SOUTHEAST ASIA – 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.
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've reported on the work of Southern Baptist missionaries in 2013 and 2012. Flat Lottie also has been transported to various missions settings as a caricature via computer graphics and as a hand-held paper cutout.
To see Flat Lottie's travels in 2013 via an interactive map, click here. Each pin in the map connects to a brief story about the missionary or missions outreach there.
Flat Lottie," via computer graphics, joins the flow of urban bike riders in one of Asia's megacities in one of her treks to report of the work of Southern Baptist missionaries.
For Flat Lottie's 2012 ventures, also via an Internet-friendly map, click here.
“Wondering what your mission dollars have done this year?” one of the IMB/Asia writers noted 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 preceding her death in 1912. (For an additional video about Lottie Moon, click here.)
The offering (officially the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions) 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 AsiaStories website last year 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. This year , the AsiaStories 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 '[email protected]' 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 here.
a multi-dimensional Pinterest page here.
10 things that happen because of gifts to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering: 10 things.
7 ideas for boosting a church's Lottie Moon Offering: 7 ideas.
Also see the Lottie Moon Offering idea gallery for various ways other churches have rallied to support Southern Baptists' missionaries and a webpage with examples of how Southern Baptists' gifts are utilized on the mission field.
a Flat Lottie who can visit your community. Just use this Lottie cutout, give her a few splashes of color and let her spark conversations about missions wherever you go.
various letters penned by Lottie Moon from China sounding her clarion call to missions here.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Art Toalston is editor of Baptist Press. BP operations coordinator Laura Erlanson and IMB communications staff in Asia contributed to this article.)