SOUTHEAST ASIA (BP) – Have you ever heard of Flat Stanley? How about Flat Lottie?
With Flat Stanley, schoolchildren exchange paper cutouts or digital images of “Stanley” as a way of interacting with students in other locations, even other countries.
A life-size Lottie Moon photo joins two young missions enthusiasts for tea. Flat Lottie, akin to missionary pioneer Lottie Moon 100-plus years ago in China, is intent on stirring Southern Baptists to the fullest of missions support though their prayers, finances and involvement.
Flat Lottie, as a 4-foot/3-inch poster (the same height as the real-life Lottie Moon), has accompanied IMB writers, photographers and videographers across Asia as they reported on the work of Southern Baptist missionaries in 2012 and 2013. Flat Lottie also has been transported to various missions settings as a caricature via computer graphics, and as a hand-held paper cutout. California Southern Baptist Convention staff hosted Flat Lottie during one of their chapel services, and she also visited California Baptist University.
Click here to see her travels. Each pin in the map connects to a brief story about the missionary or missions outreach there.
“Wondering what your mission dollars have done this year?” one of the IMB/Asia writers asked in describing the purpose of Flat Lottie’s travels to communicate to Southern Baptists. “Flat Lottie Moon set out across Asia to find out how every dollar given to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering makes a difference. She visited your representatives who were hard at work sharing the gospel and helping communities.”
Flat Lottie also has been seen in a video featuring two young missions enthusiasts who tell about the famed missionary’s labors in China before her death in 1912.
The offering is a key channel of support for nearly 5,000 IMB missionaries worldwide. It is an annual emphasis across the Southern Baptist Convention each December, working in tandem with gifts from churches through the Cooperative Program year-round for SBC missions.
“Our multimedia teams see your mission offering dollars at work in every story we do,” International Mission Board personnel in Asia wrote on their website in 2012 in describing their initial Flat Lottie project.
“It’s a humbling experience to see how small and large gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering combine to make it possible to reach a lost world. (In 2012), the Asia-stories staff wanted to make a better visual connection between our stories and your mission dollars … and while we were at it, we had a little a fun.”
Each media team, while traveling to gather missions stories, “took a life-sized poster of Lottie Moon, the woman our missions offering is named after, with the goal of showing ‘Lottie @ Work’ in places and doing ministries you’d never expect. You should have seen the crazy looks thrown our way when we pulled out a 4-foot/3-inch poster of a missionary from the early 1900s.”
“Of course we got a lot of smiles and laughter when we asked people to pose with our Flat Lottie. But to our surprise, this poster (sitting in a dugout canoe, scuba diving or digging a well) provided an opening to share about this legacy missionary and the message she carried so many years ago.”
Other resources posted in tandem with the Flat Lottie initiative include:
- a facebook page: www.facebook.com/flatlottie
- a multi-dimensional Pinterest page: www.pinterest.com/asiastories/lottie-moon
- 10 things that happen because of gifts to the Lottie Moon offering
- 7 ideas for boosting a church’s Lottie Moon Offering
(Laura Erlanson and IMB staff in Asia contributed to this story. CSBC mail services coordinator Kathy Pine “dressed” Flat Lottie for her visit to Fresno.)