Mrs Retha Elger
Miss Fitz PuppetsColumbus, OH
From the age of five I had learned to love Jesus and spent time “teaching” my dolls how to give their “hearts” to Him. That should have been a clue to what God would later call me to do, but I didn’t know that yet! I can still see the little cracked plastic piggy bank I used as an object lesson to show the dolls how not to let bad things into their lives, but to love Jesus.
I graduated from a small Bible college in Kansas, with a BA in missions. For over 10 years, I did monthly missionary services in my local church, with an emphasis to interest children in missions. These were my own ideas, not from a conference lesson plan. This program was for the adults and the children on Wednesday nights. Recently a missionary in Taiwan sent me a message thanking me for helping her to love mission work! What a thrill! Many times I used puppets for those services. The one who is a missionary now helped with some of the puppets in those services. Most of the puppets were made by me.
As my work continued, I developed programs for children’s church, church camps and VBS. I came to live and breathe children's services and ways to teach children truth. I loved doing it, because it was where God wanted me, and He helped me to develop talents to do it well.
I became an artist, a writer, and a crafter (designing crafts to go with the theme). Even my love of sewing came into play for illustrations and games. God had given me a wonderful companion, Larry Elger, who was also artistic and a detail person, who spent many hours making crafts for my themes. We were planning to move to Kentucky to work with the Creation Museum when God called him home unexpectedly. So the “ we” became “ me” instead.
I did make the move to Kentucky. I have been privileged to do some special things for the Museum and Ark encounter, including making microscope covers, a costume for a huge T-Rex, and designing and making a medieval costume and writing and performing a puppet production for the Mega conference in 2013 in Tennessee. I also designed and made the Alien costume used to introduce the new planetarium program, “Aliens, Truth or Fiction.” Before the Ark Encounter opened, I worked on some costumes, and especially I applied the designs to the curtains you see in the living quarters for Noah.
Years ago, I taught a college class for child evangelism, and during that time I started seriously developing my own designs of puppets. I continued to do children’s services wherever we were, and the time to develop more puppets or to actually market the patterns, just was not there!
Last year I launched a new business, called Miss Fitz Puppets. These are God-given designs, patterns to make professional-looking puppets. They are not tiny toys, but stage size.
Going from children’s ministry to designer of fantastic puppets has been quite a journey, and there is more to come!
In my “spare” time, I also enjoy reading, quilting, sewing, floral design and decorating my home for the seasons.