Few couples have worked with greater harmony of heart and aim than Francis and Edith Schaeffer, missionaries to the intellectuals of the twentieth century. The Schaeffers set out as overseas evangelists right after World War II, and they were soon attracting hoards of university students to their chalet in the village of Huemoz in the Swiss Alps. From this came L’Abri Fellowship, founded in 1955, a study center and refuge for students and skeptics seeking answers to the great philosophical questions of life.
How the Lord brought Francis and Edith together makes a great love story. Francis grew up in Germantown in northwest Philadelphia. His parents weren’t believers, and he had little exposure to Christianity. But at age 17 he began teaching English to a Russian immigrant, and he went to a bookstore to purchase an English grammar book. When he returned home, he found the sales clerk had wrapped the wrong book, an introduction to Greek philosophy. As Francis studied the book, he discovered the basic philosophical questions about the meaning of life. But he found no answers until he decided to read the Bible straight through. The Scripture brought him to faith in Christ.
On Sunday night, June 26, 1932, he attended a service at a nearby Presbyterian church. A Unitarian came to speak on why he denied the Bible and its teachings about God, Christ, and other vital truths. A young lady in the audience had prepared herself in advance to stand and refute the man’s comments. When he finished his talk, Edith gripped her notes and prepared to challenge him. Before she could rise to her feet, Francis jumped up and began shredding the speaker’s arguments. Edith listened in amazement. Until that moment she had not known of anyone else in the church who believed as she did. When Francis finished, she rose and made her comments. Francis was equally impressed. After the service, he insisted on accompanying Edith home.
Thus began a lifelong partnership in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to students and scholars in America, Europe, and among the nations.
People will come to you from distant nations and say“
Our ancestors worshiped false and useless gods,
Worthless idols made by human hands.”
Then the Lord replied,
“That’s why I will teach them about my power,
And they will know that I am the true God.” (Jeremiah 16:19b-21)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). June 26.