Back in February I discovered almost by accident that Paul and Elizabeth Musser were not only in the States on furlough, they were going to be speaking in Atlanta at Second Ponce deLeon Baptist Church. I called my good friend Beth, and one Tuesday morning bright and early we set out for a grand adventure. I drove, Beth navigated, and we got to the church in mid-town Atlanta with time to spare.
I love church steeples, don't you?
The gathering that day was hosted by some remarkable ladies in the church. These ladies know their calling in life and embrace this calling enthusiastically. They are called to pray for their missionaries. They rejoice in this calling. They understand the urgency of the need to pray for their missionaries and they delight in being able to participate in foreign missions. These are also the ladies who taught Sunday Schools and led youth groups while the guest speaker was growing up there.
Elizabeth Musser is not only a missionary working with her husband to shepherd missionaries in a large portion of Europe, she is also an author. Her work is exceptional. The best way I can describe it is to say that she writes with excellence for the glory of God. The stories she writes are well-told, the characters generate an emotional response from the reader, the themes are thought-provoking, and the plots are unexpected and engaging. I would be hard-pressed to say which of her novels is my favorite. The Swan House deals with a young girl growing up in Atlanta in the aftermath of the Orly plane crash. Words Unspoken is set in a part of Chattanooga where I used to live and tells the story of a young lady who is trying to overcome crippling fear and the inner voices feeding that fear (a very helpful theme for me to read). The adventures of a young missionary as she grows up through the Crosses Trilogy (Two Crosses, Two Testaments, Two Destinies) give an insight into the Algerian refugees in France back in the 1960s and into the life of missionaries in the south of France ~ which just happens to be where the Mussers served for many years. The Sweetest Thing goes a little further back into Atlanta history to tell the story of two young ladies during the Depression era. Elizabeth says that this story is about "Faith, fun, romance, and tragedy".
I'm not giving you the full run-down of Elizabeth's books; hopefully you will be motivated to discover her for yourself. I can tell you that her books are available in the libraries I frequent and on Amazon.
Meeting Elizabeth was a highlight of my year. I had not realized before going that this was the church where she grew up, and these were the ladies who had taught her Sunday School classes and led her youth groups and choirs. Yet she was so generous with her limited time and visited with Beth and I as if we were the very people she most wanted to talk with.
The two Elizabeths
Paul took the pictures; that's Elizabeth's mother on the left, Elizabeth, me and Beth.
As God brings Paul and Elizabeth to mind today, remember to pray for them and the work that they are doing in Europe. Pray for their sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren who live here in America. Pray for their parents. Pray for spiritual renewal in their countries. Pray for spiritual protection for them and the missionaries they pastor. Pray that they will continue to be an example of a loving, godly marriage. Most of all, pray that God will be glorified in their lives and in their work.
Now go read a good book!