2005 Prayer Updates
Dear Friends,Spring, 2005

Snow is on the ground, but the daffodils in our yard are threatening to bloom anyway.  We can’t wait.  It’s been a long, cold winter (at least for this Southern girl!).  But throughout it, our little home has continued to be filled with guests from near and far. 

The weekend in December with the Sr. High group was a great success and the teens were thrilled by the positive response of the store owners and neighbors in this area who received the cookie plates the kids had enthusiastically prepared.  In early February we hosted the Jr. High group for a weekend of projects and teaching, movies and fun, ending our time together with their very own worship service.  What a joy to encourage these young people and their leaders on in their service for Christ.  Please continue to pray for Carole, Olivier and Marie who lead the Jr. High group, for Martine who heads up the Sr. High group and for Paul as he mentors the leaders.

One part of our job description upon coming to Lyon was to reach out to the international community in this city.  I’ve enjoyed working at the Anglophone library at the boys’ school once a week, getting to know some of the students and other moms who volunteer.  Through my involvement there as well as with a women’s professional group, I’ve found myself regularly in contact with women from Canada, Norway, Holland, Brazil, Syria, England, Germany, Switzerland and the list goes on.  I’ve donated a copy of each of my novels to the library and am thankful to have another opportunity to share the Gospel and hope of Jesus through this means. 

On March 30, the boys’ school is offering a ‘parents’ day’ where parents share about their professions with interested students.  Both Paul and I have been invited to attend, the host of this event remarking that we each have quite unusual professions: pastor and writer.  We’d appreciate prayer as we talk with students.

At the end of February, Florent began a four week series on “Who are evangelicals?” In France, evangelicals have gotten a very negative rap because the media has equated President Bush and the very unpopular war in Iraq (from the French viewpoint) with being an ‘evangelical’.  There is much suspicion of evangelicals.  In the past, evangelicals have often been seen as a cult; now, we’re seen as a violent cult which seeks the equivalent of a Christian ‘jihad.’  Please pray for the fruit of Florent’s messages, as many people in the church are inviting their unchurched friends to attend.

Thanks to frequent flyer points, Andrew, Christopher and I will be traveling back to the States in mid April, during their spring break, with the purpose of letting the boys visit colleges.  It is hard to believe we’re at this stage of parenting!  I’ll be staying on for ten extra days to consecrate time to speaking engagements and book signings for The Dwelling Place which will be in bookstores in April.  I am most thankful to Cheryl, my teammate in Lyon, for helping me get my website up.  If you are interested in attending one of the events I’ll be involved in during my time in the States, please check my website: www.elizabethmusser.com

From Paul:
While Elizabeth and the boys are away, I will be hosting our dear Kosovar friend, Nagib, for a few days.  Please continue to pray for Nagib, Tonina and Leonat.  Though father and son are now French residents, it continues to be a challenge for Nagib to find work.  All three of them have fairly serious health issues they deal with on a regular basis.

I also plan to spend a weekend in Montpellier visiting with our friends at La Pompignane.  We are thankful to have regular reports of what God is doing in the church.  It is a joy to see our French brothers and sisters growing and pursuing the Lord as they seek to stand on their own with less outside help.

Our church here in Lyon has received the change to two services very positively, voting in January to keep this structure.  In light of this, a committee has been formed to study and prepare plans for upgrading the present building.  It sure needs it!

Our house group continues to enjoy warm fellowship and Bible study.  We’d ask that you pray in particular for four husbands (two of whom attend the studies) who do not yet know Jesus. Their wives are all involved in the study and the church.  We’re currently studying James in our biweekly neighborhood group, and are being challenged by his exhortations to live out our faith in front of others, responding to God’s love by our actions which will point the way to Him.  People around us are watching our lives, and God really wants to weed out hypocrisy.  As James says, let’s be doers and not just hearers of the Word.  This is a timely reminder to all of us that when we really do abide in Him, He is faithful to produce fruit in our lives, not some kind of a teeth-gritting effort which makes the fruit grow, but that which flows naturally from the life-giving Spirit within us.

An area in which God is working on my character right now is in meditation.  I so often read the Scripture and then rush on to the next item on my schedule, having managed to read my chapters for the day and checked them off my list.  God has been reminding me how unsatisfying that is, both for Him and for me.  If I don’t take time to actually think about what He is showing me from my reading, how will these principles ever become more integrated in my life?  I realize again how patient God is with my efforts at pleasing Him – but am so happy He keeps working on me.  He will point out areas that need work in all our lives, if only we’ll take time to listen and meditate on what needs to be changed.  In His strength and by His grace – but with our perseverance - we’re becoming more like our Savior day by day.

We continue to work on the development of leaders in the church.  There are several who are doing the work of deacons in serving the body, but we lack organization.  We believe the church needs more trained men and women to serve on a regular basis, both to alleviate the elders and to facilitate the life of the church.  The other major push right now concerns a group of men in eldership training who meet weekly with Florent to study the Scriptures and talk through the role of spiritual leadership.  These five men are investing in the future of the church, and the load isn’t easy.  Pray with us for open minds and open ears to listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Leadership is not an easy thing in France – leaders are often criticized and second-guessed.  That carries over into the church as well.  Pray for courage and focus in these men, as well as for the development of servant leadership.


Enjoy the spring as you rest in the Lord’s renewing power and love.

With thankful hearts,



Elizabeth, Paul, Andrew and Christopher


Finances: International Teams . 411 West River Road .Elgin, IL  60123-1570
Correspondance: Musser . 898 Quai Pierre Dupont, 69270 Rochetaillée-sur-Saône, FRANCE
Email: paul.musser@iteams.org or egmusser@compuserve.com

Dear Friends,Summer, 2005

“Now flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” II Timothy 2:22

Last week I stopped by the video store to rent a DVD for us to watch as a family.  The boys had been studying hard for their exams, and we all needed a little break.  As I spoke with the friendly owner, I asked how the store was doing.  “Not well,” he replied.  “If things keep going this slow, we’ll have to close.  One of the main problems is that we don’t have a 24 hour distributor.  There’s a great demand for this now because over 60% of the DVDs that are rented (through automatic distributors) are X-rated films.  I only have 2% of my videos that are X.”  I was surprised by this statistic.  “Oh, yes, madame, that’s what’s working in France these days—sex shops, porno magazines and films are more popular than ever…”

I left that store with a sadness in my heart.  How often I have felt this heaviness in France with its overtly provocative billboards where nude women are used to advertise everything from Evian water to yogurt.  A few days ago, I read the first few chapters of a manuscript that a young French woman had sent me, asking for advice.  Her story centers around a single girl looking for the right guy, willing to go from one-night-stand to one-night-stand to find him.  There is no commitment involved and no hope for a life-long relationship or true love.  This aspiring writer has accurately portrayed a society in which individual freedom is demanded and moral integrity rarely considered. 

How do we combat this?  As parents of two teenage boys and as mentors for the youth group leaders, Paul and I find this a matter of continual prayer.  As a family, we talk openly, pray often, set limits, provide discipline when needed, provide the boys with books on sexual purity and open our homes to teens.  As mentors, we try to help the leaders organize fun, healthy outings for the church’s youth.  This summer, there are several such things being offered.
 
On July 4, the Junior High girls spent the day and
night at our house for an “Anne of Green Gables”
party.  They swam, worked on cross stitch and finished
watching this delightful series about the melodramatic
orphan who won over a whole island.  Please pray for
these girls.  Half of them are from Central Africa, several          
of whom are cousins and have recently moved to France. 
They have difficult housing situations, live on an extremely
limited budget and often are separated from their parents. 
Another girl’s believing father has recently abandoned his family and another girl’s unbelieving father makes it very hard for her to attend church activities.  Most of these precious girls love Jesus.  We greatly value your prayers for the Lord’s continual work in their lives.



    











At the end of July, 18 kids from these two youth groups (including Andrew and Christopher) will be attending a “Word of Life” camp in Brittany.  In order for as many youth as possible to participate, the groups have raised money by selling pizzas and cakes after church services.  Will you pray for the Holy Spirit to work powerfully in the lives of the young people who attend this camp (July 24-30)?  Florent will be doing the teaching.  Please pray that our youth will stand firm in Christ and resist the temptations which are numerous in their schools and neighborhoods.  Pray they will be bold and able to encourage one another.  “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”  I Timothy 4:12.

As those of you who receive our email updates have heard, my time in the States with the boys for college trips and then alone for book signings went very well.  Many, many thanks for all the prayers.  The schedule was exhausting, but well worth it.  Andrew got a good idea of the different type of schools available in the States, and I was encouraged by the many opportunities I had to speak and sign books.


In June, our family attended the surprise 60th birthday party of Riri Lagier.  Riri and his wife Renée are dear friends from our days in Firminy (1983-85).  Gathered with them at this occasion were their four children with spouses and kids as well as many friends and relatives.  But blatantly absent were any of the members of the Firminy church.  Division, misunderstanding and unconfessed sin have wreaked havoc on this small church for years.  Will you please pray for God’s Spirit to move in the hearts of
these believers?  Riri and Renee’s twin sons, now
in their thirties, were delighted to be reunited with
their buddy, Paul, who was their youth
leader when they were teens.  As they relived
so many wonderful memories, I was thankful
for that positive witness in the midst of the many
negative witnesses the kids have seen since.  None
of the Lagier kids is walking with the Lord at present.


    

























But God has been in our midst, and we see the stirrings of a new church in the making.  We are not in a rush—and we know the Lord isn’t—but it is a blessing once again to be hosting a Bible study that may one day become a church.  This is how we began 15 years ago with the Pompignane church in Montpellier.  Please pray with us for wisdom and discernment as Paul leads this fledgling group. 

We pray that the Lord will refresh your spirits this summer as you rest in Him.

With much love,
Elizabeth, Paul, Andrew and Christopher

Finances: International Teams . 411 West River Road .Elgin, IL  60123-1570
Correspondance: Musser . 898 Quai Pierre Dupont, 69270 Rochetaillée-sur-Saône, FRANCE
Email: paul.musser@iteams.org or egmusser@compuserve.com
Website: www.elizabethmusser.com

That same weekend the Sr. High group biked 15 kilometers and spent the night with another family in the church.  We have been encouraged to see tighter bonds of unity forming between the dozen or so Sr. High students at church.  In the fall, we plan to offer a series of studies on purity to this group, splitting up the boys and girls.  Paul and I are involved in discipling several teens and young adults and we are praying that more of these mentoring/discipling relationships will develop within the church.
June 26-July 3 a team of 8 young Americans came to Lyon to help repaint the church building.  Paul supervised this project and was especially thankful that French families agreed to host these youth.  On several afternoons, our own young people lent a hand painting at the church.  The Americans were involved in a kids club, complete with puppets, and sang in the Sunday service.  It was a life-changing week for this team.

Our Bible study concluded this year with a mini-worship service and a cookout.  All those who played
instruments brought them, and we had a warm time of singing and praising the Lord outside followed by a lengthy time of prayer.  Paul and I are humbled to watch God at work.  Some in the group do not yet know Christ as Savior and several have lived through or are living through major personal crises.