‘Little dynamo’ Lottie Moon
comes to life in monologue
By Barbara Shoun
December 13, 2005
JEFFERSON CITY – The lives of Lottie Moon and Rosalie Hunt were destined to intertwine, even though the two never met.
Moon was the main subject in a monologue of Baptist heritage which Hunt brought to the Woman’s Missionary Union of the Phelps County Baptist Association Dec. 2 at Rolla’s First Baptist Church.
In an interview with The Pathway, Hunt said the relationship became “very personal” when she visited the part of China where Moon served as a missionary for 39 years in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She has researched many of Moon’s writings in order to portray her accurately in her monologue.
“She was a little dynamo, I’ll tell you,” said Hunt, a teacher, author and retired missionary. Hunt and her husband, Bob, also served in China and seven other Chinese-speaking countries.
Moon turned down a marriage proposal, left her job, and left her wealthy Southern home and family at the age of 32 to set sail for China in order to follow God’s leading.
“When she first talked about China, she talked about the dirt and filth,” Hunt noted, “but when she came on that last furlough, she was quick to tell people not to consider the Chinese as Barbarians. She came to think of China as home and America as a foreign country.”
At 4-foot-3 in height, Moon managed to hold her own. “She was quite a diplomat,” said Hunt. “She was in a mission station with two very strong-willed men who could not get along. She managed to remain friends with both of them.”
She was also a linguist, speaking five languages besides English: French, Latin, Greek, Hebrew and German. When she did her devotions, she did the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek.
“We’ve idealized her,” Hunt mused. “We tend to do that, but she was a very human person. She was so lonely and yet that did not keep her from going to those lonely places and ministering to people.”
Some of her writings indicate that she may have been planning to get married during the time she lived in China. At one time, she said there was going to be a wedding. Then she said, “There will be no wedding,” and nothing more was said about it.
“I am absolutely amazed at the vitality and depth of her faith,” Hunt said. “That depth grew through the years.
“The more I’ve studied about her, the more I’ve been impressed with how she was able to dig down to the basics and communicate the Gospel. She had the gift of explaining.”
Moon’s work in China was only part of what she contributed to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Through her writings, she was able to influence Baptists to give to the work of missions throughout the world. Southern Baptist churches take up a special missions offering at Christmas in memory of Lottie Moon, who died on Christmas Eve 1912.
Hunt’s monologue ends with a missionary challenge based on Moon’s words and Moon’s heart.
Her speaking mission is broader than Lottie Moon, however. Her desire is to emphasize Baptist heritage. One of the ways she has done this is through her book, Bless God and Take Courage, the story of Adoniram Judson, Baptist missionary to Burma.
“Nobody has written Adoniram Judson’s story for 50 years and nobody has followed the legacy,” she said. She and her husband have spent six years researching the book and have logged 100,000 miles, including four trips to Burma.
The biggest help, however, came when Judson’s closest living descendant, Dr. Stanley Hanna, gave her 700 family letters and documents. Now 85 years old, Hanna was born in Burma where his father, Judson’s grandson, was a missionary.
The book was published in May and is already in its second printing.
Hunt herself is a missionary kid. Her parents served in China and had to return to the United States when the Communists took over. At age 15, she and her family were living in Oklahoma when Bob Hunt came to town as a summer missionary. They kept in touch, and 3½ years later they were married. Their union has lasted 48 years, most of which were spent on the mission field.
They have two children. Their daughter is academic dean at Vanderbilt University Divinity School and their son is director of a federal program for the Justice Department. “Our children really benefited from being missionary kids,” said Hunt.
The Hunts retired in 1995 only to embark on new adventures, such as writing the book and speaking of Baptist heritage. Hunt, who lives in Birmingham, Ala., was recently elected president of the Alabama WMU.
“I love to speak. Writing was sheer discipline,” she said.