Glenn Earl Musselman, a life-long missionary and musician, died May 13, 2016, at IU Health Goshen (Indiana) Hospital. He was 89 years old. He served 36 years in Brazil.
Musselman and his spouse, Lois C. Shank, met while they both studied at Goshen (Indiana) College. Glenn felt a calling from God to become a pastor, and after graduating from Goshen College and Mennonite Biblical Seminary, he pastored his home congregation, Bethel Mennonite Church in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
On Nov. 28, 1953, Musselman and Shank were married, and continued to serve at Bethel Mennonite Church until two years later when they became missionaries in Brazil through Mennonite Board of Missions, a predecessor agency to Mennonite Mission Network.
Their ministry began in the state of São Paulo where they began churches, first in the city of Sertãozinho and later in Ribeirão Preto, and Jundiai. At that time, the Sertãozinho congregation was the first evangelical church in the city.
Beginning in 1957, the Musselmans’ ministry included Sunday school and two worship services
each week; two weeks of Bible school each year; and radio broadcasts that reached to sugarcane plantations outside the city and led to invitations for rural Bible studies, conferences, and door-to-door distribution of portions of the Bible.
This was, at the time, controversial as the local Catholic priest discouraged lay people from reading the Bible themselves.
This work was commemorated in July 2010, during the Sertãozinho church’s 50th anniversary celebration. The city’s municipal government officially recognized the influence and contributions made by the Musselmans and the congregation that grew out of their ministry, and gave Musselman the title of Honorary Citizen of the City of Sertãozinho.
Musselman also participated as one of the founders of Aliança Evangélica Menonita
(Evangelical Mennonite Alliance), the Brazilian Mennonite conference, and served for several
years as its second president and also as executive secretary.
Later in the Brazilian state of Paraná, Musselman worked collaboratively at the Xaxim church, in the city of Curitiba, to establish an additional congregation in the neighborhood of Pinheirinho. Once established, the church was led by Ireno Lucas, one of Musselman’s students at the Instituto Biblico Irmaos Menonitas (Mennonite Brethren Biblical Institute) in Curitiba. Musselman taught Bible courses there for several years.
“Furthermore, he left all the churches, prepared for national leaders to continue the work he
started,” said Hans Peters, pastor of Xaxim Mennonite Church in Curitiba. “He was a man that was always cheerful and animated.”
A common theme throughout his life was his love and passion for music and joyful presence. While working with the Mennonite church in Conceicao do Araguaia, in the state of Para, Musselman formed a choir along with his wife, Lois, with people from various evangelical churches in the city. That was a first to have such a choir in that city, and unified the evangelical churches.
“Glenn was always known all over Brazil for his interest and promotion of music. He translated
hundreds of hymns and choruses from English to Portuguese,” said Betty Hochstetler, retired long-term Mennonite Mission Network missionary in Brazil. “Glenn also had a joyful way of preaching.”
“Even last year, I received dozens of Christmas hymns translated into Portuguese,” said Otis Hochstetler, retired long-term Mennonite Mission Network missionary in Brazil, and husband of Betty. “That was just the type of person he was. He loved music.”
Musselman also compiled two music books, Cantai e Celebrai (Sing and Celebrate) and Louvor Vivo (Living Praise), so that many songs would be available for use in the churches in Brazil.
In 1992, Musselman retired and moved to Greencroft in Goshen, Indiana. There, he remained active serving Christ until his passing, doing interim pastoring in Liberty, Michigan, and Calico Rock, Arkansas; teaching Sunday school; and singing with the Evergreen Singers choir along with his wife, Lois, at Greencroft.
“Glenn will long be remembered for his compassion and faithful commitment to live according
to God’s call on his life,” said Stanley W. Green, executive director for Mennonite Mission
Glenn is survived by his wife; five daughters, Crissie (John) Graber, from Goshen, Indiana;
Sonia (Maurismar) Chaves from Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil; Regina (Eliseo) Pérez from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cecilia (Max) Musselman, from Americana, Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Anita (Timothy) Eisenbeis from Freeman, South Dakota; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
“Our feelings and our eternal thanks for the work he and his wife Lois had done in Brazil,” said Peters. “The Mennonite Church in Brazil never will forget it.”
A memorial service will be held July 3 at 3 p.m. at College Mennonite Church. Memorial gifts may be given to Mennonite Mission Network.