It’s been a while since we’ve done a missionary study. However, my children love them, and earlier this year, when we were on a field trip learning about the local (to us) evangelist Sam Jones, at one point the tour guide pointed across the street and said, “And that’s was the original location of the sending church of the famous missionary, Lottie Moon.” My interest was piqued, and I knew that the next missionary we studied should be Lottie Moon.
So, when we received the opportunity to review Lottie Moon: Giving Her All for China from the Christian Heroes: Then and Now series by YWAM Publishing, I was excited to receive both the book and the Unit Study Curriculum Guide to dig into and learn from. My lovely eight year old, who I already knew liked these books (from a previous missionary study we did using the Amy Carmichael book), was also excited when she saw the book and study guide.
Lottie Moon, as a missionary, is important for two reasons. The first is because she was one of the first single women that the Baptist foreign mission board sent to the mission field. Also, in the late 1800s, the when the foreign mission board sent a missionary to a foreign country, they were expected to stay there for the rest of their lives without furlough, and conditions for missionaries were often difficult and they often had little support. Moon, as a missionary, worked hard to show the foreign mission board the true conditions that missionaries lived under and their needs for breaks and for monetary support and encouragement from the United States. In the end, she worked tirelessly for both the Chinese people and for the missionaries who so willingly served them.
The book itself begins at the beginning of Lottie’s life, detailing her upbringing in a plantation home in pre-Civil War Virginia. It traces family happiness and tragedy, and continues throughout every step of Lottie’s journey to becoming a teacher in Cartersville, Georgia, and then to a missionary in China. The book continues to detail both her life in China and her family’s major events back in the states throughout the rest of Lottie’s life. Lottie’s death is also recorded as well as the Baptist effort to create the Lottie Moon Christmas offering for foreign missions that has been collected every year since 1918.
The book was really beautifully done and engaged the children and myself as we read it. The only complaint I received what when Rose burst out one day, “Why is real life so sad?” after a chapter where Lottie encountered several personal tragedies. That was its own discussion because we have often neglected reading about real life for reading fiction novels, and sometimes real life is breathtakingly sad.
YWAM Publishing recommends their Christian Heroes: Then and Now series for readers aged 10 and up, and I read it with both my 10 & 8 year old children. However, if you have a sensitive child, you might want to hold off on reading it to a child under ten because the authors do not shy away from showing us persecution and tragedy when it occurs. They do also have a series called Heroes for Young Readers (We’ve read the George Mueller one!) that is appropriate for children as young as six.
Along with the book, we also received an accompanying unit study curriculum guide for our use. This little guide is jam packed full of ideas to create learning opportunities for your study. Some of the things it includes are:
- Key Bible verses and ideas for using those verses in study
- Ideas for Creating a display corner or interest box for your children
- End of Chapter questions, including vocabulary, comprehension questions and open-ended questions for each chapter
- Ideas for essay questions, creative writing, hands on projects, audio/visual projects, arts and crafts, and Chinese language projects. This section even includes Lottie’s recipe for sugar cookies!
- Field trip ideas
- Ideas for social studies, including place study, mapping, geography/social studies terms, features of China, and comparison ideas between China and the United States. This section also contains a pull-out reproducible China fact sheet, world map, China map and United States map.
- Ideas for related themes to explore as spin-off unit studies
- Ideas for a culminating event, including ideas for food and decorations
- Some related resources on Lottie Moon, Baptist Missions in the 1800s, related movies and documentaries, related National Geographic articles, related websites and other Christian Heroes: Then and Now books set in China.
I referred to this book extensively as we read through our Lottie Moon biography for vocabulary and chapter questions. We also kept a timeline and we looked to the study guide for ideas for individual projects and some related studies that we’d like to follow up this book with.
In the end, we really enjoyed this study, both the book and the curriculum guide. We loved the book, and I appreciated how the curriculum guide helped with both discussion questions and with bringing out ideas for projects and related study for us to dig deeper into the time period and Lottie’s life and we read through the book. This is a company that I expect to turn to time and time again for great missionary books and studies.