By Elizabeth Musser
“You have such an amazing family-you’re so genuine, so obviously happy to be together. I wish all the families I photograph were like yours.” So commented the hip young photographer I’d hired to take a family photo of our two sons, daughter-in-law, three grandchildren (ages 3, 2, and 1) and my husband and me. It had been a very fun, wild photo shoot on our sons’ property in the woods outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. A rare together time, since Paul and I live overseas and our kids and grandkids are here in the States.
This photographer saw something different in us. And that’s when I handed her a check for her work and a signed copy of one of my novels that takes place near where she lives. She was ecstatic. So was I-she was leaving with an impression of our family that comes simply because of the One we love and serve and with a novel which weaves a story about how He works in the lives of ordinary people.
A few days after that photo shoot and suffering from a sinus infection, I called a doctor we know from our supporting church in the Chattanooga area. As missionaries in France, Paul and I don’t have a generalist in the States, and it is complicated to get meds (especially when we’re 24/7 babysitting three young grandchildren). This doctor gladly called in a prescription for antibiotics at a nearby pharmacy. And I delightedly signed two of my novels for his wife as a small way to say ‘Merci’.
About a month ago in Southern France as I was buying small gifts to bring back to the States, the shop owner spoke of her love of the US. Since she could read and speak English well, I gave her a copy of my first novel that takes place in her neck of the woods in France. Again, I felt such gratitude that I could offer a simple gift that holds a story about my God and Savior at work in the lives of people to whom she could relate.
Every year at Christmas, we send copies of my most recent novel as thank-you gifts to the people who support us so faithfully, making it possible for us to serve as missionaries.
(By now, you are probably realizing that I am not a very savvy saleswoman!)
Sure, we authors hope and pray our novels will be bought and read by thousands, even tens of thousands of people.
But we also have a ministry of peace and hope to offer to those we come in contact with, one by one. Sometimes the gift is to believers, at other times it is to someone who has noticed a difference in my life and hopefully is intrigued enough to read a book I’ve written. It is such a joy to give one of my novels to someone who has served me, knowing that this is perhaps a first introduction for them to the One who makes my family different and genuine.
Signing books, one by one, always with a Bible verse under my name, and a prayer on my lips, is one of the greatest privileges of being an author. Offering the gift of my words-God’s gift to me-to others, one person at a time.
Do you find this same joy?
Elizabeth Musser writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet-tool shed-outside Lyon, France. For over twenty-five years, Elizabeth and her husband, Paul, have been involved in missions work with International Teams. The Mussers have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and her new blog.