Shanghai – 1850
Forty-two Fruitful years in China
1847 – Matthew T. Yates and his wife Eliza, his childhood sweetheart who he had married on Sept. 27, 1846, arrived in the Shanghai harbor for a most fruitful forty-two year ministry in China. Matthew’s father and mother were active in a Baptist church in N.C. where his father William was a deacon. The Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church had sponsored a tent meeting where Matthew attended and fell under great conviction for his sin. The young man went into the woods to pray and was soundly converted and then was baptized and became a member of the
Mt. Pisgah Church. Matthew soon discovered a great desire for prayer, and established a place of solitude in the woods where he sought the presence of the Lord regularly for prayer. The love of Matthew and Eliza sustained them as they served their Lord through the Taiping Rebellion, the Civil War in America, typhoons, the cholera epidemics, and their own many illnesses. [Wm. R. Estep, Whole Gospel-Whole World (Nashville: Broadman & Holmn Publishers, 1995), p. 103.This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 499-501.] Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon
December 24, 1912 – Death came to the frail servant of Christ, Lottie Moon, on Christmas Eve aboard ship in the harbor of Kobe, Japan. A simple monument is to be found in the cemetery of her home church near Crewe, Virginia. This little woman who stood barely above 4’ stands as tall as any missionary ever sent out by the Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, and to this day is their most famous missionary, having served in China for nearly 40 years. She was born in Albermarle County, Virginia, on Dec. 12, 1840 and had a broad educational background. She was also trained in the Female Seminary and the Albermarle Female Institute. She proved to be adept in several languages. She had no interest in the things of God until her conversion under the ministry of John Albert Broadus, pastor at Charlottesville, VA in 1859. In 1873 Lottie heard a challenge from the text, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Miss Moon volunteered for service in China. She was appointed by the Foreign Mission Board on July 7, 1873. She had also considered marriage to Crawford H. Foy. Years later she explained that she had passed up the love of her life because of “doctrinal conflicts”, and that “God had first claim on her life.” Miss Moon is best remembered because of her suggestion in 1887 that Southern Baptist Women institute a week of prayer and sacrificial offering for foreign missions in connection with Christmas. This money was to assist in sending reinforcements for the work. In 1918 the annual offering was named the “Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for Foreign Missions.” The Boxer Rebellion took a heavy toll on Lottie as she sacrificed her own food during the time of famine. No doubt all of this hastened her death.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 537-39.