Following God’s Call

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GWU Provided Educational and Spiritual Foundation for Career Missionaries Zeb and Evelyn Moss

They lived nearly 200 miles apart. Evelyn Krause grew up in the foothills of North Carolina, and Zeb V. Moss was from Ashley Heights near Pinehurst, N.C. The two came to Gardner-Webb University for the same reason: to prepare for a life of Christian ministry.

On their second day at GWU in 1948, Zeb and Evelyn attended Boiling Springs (N.C.) Baptist Church. They didn’t meet until after the service, when each one decided to join. Six weeks later, Zeb was “pretty sure she was the one,” he shared. The couple had similar interests, joined the choir, mission volunteer team and the Baptist Student Union (BSU). Their second year on campus, Zeb was BSU president, and Evelyn served on the BSU council. Evelyn was responsible for scheduling speakers for vespers, devotional services held on campus Monday through Friday, and Zeb often spoke there. They were both excellent students and received academic honors.

Zeb and Evelyn Moss served as officers in the GWU Baptist Student Union. Evelyn is third from left, and Zeb is seated at the desk. Photo from 1950 yearbook

Married for more than six decades, the couple served as career missionaries in Africa for 38 years. Since retiring in 1997, they have returned to Africa twice for short-term assignments. Zeb has served as pastor in the interim for seven churches in the Sandhills Baptist Association in Carthage, N.C. Now, approaching their 90s, they are still active in their church in Aberdeen, N.C. Psalm 34:3 is their life verse: “Glorify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

Gardner-Webb provided the educational and spiritual foundation for their ministry, and they could not have attended without financial assistance. To help others like them, they established the Zeb and Evelyn Krause Moss Endowed Scholarship Fund. The award provides financial assistance to a student intending to enter the mission field as a representative of the International Mission Board, an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“We look back with thankful hearts for the opportunities the school gave us in so many areas: quality education, leadership, spiritual growth and it provided a safe place to develop our relationship with each other,” Zeb affirmed. “Evelyn and I had agreed that we would like to show our appreciation to Gardner-Webb for all the college meant to us. We pray that the scholarship might help other students at Gardner-Webb who are preparing for missions overseas.”

From left, Zeb and Evelyn Moss and Tom and Mary Small were appointed in 1959 to go into Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) as the country’s first Southern Baptist missionaries.

Evelyn decided from an early age that God was leading her to serve as a missionary. The church she grew up in, Round Hill Baptist Church in Rutherford County, N.C., supported missionaries and had mission study groups for the young and old. “I was a GA (Girls in Action) when I first sensed that God had his call on my life,” Evelyn elaborated. “I was 10 years old, and I was touched by what the GA leader said. The church prayed for me and that was so important.”

Zeb was studying for the ministry and open to missions work. “Gardner-Webb had an outstanding Christian faculty of teachers and leaders who influenced my life significantly through their teaching and their lives,” Zeb observed. “Dr. Stephen Morrisette, my Greek and Bible teacher for two years prepared me well for a double major of Greek and English at Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and later at Southeastern Seminary (Wake Forest, N.C.) for my two degrees,” Zeb asserted. “Also Dr. Morrisette was the counselor for the BSU activities on campus of which Evelyn and I were a part. In August 1952, he officiated at our wedding.”

Evelyn Moss taught nutrition classes to the women in Africa.

Evelyn has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. After Zeb graduated from seminary, he was an intern for a 6,000-member church in Mobile, Ala. During that time, he worked with the church’s television ministry. He left there to become pastor of Caroleen (N.C.) Baptist Church. While at Caroleen, Zeb served on the GWU Board of Trustees.

In 1957, Zeb and Evelyn attended a Southern Baptist missions conference at Ridgecrest in Black Mountain, N.C. At the conference they made a commitment to go to Africa. “We met lots of missionaries from different parts of the world, but were drawn to those serving in Africa,” Zeb related. “We heard about great physical and spiritual needs all across Africa, but the greatest need was for preachers to go into new countries that were open to the gospel and start churches and disciple believers.”

Zeb Moss with one of the church leaders in Africa.

In June 1959, they were appointed along with Tom and Mary Small to go into Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) as the country’s first Southern Baptist missionaries. Zeb and Evelyn had two daughters, a 5-year-old and an 18-month old. Throughout their time in Africa, they focused on evangelism and discipleship. Zeb helped develop Bible correspondence courses and taught a Bible course in the high school. In 1970, he began working in radio and TV ministry in Zambia and in 1973 began serving as the media consultant for Baptist work in Africa south of the Sahara. He made 30-minute films featuring music, testimonies and preaching that were shown on the local stations for free. Today, there are over 4,000 Southern Baptist affiliated churches in Zambia. “God was calling out the young people who wanted training,” Zeb acknowledged. “The work began to develop and mushroom. We had an open field to evangelize.”