Member Spotlight: Board member Joe Musser and Susanna Musser

Mike Miller  ·  Feb 01, 2016

Joe and Susanna Musser are passionate about their faith, and that passion extends to all areas of their life.

The Mussers, who live in New Providence, Pennsylvania, are passionate about family life, adoption of special-needs children, homeschooling, family-integrated fellowships, and, of course, health care sharing.

That last passion is chiefly what led Joe to run for and be elected to Samaritan Ministries’ Board of Directors in 2013. His two years on the Board has confirmed what he says he suspected since the Mussers had become members in 2008.

“There’s a unity and a dedication of the Board members,” Joe says. “It’s obvious that God has brought it together, God has designed it.”

That design extends to the way Samaritan does health care sharing as well, Joe believes.

“It’s the most accountable form of sharing, being direct from member to member,” he says.

Joe also appreciates the desire by the Board to be attentive to the needs of members.

“There’s a very strong desire that if any questions come about from any one of our members there’s a desire to really discuss that,” he says. “There’s not the sense that we have to have this set of rules that we stick to no matter what, but the desire that this ministry is a blessing to all members. And there is a desire from the leadership, from the Board, that we respond to any questions or concerns personally and directly.

“It’s a great encouragement to see how, by God’s grace, this Board has been able to respond to the challenges of a very rapidly growing ministry.”

Joe, Susanna, and their 14 children respond to challenges, too. One of those children is a 13-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who moved in with them in December, requiring the construction of a 1,000-square-foot addition to their previously 1,300-square-foot home. The Mussers have legal guardianship of Josie, with the intention of eventual adoption.

Another challenge they took on in 2011 was the adoption of Katerina, who at the time was 9 years old but only weighed 10½ pounds when they rescued her from an institution in Bulgaria. Katie needs total care, taking three hours to get ready for school in the morning. But she’s thriving, the Mussers say. She now laughs, communicates, and is close to walking independently. The Mussers decided to include special-needs children in their family after God gave them their own: Verity, who has Down syndrome. Now 5, Verity was the inspiration for Susanna’s blog, theblessingofverity.com, which has interested several families in adopting special-needs children.

Joe and Susanna say their God-given “adventures” have brought them closer, even with hard times, such as the accidental death of their adopted special-needs son, Tommy, in July 2014.

“God has really used even the difficult circumstances we sometimes face to deepen our relationship with Him and with each other,” Joe says. “We’re in a completely different place than when we got married. Even the very intense time we’ve had over these past two years has borne great fruit in allowing us to walk very closely together and walk very closely with God.”

The large Musser family also stays tight. Their oldest son, Joseph II, is married and lives a few miles away, but the rest of the Musser clan is still at home, ranging in age from newborn to 20 years old. The latest addition, Nathan Job, was born on January 7. Also living with the Mussers is a 23-year-old woman who is learning adult-living skills.

There’s never a dull moment at the Mussers.

“If you’re not prepared for our household, it can feel as if you’re caught in a kaleidoscope,” Susanna says. “There’s constant activity. It’s a happy, bustling household.”

A typical day will include Susanna preparing Katie for school from 6 to 8:30 or 9 a.m. while Joe guides the younger children through their morning routine before he leaves for his job at 7. By the time Katie is on her way to school, the school-age children are at the books.

“Pretty much from that point on, we look like a typical, large, homeschooling family,” Susanna says.

The Mussers have a “methodical plan” for their evenings so that the children know what’s coming from one day to the next. They have a work night where they try to get a family project done, a date night for Joe and Susanna, a reading night, and a family night.

“We write a big schedule out on a white board in our house, and our kids look forward to all of these things,” Joe says.

Sundays are focused entirely around the family’s church fellowship, with morning spent in worship and study, and the rest of the day given to fellowship.

Joe is a teaching elder with the church, using his experience of 16 years in the pastorate. He left his last pastoral position seven years ago after seeing that the congregational leadership was heading in a structurally unbiblical direction. God’s hand was in that move, as well. His son, Daniel, had recently expressed a desire to one day own the family construction business, then run by Joe’s father. Joe had been keeping a hand in the business after growing up in it, working construction one day a week while working full-time as a pastor. Now it’s flipped. Joe works full-time with the construction business and still teaches in the church.

“So in a way, I’ve been in both things for all these years,” he says.

“I still am excited about both things. As the years go forward, we’ll see how God moves the priorities.”