The Anglophone Women’s Retreat that Elizabeth attended in May was a blessed time to encourage and renew friendships and enjoy great worship and teaching.
Our church recently welcomed a new elder
…pray with us for Laurent and his wife Delphine. The symbolic gift offered to them on this occasion was a towel – to wipe the sweat off his brow, but more than that to care for the sheep. He has a pastoral gift and is a gifted evangelist. We thank the Lord for sending us this couple!
In our last letter, Elizabeth mentioned one of Chris’ friends was seriously considering the claims of Christ. Since then she has accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord! Another young woman is struggling with a demanding job and trying to find time with the Lord.
Please keep praying for these teens, both of whom will attend a Christian camp (along with Christopher) in August. The Pentecost weekend was challenging for the youth who attended and recent studies with other godly teachers have spurred our youth on to want to grow in Christ.
Andrew requests prayer this week as he is spending the week with friends from his high school and would love to engage them in some spiritual discussions. We appreciate prayers as he returns to Covenant College in August.
Audrey at the presentation
of her children before the church.
Our small group—many ideas for evangelism
Chris’ baseball team won the division and continues to play this summer. He has a heart to share with these men (yes, most are over 20) He’s well on the way to completing all the paperwork for his schooling and baseball in Montpellier next year.
Audrey’s dedication was a wonderful opportunity of service and testimony in the church where 100 unchurched friends attended and our youth and adults helped in many ways
After Chris finished his exams and his baseball championship (they won!), we headed to Rome and Pompeii for 4 days of sightseeing, gelato and pasta—a short but great getaway while we are all still together.
Many, many thanks for your prayers!
Elizabeth for the family
Tomorrow- Wednesday- Elizabeth is welcoming a Norwegian book club in Lyon, coming to France to visit different places mentioned in her books. Thursday she flies to Atlanta to be part of a Christian novelists’ retreat and then the annual Christian book convention where she’ll be signing copies of Searching for Eternity.
Dear Friends,September, 2007
A Wedding, A Funeral and An Empty Nest
Life does not get simpler. It just keeps winding along, a road which sometimes looks familiar and at other times, unknown. We try to prepare ourselves for the road ahead, its inevitable twists and turns. Sometimes we guess right. But so often, what lies just around the bend is a surprise, not exactly what we expected. It could be something as banal as awakening to rain when we’d thought the day would be warm and sunny, or as devastating as a call in the middle of the night announcing death.
Lately my mind and spirit and heart have been crowded with the expected and unexpected and my emotions have seemed to lag far behind on the winding road. I knew this week was coming, the week when both of our sons, ages 19 and 16, would head out on their own. The proverbial ‘empty nest’ was coming to the Musser household. I guess I just thought it would last longer, the years where the boys were at home with us, all under one roof, safe and accounted for. I knew better, deep down in places of the heart I rarely visit. I knew that as missionaries raising MKs, ours would never be a life where we all stayed in one place, not one city or one state or even one country. By virtue of our calling, we would be wayfarers and our children, too.
The night before we sent Christopher down to Montpellier to play in his All-Star baseball tournament, we received a phone call from Odette in Montpellier, announcing the news we dreaded: our dear friend and coworker, Mary Crow, had lost her battle with lung cancer. Colin and Mary have served in France for 35 years, the last 12 of which have been in the Pompignane church. Over the years, the Lord has used this couple in the lives of many, many people throughout France. They were some of the first people we met in Montpellier, all those years ago, and served as mentors and encouragers to us. It is hard to believe Mary was gone.
That Friday night, I felt so confused, not sure which of so many things needed my attention first: packing up Chris, sending out a note about Mary’s death or arranging the details for taking friends to a wedding the next day. My stomach was in a knot. It hurts, traveling along this
winding road. But this is life: a wedding, a funeral and an empty nest. We are called to participate in the changing seasons of life for ourselves and for others, embracing them with a strength and courage that come from Christ.
I enjoyed my time in the States with my publisher and with other Christian novelists. I was able to sign ‘early copies’ of Searching for Eternity at the annual Christian booksellers’ convention in Atlanta.
A Few Photos
Thank goodness for weddings! In the past months we’ve attended three weddings of young couples with whom we have worked over the years. What joy to see these new couples begin their lives together with a commitment to live for Christ.
This past week, we traveled down to Montpellier and attended Mary’s funeral. What a bittersweet reunion with so many friends from our church in La Pompignane and other friends from around France who came to honor the memory of Mary and be a support to Colin. Please do pray for Colin and his adult children, Stephanie, Rachel and Jonathan, as they walk along the winding road of grief.
In God’s timing, the Pompignane Church is welcoming a new pastoral couple, Daniel and Ruth Helene Mattioli, to take the leadership of the church for a year’s trial internship. We rejoice that Colin’s load will be lighter in these next months.
While in Montpellier, we helped set up Christopher in his dorm room at the Training Center for Athletes. He will have a full schedule as he balances schoolwork and intensive training. We are excited about this next step for him. He asks for prayers that he can be a ‘light’ to his 3 suitemates, all baseball players with whom he will train each day.
Thank you for traveling with us throughout the years
along this winding road.
With much love,
Elizabeth and Paul
Is 42:16 “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them, and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
International Teams.411 W. River Road. Elgin, IL 60070-1570
PRAY WITH US
-We’ve had good reports from the many youth who attended camps this summer. Please do continue to pray for the two young women whom I have mentioned in past letters. Both are excited about their faith and moving forward.
-A Six-Week Bible Study for Anglophone women will begin on September 20. I value your prayers as we are inviting women now.
-Thank you so much for your prayers for Paul as he encourages fellowship and accountability among the church people. The summer was a great time for deepening relationships through low-key get-togethers.
-It has been great to see Mme Chanteur, the elderly woman Paul wrote about a few months ago, attending church. She is thrilled to be there.
-Andrew reports that starting college this year has been great. He is involved in many activities, is enjoying classes, is excited to be back with friends and is investing in time with new students—he knows how hard the first months of adjustment can be! He asks prayer as he and other students invest in praying for each other, the campus and their ministries to Chattanooga and beyond.
JOYEUX NOEL! O, COME LET US ADORE HIM, CHRIST THE LORD!!!
Dear Friends, December, 2007
An End to Snail Mail Reports…
This is the last time some of you will hear from us, I imagine. We have been letting you know for 6 months that our prayer letter company will no longer be sending out letters for us. Given that it is simply not cost effective for us to send them out ourselves, we’ve been trying to build a base of people who are willing to receive our updates and regular letters via email. Thanks to the many friends who have responded, but I am sorry that many of you have not responded in any way.
We have also said that if you do not have access to email and would like to continue to receive our updates via US post office mail, you need to let us know. I can’t remember having gotten that response from anyone in particular. So if that is your case, you need to let me know.
You have our email and our regular mail addresses, and if you desire to learn more about us or keep up, you’ll need to get in touch with us. Some of you have not been in touch with us for years, and perhaps this is a good time to simply pray God’s blessings on each other and part ways. If you have so far neglected to give us your email, but have been intending to do so, now is the time.
Calvary Missionary Press has been incredible in their ministry to us, in keeping track of your changing addresses and faithfully sending out our news. I know they have been doing that for a number of missionaries for many years. Thanks for your service, Calvary, and may the Lord direct you in your next steps.
Our boys are growing all too quickly. Those of you who receive our emails already recently read that both boys are doing well in their schools and activities. We are so thankful for the way the Lord has prepared them (and US!) for this time. We can’t really figure out where all the years have gone, but now as Andrew is in his second year at Covenant College and Chris is doing his senior year in high school in Montpellier, our house seems much larger and quieter than anytime I can remember! We manage to talk to Andrew on a regular basis, and Chris can come home on weekends if he needs to. Even though we are learning about empty nests and what all goes with it, we are at the same time rejoicing in what the Lord is doing in each of our lives.
Included with this letter you’ll find some information about the new building project planned by our church here in Lyon. We are in desperate need of major repairs, and this seems to be the Lord’s timing. The church voted to undertake the project, regardless of outside funds. I am thrilled to see they aren’t waiting on funding from overseas. But since they took this step of faith, I feel free to let you know about the project, and give you the opportunity to participate if you feel the Lord would lead you to do so. There are several ways you can join us:
1) by your prayers – that the Lord will provide and guide us to follow His leading
2) any financial gift you send in will be answered with a tax-deductible receipt.
3) We hope that in June we’ll be ready to host a few work teams. We aren’t looking for hundreds of people - but if you have certain finishing skills (plumbing, electricity, sheet rocking, painting, etc) and would like to join us for a week, we’ll put you to work! We can provide room and board if you can cover your travel expenses.
Of Dollars and (Book) Cents
The dollar continues to hit new lows regularly. You have probably heard some of the stories of how much spending power we have lost since the euro came into being in 2001. Will the downward spiral continue? Of course no one can accurately foretell what is around the next corner. But whereas gasoline has always been more expensive here than in the States, we are now paying over $7.00 for a gallon of cheap unleaded fuel. Food, taxes, travel, and pretty much everything we buy in euros has gone way up, and shows no signs of abating… So we need your prayers for peace and a firm faith that God will continue to provide as He always has until now.
One way the Lord continues to graciously provide for our support is through the royalties from Elizabeth’s book ministry. Many of you will already have heard that Elizabeth has a new book out this fall – Searching for Eternity. If you’re a reading fan you might want to consider making it a Christmas gift to someone you love. You can read more about it on her website: www.elizabethmusser.com
As those of you who receive our emails know, Elizabeth spent 6 weeks in the US doing signings and speaking engagements. Chris and I were able to join her for two weeks, in which time we visited six colleges (during Chris’ fall break) and surprised Elizabeth’s parents for their 50th Wedding Anniversary Party. What a treat to have the whole Goldsmith Clan together for a weekend in November! I was also able to spend some time with my parents in Kentucky.