Giving through Lottie Moon Christmas Offering ‘makes all the difference’

Giving through Lottie Moon Christmas Offering ‘makes all the difference’

Larry Pepper has spent the past two decades at the bedside of Africa’s dying souls, patching up their wounds and trying to offer them real hope, the kind only Jesus can bring.

The task is a big one. And he’s needed a lot of help. That’s why he and his wife, Sally, have been grateful for a lot of people and churches over the years. They’re thankful for the prayer warriors who ask God for His help and leadership. And they’re thankful for partners who give and travel to work alongside them.

“In so many of our partnerships, it has usually been one missions leader or Bible study teacher who has caught a vision for what God is doing here and really grabbed hold of it,” Larry Pepper said. “It makes all the difference.”

The Peppers are among the hundreds of International Mission Board (IMB) missionaries whose work is supported by the prayers of Southern Baptists and their gifts through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (LMCO).

Every December since 1888 the LMCO has empowered Southern Baptist’s international missions work. The IMB partners with more than 47,000 churches which work together to spread the gospel around the world to billions of people who have never heard it. The primary way this is accomplished is through the coalition of Southern Baptist churches sending and supporting thousands of missionaries.

National goal

One-hundred percent of LMCO gifts fund IMB missionaries who are making disciples and multiplying churches among unreached people and places. This year’s national LMCO goal is $160 million.

The season of giving for international missions through the LMCO begins with the Week of Prayer for International Missions, taking place this year Dec. 2–9.

In addition to the Peppers, missionary work highlighted during this year’s Week of Prayer include:

• How God is using a small church in Tennessee to make a big difference in the work of IMB missionaries in Asia.

• Hispanic churches who are crossing cultures and engaging the world with the gospel.

• A partnership between a Kentucky church and a Brazil-based team that is reaching Sao Paulo with the gospel.

• Ukrainian believers who are planting churches, trained by IMB missionaries and supported by a North Carolina congregation.

• The impact made when American students travel to East Asia to serve college students alongside IMB workers.

• Refugee ministry that is both local and global for a church in Atlanta.

These stories represent the more than 3,600 missionaries supported by the LMCO. Each story featured in the prayer guide provides a glimpse into the ways missionaries are called to go and serve and also how churches and individuals are called to serve alongside them through short-term missions, giving and prayer.

The Week of Prayer is an opportunity for all Southern Baptists to be part of reaching every nation with the gospel. Each day’s missionary story includes specific ways to pray during the Week of Prayer for International Missions. Videos are also available.

For more information and to order resources for your church’s LMCO emphasis, contact Alabama WMU at 1-800-264-1225 or order online at Resources, including in-depth prayer stories, are also available at and in the December 2018 issue of Missions Mosaic from WMU at

To receive daily prayer reminders via email during this year’s Week of Prayer, sign up at (IMB, Missions Mosaic)


Tanzanian missionaries, Baptist hospital beneficiaries of LMCO gifts

At the end of a beaten-up road in Tanzania, the Baptist Hospital in Kigoma occasionally gets as full as it can get and then runs on empty.

That’s what Ben Hale, missions pastor at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham, learned several years ago when he visited the hospital to see what his church could do to help.

Hale saw sick children sleeping two or three to a bed because there wasn’t enough space. He found out that sometimes the hospital ran out of medications and supplies.

Hale was moved and he began to talk with Larry Pepper, an International Mission Board (IMB) doctor who serves at the hospital. There in that crowded hospital, the two men began to dream. Hale saw the vast needs — both medical and spiritual — and Pepper shared how the hospital has been a vehicle for getting the gospel into area villages, some of which had no believers yet.

Opening doors

“Long story short we were able to help them build a pediatric wing,” Hale said. “We’re hoping it will be a platform for the gospel, not only for the patients, but that it would open up doors for more church planting and gospel sharing in the area.”

So far it has. Five construction workers came to Christ as the pediatric unit was being built. And with a quarter of the facility dedicated to maternal health, Pepper’s wife, Sally, has been able to start new ministries to mothers. The new wing also paved the way for the IMB to send a pediatrician to join the hospital’s work.

“It has been a really great partnership with the Dawson congregation,” Larry Pepper said. “We’re grateful.”

Humble gratitude

But it’s not the only time in the past 22 years that the Peppers have found themselves in humble gratitude to a church.
Over and over churches have stepped up to cover the hospital’s needs — needs like Ketamine for C-sections and suture materials for surgeries.

“Churches of all sizes have helped,” he said.

They have supported the Peppers’ work through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, the funding source that keeps them on the field. They have provided equipment like wheelchairs and oxygen concentrators, a vital resource in a place where oxygen tanks are sparse. They have sent construction teams to make repairs on the facilities. They have led their children’s ministries to raise funds to feed malnourished children at the hospital.

“We’re just two people,” Larry Pepper said. “But we find that when other people get a passion to come alongside us, God uses it to further His kingdom.” (Missions Mosaic)