched the traffic outside the front window but kept his attention on the conversation before him.
The girl behind the display case joined the woman assembling the cardboard into a cake box. “No, ma’am. No one has come by or called, which is unusual for a Monday. For weeks now they’ve been persistent, showing up here almost every day.” The girl had on a white basic bib apron, as the older woman did, over her skirt and blouse and wore blue Keds on her feet.
“Maybe you’ve finally convinced them you mean it when you say we don’t want to sell.”
“Mama, I hope so, but I doubt that.” The two could be sisters, as attractive as they were, rather than mother and daughter. Probably the owners. The girl reached beneath the counter and pulled out another sheet of cardboard to give the older woman. “I’ve talked with some of the other business owners, and it appears we’re the only holdouts on the block.
“If that’s the case, rather than give up, Wainworth Development will increase their pressure on us to sell. I cringe every time someone dressed in a suit and necktie come through the door. All the Wainworth people think they can make us sell—they’re so arrogant and expect us to roll over and play dead when they wave money in front of us.”
Good thing William had changed clothes before visiting their shop.
“Their money would be nice, Jean. We could pay off the mortgage here and have some left over. I could get used to not working outside the home again.”
“Mama, please don’t go soft on this. We’re not going to sell! Daddy started this business, and we’ll do everything we can to keep it going.”
Jean’s mama put the assembled boxes underneath the counter and started toward the cash register to help new customers. The girl returned to whatever kept her busy behind the dessert case.
William left his chair and stepped nearer the display case, continuing to enjoy his ice cream cone. Bending at the waist and peering inside at the cakes, William didn’t notice the girl behind the case had approached him. A female voice drew his attention. “May I help you with something from the dessert case?”
He straightened and turned toward the voice. When their eyes met, hers were the color of the deepest part of the Gulf of Mexico waters and turned him into a bumbling adolescent. “Ah, well, no, thank you. Just, uh, looking. Did you make all these pretty cakes?”
She smiled, apparently enjoying his discomfort. “Yes, I did. See something you like in there?”
Not in the dessert case, he didn’t. But he wouldn’t mind getting to know the dark-haired woman standing next to him. “No, thanks. Guess I’ll just finish this cone I’ve started.”
“I recognize our regulars, the college kids, but I don’t believe you’ve been in here before. You new in town?”
“Yeah, you could say that. I’m, .  . . Er, I’m doing some work on the college campus.”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“Uh, helping one of the professors with some research.”
“Then welcome to our town. I’m Jean Stewart.”
“Thanks. I’m Will….” Beyond her shoulder, he saw the wooden board where they listed their ice cream flavors. “…Will Woods.”

Friday, January 9, 2015

Are You a Maker or a Taker

Patches of Light welcomes Dr. Richard Leonard, long-time friend from the world of ministry and writing. Richard has given me permission to post this article which was published in the DAILY GATE CITY, Keokuk, Iowa, January 10, 2013. People who are interested in perserving our America the way it was in years past will appreciate the way Richard debunks the myth that our government is promoting that Social Security and Medicare are entitlement programs funded by taxpayers. Information is given below that will let you contact Dr. Leonard and thank him for taking the time to work through the process and inform the American people of the truth.

Recent political debate about how entitlements are stressing the Federal budget has raised the distinction between Makers and Takers. What percentage of the U.S. population are Makers, contributing to Federal revenues through the taxes they pay? And what percentage are Takers, who put nothing in but take out benefits the taxpayers are providing for them? And how long can we sustain a situation in which the benefits Takers receive exceed the resources the Makers provide through the taxes they pay — a scenario that requires the Federal government to go deeper and deeper into debt? 

As a “retired” recipient of Social Security benefits for a decade now, I wondered whether I myself had become a Taker instead of a Maker. With a work record beginning in 1958, I wondered whether the FICA withholdings from my paycheck through the years, plus my employers’ matching FICA taxes, were still paying for my monthly benefit. Or had my “contributions” been exhausted by this time, so that I’m being supported by other taxpayers? My question led me to some research, and the creation of a spreadsheet to figure out the answer.

The first step was to capture the record of all my wages that had been subject to the FICA tax; that was easily obtained through the Social Security web site. Then I had to apply the FICA rate (combined for me and my employers) for each year to my wages. (When I started work the rate was 4.5%; when I retired the rate was 15.3%.) The result was the amount of money that was put into the system each year on my behalf.

But that amount had to be adjusted to correspond to 2013 dollars. To do that, I used the average price of a gallon of gasoline each year, divided into the 2012 average of $3.29. For example, in 1960 my FICA combined tax was a mere $15.78, and gas was 31 cents a gallon. In terms of today’s purchasing power, however, that $15.78 became the equivalent of $167.47. I set up the spreadsheet to convert each year’s FICA tax to 2013 dollars. In this way $124,000 of FICA input became equivalent to more than $400,000 today.

I was ready to answer my question: was I still a Maker? I totaled all my Social Security benefits since I retired, at 65½ in 2004, through the year 2012. I used the total benefit, including the Medicare premiums that were deducted. (Yes, we “geezers” pay a premium for our Medicare!) I then subtracted what I have received thus far from the total of my FICA input as adjusted for inflation.

I am happy to report that I am still a Maker — there is still money in my “account” that was paid in on my behalf throughout a work record of 46 years. Estimating my monthly Social Security benefit in years ahead (it will go up some, of course), at age 74 I still have about ten years to go before I transition to Takerhood.

But wait — there’s more to the story! My annual FICA payments were simply absorbed into the Federal Treasury every year. The so-called “Social Security Trust Fund” is a myth. Politicians just took my contributions to the retirement system and used them to make themselves look like better managers of the nation’s budget. But what if my FICA payments had been shielded from raiding by demagogues, invested in the stock market, and allowed to grow?

To figure this out, I looked at the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 1958 and compared the closing average each year with the previous year’s close. That gave me a growth (or reduction) factor for my hypothetically invested accumulated FICA input. For example, in 1981 the Dow closed at approximately 875; in 1982 it closed at 1047, nearly a 20% increase. I took the accumulated total in my “account” for 1981, added my FICA input for 1982, and applied the 120% factor to the sum, resulting in a new accumulated total as the base for the 1983 calculations. Those calculations would use the 1983 DJIA closing average to calculate the new factor — and so on down the spreadsheet.

True, the market has its ups and downs. In the 70s it had some negative ratios, and during that time my hypothetical investment accumulation sometimes dropped below the raw FICA total. However, since then the market has “taken off.” Over the years, in fact, the market has had an annual increase in value of better than 9%. As a result, if my FICA input into the Social Security system had been permitted to grow in this way it would today total around 2.5 million dollars. I could not live long enough to become a Taker, instead of a Maker!

A trained economist could probably refine my amateur approach to this question, but I believe his result would have been substantially the same. The point is: if you worked for four decades or more, paying into the Social Security system, and are now receiving retirement benefits, you probably can’t be accused of being a Taker instead of a Maker. The title of Taker should go to someone else. 

So what do you think. Are you a Maker or a Taker? Leave a comment below. 

If you'd like to write a blog that supports Seniors for Patches of Light, contact Please tweet and share on facebook.

Published in the DAILY GATE CITY, Keokuk, Iowa, January 10, 2013.
Posted by Richard C. Leonard, Ph.D.
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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kathy Ide's New Book

Kathy Ide’s book, Polishing the PUGS is the first book I reach for when I am writing or editing and need help. When I teach at writers’ conferences, I recommend it to the people in my class and usually have one on hand to show to them. I also tell my editing clients about it and suggest they purchase one.

Now Kathy says, "Don't buy Polishing the PUGS." What? Why?

And the answer is---Kathy brings us a new book, Proofreading SECRETS of Best-Selling Authors. In the introductory pages Kathy explains the importance of good editing. She says "Words and Punctuation are the tools of a writer's trade and calls this book 'the owner's manual for the tools we use in our writing.'"

This book contains most of the material from the PUGS book, updated to correspond to the latest editions of the industry standard professional books for writers and editors: The Chicago Manual of Style, The Associated Press Stylebook, The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, and Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Kathy doesn’t just tell you the rules; she gives you examples and cites her sources.
The first twenty-six pages of this book contain additional helpful comments from Kathy and the SECRETS she promises in the title. She quotes such well known authors as Gayle Roper, Kathi Macias, Cindy Woodsmall, Renae Brumbaugh, Mary DeMuth, and Wanda E. Brunstetter. The book is endorsed by Cecil Murphey, author and coauthor of more than 135 books, Pam Pugh of Moody Publishers, Nanette Thorsen-Snipes, freelance editor, and several other authors and editors.
Proofreading SECRETS of Best-Selling Authors has just been released. Order your copy today and come back here to leave your comments about the book.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sample Interview with a Missionary

The following is a simple interview with a missionary that you may use to promote your Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Young people or adults can use a script to do "pretend" interviews. Look in your missions magazines (all age levels) to find stories about missionaries in various places around the world, then write your scripts to sound like an interview. This one is geared toward an adult SS class, but you can adapt it to younger children and youth. This is like a little mini-drama. Your young people will enjoy active participation, so call on them for these interviews. Have people ready for the interviews four to six Sundays before you plan to take the offering. This should not take more than
5-7 minutes of your Sunday School class time.

Mrs. Johnson: (to Sunday School class) Good Morning. This is Julie Pickern. She and her husband Gene are missionaries in the Dominican Republic. She has agreed to an interview that will help us understand a little about what her life is like on the mission field.

Stan (Sunday School Teacher):  Julie, we are so pleased to have you visit with us today. Tell us about your call to missions. How did that happen.?

Julie: When I was a senior in high school, I asked Jesus to be my Savior and the Lord of my life. That summer I went on a mission trip to Mexico and from then on I knew God was calling me to missions. In college I met my husband Gene, whom God had also called to be a missionary.

Sometimes the path God puts us on is confusing, and we often wander before we find our way. Gene was called to pastor right out of seminary and his ministry was very successful. We thought maybe that was where God wanted us to serve for a while. Then there were children and family. One thing after another seemed to keep us from going to the mission field. When we finally applied, the International Mission Board told us our children were too old, that they did not send people whose children were over twelve years of age to the foreign field. We were somewhat discouraged, but Gene just kept preaching and God kept blessing. When the last child went away to college, we applied again, and in 2001, we were appointed to serve in the Dominican Republic.

Stan:  Where are you ministering now?

Julie:  We are church planters in Santa Domingo, a city of over four million.  We work in one of the poorest parts of the city. In spite of their poverty, the people are very hospitable and have welcomed us into their homes to visit and to do Bible studies. Bible studies in homes are my favorite thing because that's where we are able to teach them and win them to Christ.We have come to love them very much and some of them are like our extended family. If the women work, they clean houses. A lot of men work construction; some work as retail clerks, and some find one temporary job after another. There are not enough schools and the children go to school in shifts, sometimes three shifts a day.

Stan:  What is a typical day like for you on the mission field?

Julie:  Well, we have developed a routine that suits our needs and the needs of those to whom we minister. We spend the first part of the morning in quiet time together with God, studying the Word and praying about the work. Afterwards Gene takes care of business and answers emails while I do household chores. Afternoons are usually spent doing Bible studies---several a day, and of course we attend church on Sunday. Because traffic is horrific and lines are long, we try to avoid going into town unless it is necessary. We usually devote one day a week to going into town to pay bills, buy necessities, and run errands. We have a very busy life, but we love every minute of it.
God has really blessed our work with the Dominican people.

Stan:  Where do you get your support for your mission work?

Julie:  Without people like you there would be no missionaries. All of our support comes from faithful Baptist churches who give to the Cooperative Program and from WMU's Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. Every penny of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goes directly to missionaries. So I want to thank you for supporting us and praying for us.

Mrs. Johnson:  I wish we had more time, but Julie has to visit another class now. Bye.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lottie Moon Skit

by Ann Knowles

Scene 1  The stage has been decorated like the deck of a ship.

(The fog horn blows and the lights come up on Lottie standing at the railing of the ship. She is dressed in clothing appropriate for her era.)

Lottie:  God, I am finally on my way to China! I certainly never thought I’d be doing this. Back in Virginia, growing up with my sisters and brothers on that big plantation
. . .such a thing never crossed my mind. As a matter of fact. . .I was probably the most unlikely person to ever become a missionary!

I got into so much trouble and mischief as a girl. . .My parents would never have dreamed I'd be a missionary one day.

Instead. . . there’s no telling what I may have ended up doing or being with all my education and everything.

As a girl. . I imagined and entertained grand ideas of where my studies in Greek and Hebrew and French might take me. . .not to mention my Spanish and Italian.

(Pause for reflective thought.)

Funny. . .now that I think back—that very Sunday back in Virginia, when I was 18 years old...that moment when I asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Savior
. . .that very moment. . .God knew that He had prepared me through my studies in languages. . .that He would use me to take the message that His Son Jesus had lived and died and was raised again—to draw all men. . .and women, and boys and girls to Him. . .to take that wonderful news to the Chinese people!

Scene II

(Lottie is walking around in her room—hands on her head as she starts to talk about her frustration with her work in China.)

It’s just so frustrating! Trying to teach 40 boys. . .and most of them don’t care; they don't want to learn. Besides that, most of the other mission work is being done by the married men who are missionaries. They will only allow women to work with women and children! So sometimes I feel like I’m just wasting my time! I’m just sure that God has brought me here to bring the light of Jesus to the Chinese people. . .and to start new churches.

One thing is for sure. . . these past ten years have made me come to love the Chinese people. They are so wonderful. I used to think the Chinese people were inferior
people.  . .but the truth is. . .they have taught me so many things.
I wear their clothes now. . . speak their language. . .and I am trying to learn all I can about their culture! They are really beginning to warm up to me. . .and most of them seem to love and respect me.

But there are so many here who don’t know Jesus. . .and there are so few of us to tell them. I wish there were a thousand of me to give to China. I just love these people with all my heart and I want them to know about Jesus. 

Scene III

(Lottie is sitting at her desk preparing to write a letter home. She says the words as she writes.)

Dear Family,

Today is my birthday—I’m 45—my, how time flies! I have the best birthday present possible. I have moved to the interior to P’ingtu and my new assignment is full-time evangelism. This is what I have waited for since the day I got here. There is so much to be done and so few to do it. The Methodists women are doing a great work here. Last year they raised $66,000 for missions. I asked a dear Methodist friend the other day how they raised so much money in one year. She said it was done through prayer and self-denial. So I’m asking everyone to pray every evening for six months for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Women’s Missionary Society. Then I think we should take an offering for missions around Christmas time. That’s the season when God gave His greatest gift, Jesus. It’s also the time when families and friends exchange gifts. It just seems like the appropriate time for us to give a portion of what God has blessed us with to spread the good news about the Savior to the whole world. Don’t you agree? I think it will be positively wonderful to take the missions offering as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The children come up and call out:  “Miss Lottie. Miss Lottie.”

I hear the children calling me. They probably smelled the cookies baking. When the children learn to love and trust me, they take me to their homes to meet their parents and that gives me a chance to tell them about Jesus. So the children and I are missionaries together.

(Lottie leaves her letter, picks up a plate of cookies and goes to meet the children. She sits down with them and shares her cookies. During this time the young people give out “Lottie cookies” to the congregation.)

Lottie:  I will teach you to sing a song about Jesus. Listen.

Lottie teaches the children to sing “Jesus Loves Me” in Chinese and English.

Ye Su ay wo. . .This I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little Ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.


Yes, Ye Su ay wo.

Yes, Ye Su ay wo.

Yes, Ye Su ay wo.

The Bible tells me so.

 The lights go out

* * * * *  * * * *

You can end your program here, or you can have someone speak about Lottie Moon, how she went on to serve in China; how she died on the ship coming back to America. (She had starved herself, giving her food to the Chinese people.) Tell about world missions resulting from Lottie’s work. Tell about WMU, their vision and mission—how WMU has sustained mission work around the world and given over three billion dollars to missions. Half of all the money for International Missions comes to the SBC through WMU’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We need to continue supporting WMU as they strive to carry out Lottie’s dream of taking the Good News to all the world.
Proceed to the part of your program where you take the Lottie Moon Offering.