Missourians on a Mission in the Congo


January 31, 2014

By Fred Koenig

Larry and Reverend Kristen Schmitz are Global Ministries missionaries from Missouri who have been serving in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for just over a year. Perhaps you saw the article introducing them on the pages of the Missouri Conference Review January 18, 2013. Rev. Schmitz, a deacon in Missouri, served as minister of Christian education for several churches in the Kansas City area and was very active statewide in Christian Educators Fellowship. Larry, a member of Avondale United Methodist for over 38 years and a delegate to at least six annual conferences, retired after 30 years in the ministry of public school teaching. Knowing they were not ready to stop working, they answered a call to mission Kristy had felt decades before.

After three weeks of training by the General Board of Global Ministries, Larry and Kristy landed in Lubumbashi in November of 2012 to begin a three year commitment to serve as missionary teachers at The English-speaking School of Lubumbashi, TESOL. After furnishing and getting settled into a duplex, they started teaching six different classes each day in January. They have become accustomed 10-12 hours of electricity each evening (quite an improvement over the first few months) and enjoy the challenge of teaching different topics to different age students nearly every period.
    
Larry and Kristy serve along with Ellen Hoover, a Global Ministries missionary to Lubumbashi since 1977 who has directed TESOL for many years. Originally established to serve the children of English speaking missionaries, the focus of TESOL has evolved as more of the ministries have been handed from missionaries to local citizens. Most of the students at TESOL now are Congolese, the children of the business and governmental leaders who consider English to be the language of commerce and diplomacy. The goal of the school is to also instill in these children Christian values and concern for other humans.
    
Soon Larry and Kristy will have their first opportunity to share their important message concerning their experiences. They will be touring various churches of the Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska conferences during the months of July and August. Their itinerary will be filling very quickly, so if you are interested in hearing their story a representative from your church should make contact with them by visiting their Global Ministries profile pages at and clicking on the email me button or by emailing them on their personal account lschmitz1977@gmail.com.
    
Reverend Kristen Schmitz profile page – www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/3021774 
  
Larry Schmitz - www.umcmission.org/Explore-Our-Work/Missionaries-in-Service/Missionary-Profiles/Schmitz-Larry.