Growing into a New Position–Missionaries in Residence

The first of our experiences as Missionaries in Residence was to assist in the training of young adults at the Global Mission Fellows training in Harare, Zimbabwe. The energy and spirituality displayed by this group of 20-30 year olds was an inspiration.

The training in Harare was a terrific inauguration into our new calling.

The training in Harare was a terrific inauguration into our new calling.

Our time in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was a phenomenal time of personal and spiritual growth. Our life in Lubumbashi was accomplished through the Grace of God, who sent to us incredible support of friends through whom we witnessed the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus by their very presence.

We were welcomed as members of the Mutach family who were sad at our departure yet threw a wonderful goodbye party for us.

We were welcomed as members of the Mutach family, who were sad at our departure yet threw a wonderful goodbye party for us.

God's plan is being unveiled to us one blurry step at a time.

God’s plan is being unveiled to us one blurry step at a time.

We have stepped into our new placement with a dawning of new experiences now in the United States.

We have stepped into our new placement with a dawning of new experiences, now in the        United States.

Most recently we have assisted in the training of an incredible group of missionaries who are going to be building bridges for Christ in the Americas.

Most recently we have assisted in the training of an incredible group of missionaries who are going to be building bridges for Christ in Latin America and the United States.

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Saying goodbye and saying hello

We met Grace and Peter who were part of our commissioning class in Zimbabwe.

While in Zimbabwe we met Grace and Peter who were part of our commissioning class.

This will likely be our last post on Schmitzinthecongo.com as we are no longer serving as missionaries in the Congo. Rather, we have been called to a new position through Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church to serve as Missionaries in Residence.

Missionaries who have served around the world.

Missionaries who serve around the world.

Our responsibilities will involve helping to train new Global Ministries missionaries;  advocating for the nearly 400 missionaries worldwide that we represent; serving as a bridge from the leadership to the missionaries and from the missionaries to the leadership; and bringing the stories of these incredible people to you through various media like this blog.

Participants in the Global Fellowship training in Zimbabwe.

Participants in the Global Fellowship training in Zimbabwe.

Our next post will be on our new blog we plan to entitle SchmitzFETE@wordpress.com You might ask about the origin of this title. First, the title comes from the Global Ministries motto (From Everywhere To Everywhere). This acronym certainly represents our first month in the position. We have already visited Harare, Zimbabwe; Lusaka, Zambia; Lubumbashi, DRC; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dublin, Ireland (didn’t get off the plane); Toronto, Canada; Kansas City, MO USA and New York City, New York USA since beginning our first training in conjunction with this position, so the name fits.

Airports are now a necessary part of our new life.

Airports are now a necessary part of our new life.

Also “fete” is the French word meaning  feast, holiday, celebration; fair, festival, festivity, rejoicings, and celebrate. Our life is destined to be a party as we follow God’s call and rejoice in doing God’s work. What a blessing.

Bon FETE

Bon FETE

See you on our new blog.

We appreciate very much your taking the time to view this blog.  If you are moved to help in the spread of the love of Christ throughout the world we would encourage you to support the efforts of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. A contribution to one of our advance accounts is a contribution to all the terrific work that is being done in His name.

Rev. Kristen Schmitz – http://www.umcmission.org/explore-our-work/missionaries-in-service/missionary-profiles

Larry Schmitz – http://www.umcmission.org/explore-our-work/missionaries-in-service/missionary-profiles

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Manic May Mercifully Mastered

Ask any teacher about May. It is the month of restless students, longer hours doing final reports, and sleepless nights trying to figure out that one last activity that will get you to the end of the school year.  The same is true here in the Congo except school is not out till the 25th of June!

We got an early kickoff for the mayhem of the month by visiting the Lubumbashi slag pile (remains of mining of coal, cobalt, and zinc) that looms above the city’s skyline.

The trip down was treacherous with shards of glass making their way into shoes and making each new step a painful experience.

The trip down was treacherous with shards of glass making their way into shoes and making each new step a painful experience.

Here are some highlights of our month.

Whenever possible we visit with our missionary friends. Looks like Larry might be running for political office.

Whenever possible we visit with our missionary friends. Looks like Larry might be running for political office.

Graduation for 5 students happened on May 5th.

Graduation for 5 students happened on May 5th.

We celebrated Larry's birthday on May 8th by going to a local restaurant for a very nice meal complete with sushi and steak!

We celebrated Larry’s birthday on May 8th by going to a local restaurant for a very nice meal complete with sushi and steak!

The cat was so excited with all the excitement that she was climbing the walls. Well at least the doors.

The cat was so excited with all the excitement that she was climbing the walls. Well at least the doors.

On May 9th students from TESOL participated in a talent show and fun fair that served as a fund raiser for our new campus. Students here love to dance.

On May 9th students from TESOL participated in a talent show and fun fair that served as a fund raiser for our new campus. Students here love to dance.

The muscle man sponge throw was one of the two activities that Kristy's class sponsored and ran.

The muscle man sponge throw was one of the two activities that Kristy’s class sponsored and ran.

The jumping castle and slide was a popular activity with Larry's grade 9 class in charge. The fun was short lived as the fan overheated and the inflatable was deflated.

The jumping castle and slide was a popular activity with Larry’s grade 9 class in charge. The fun was short lived as the fan overheated and the inflatable was deflated.

Both Larry and Kristy had fishing activities but Kristy was smart enough to set hers up in the shade.

Both Larry and Kristy had fishing activities but Kristy was smart enough to set hers up in the shade.

Our regional director for Global Ministries visited with us concerning possibilities for the next three years and he also toured the renovations on the new home for our good friends.

Our regional director for Global Ministries visited with us concerning possibilities for the next three years and he also toured the renovations on the new home for our good friends.

Every day is an adventure for teachers and we get the added bonus of very cool mornings in may so a jacket is needed in the classroom for the first couple class periods.

Every day is an adventure for teachers and we get the added bonus of very cool mornings in May so a jacket is needed in the classroom for the first couple class periods.

We visited the village church at Kipushi with good friends from church. It was a very interesting way to end a hectic month. Notice how the mothers take care of nursery care for their children so they can sing in the choir.

We visited the village church at Kipushi with good friends from church. It was a very interesting way to end a hectic month. Notice how the mothers take care of nursery care for their children so they can sing in the choir.

It has been an incredible and stressful month.  The end of school is just stressful no matter where you are. Add to that the tragic loss of Larry’s brother Del on the 24th of the month, our celebration of yet another year together (number 38) on the 29th, and helping our missionary friends move on the 30th. It has been a month to remember and rejoice in its passing. We are exhausted and ready to return to Kansas City for a month at the end of June.

You can find the profiles for Larry and Rev.Kristy Schmitz at http://www.umcmission.org . Please visit us there and consider making a donation to our ministry here in Lubumbashi.

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Lots of things happened in April of 2015

We made a quick weekend trip to Zambia to explore some new missionary possibilities and took some time off to canoe around a friend's pond.

We made a quick weekend trip to Zambia to explore some new missionary possibilities and took some time off to canoe around a friend’s pond.

It is always nice to get away and enjoy the great out of doors.

It is always nice to get away and enjoy the great out of doors.

Seeing blooming lily pads reminded us of paddling through a similar setting in Canada.

Seeing blooming lily pads reminded us of paddling through a similar setting in Canada.

Larry in his element.

Larry in his element.

Unique vegetation at the edge of the pond.

Unique vegetation at the edge of the pond.  Fans of Dr. Seuss and the Lorax recognize the resemblance to trufula trees.

As it is everywhere we live church continues to be an important part of our lives. It seems their is a special celebration every week, here young people at our church advanced to the next level of their church commitment.

As it is everywhere we live, church is an important part of our lives. It seems there is a special celebration at Jerusalem Methodist Unie every week. Here young people at our church advanced to the next level of their church commitment.

We met up with a group of aviation safety experts  from the United States and toured the site where the new TESOL campus is being constructed.

We met up with a group of aviation safety experts from the United States who were here to audit the safety procedures and equipment of the UM Aviation ministries, and toured the site where the new TESOL campus is being constructed.

The new campus is looking very nice. Four classrooms are completed and four more are under construction.

The new campus is looking very nice. Four classrooms are completed, four more are under construction, and the landscaping of grass and tropical plants adorn the buildings.

We enjoyed entertaining 11 members of a family who has befriended us. They are members of the church we attend and 4 of the children in the family attend school at TESOL.

We enjoyed entertaining 11 members of a family who has befriended us. They are members of the church we attend and 4 of the children in the family attend school at TESOL.

Larry fixed barbeque and Kristy made potato and macaroni salads and chocolate cake. It was a great picnic!

Larry fixed barbeque and Kristy made potato and macaroni salads and chocolate cake. It was a great evening!

We used every chair in the house and moved them out doors to enjoy the cool was a great pleasure.

We used every chair in the house and moved them out doors to enjoy the cool breezes. It  was a great pleasure.

On the last day of the month we took advantage of National Education Day to visit the slag pile at the south end of Lubumbashi.

On the last day of the month we took advantage of National Education Day to visit the slag pile in  southern  Lubumbashi.

The slag pile is the result of smelting copper and cobalt ore at this site.  The plant ran from 1924 - 1998 and produced a mountain of glassy debris 120 meters tall.

The slag pile is the result of smelting copper and cobalt ore at this site. The plant ran from 1924 – 1998 and produced a mountain of glassy debris 120 meters tall, nearly 400 feet.

We journeyed to the top of the slag mountain by electric rail car tram.

We journeyed to the top of the slag mountain by electric rail car tram.

Getting onto the tram and the journey to the top was difficult and somewhat nerve wracking for some of us.

Getting onto the tram and the journey to the top was difficult and somewhat nerve wracking for some of us.

The view from the top is spectacular.

The view from the top is spectacular.

It is easy to identify the flood plane of the Lubumbashi River.

It is easy to identify the flood plane of the Lubumbashi River.

Top of the Slag pile

The trip down was on foot and even more worrisome than the tram trip up for a couple of our hikers.

The trip down was on foot and even more worrisome than the tram trip up for a couple of our hikers.

It was easy to lose your footing on the loose slag particles of glassy scoria.

It was easy to lose your footing on the loose slag particles of glassy scoria. It was a lot like climbing down a sand dune.

We were all glad to reach the firm footing of the roadway when we made it to the base of the slag pile.

We were all glad to reach the firm footing of the roadway when we made it to the base of the slag pile.

This is the path of our descent. (That sounds somewhat Biblical doesn't it.)

This is the path of our descent. (That sounds somewhat Biblical doesn’t it.)

We also were able to tour the factory built to process the slag by smelting.

We also were able to tour the factory built to process the slag by smelting.

The slag is melted then rapidly cooled with water to separate the copper and cobalt from the slag.  The debris pile is very high in these two elements and also zinc.

The slag is melted then rapidly cooled with water to separate the copper and cobalt from the slag. The debris pile is very high in these two elements and also zinc.

A close up view of the molten slag.

A close up view of the molten slag.

Steam rises off the water used to rapidly cool the molten slag.

Steam rises off the water used to rapidly cool the molten slag.

Cobalt separation happens where the large tubes intersect.

Cobalt separation happens where the large tubes intersect.

Zinc oxide powder is another valuable product refined here.

Zinc oxide powder is another valuable product refined here.

Our guide, Vincent Kasango, did an excellent job answering our many questions and patiently directing us throughout our visit.

Our guide, Vincent Kasango, did an excellent job answering our many questions and patiently directing us throughout our visit.

This was a great day and a wonderful learning experience for all of us.

This was a great day and a wonderful learning experience for all of us.

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A visit to the village life

Posing together in front of the vista viewed from the "mountain" we climbed on our day away from Lubumbashi.

Posing together in front of the vista viewed from the “mountain” we climbed on our day away from Lubumbashi.

On Sunday, March 15th the two of us had our best taste yet of the village life in the Congo.

The altar area at Jerusalem United Methodist in Lubumbashi.

The altar area at Jerusalem United Methodist in Lubumbashi.

Our first stop was at Jerusalem United Methodist Church. The elements for communion are prepared and waiting below the cloth on the altar.  Since she is an ordained deacon, Kristy has frequently been invited to help with the serving of the elements as she did this Sunday.

After a quick change to prepare for our day in “the bush,” we rode with friends to our next stop: the United Methodist Church in the village of Kiswishi. IMG_2362 The United Methodist Church in this village was built in 1963. We were the first missionaries from the church to have visited here, so we were given a hero’s welcome.  The youthful enthusiasm with which we were greeted was greatly appreciated. You can see in this picture that the present church is surrounded by a wall. These will be the outer walls of the new church to be completed on this site.

Accompanied by the rhythms created on the large drum the young people chanted and danced to welcome us.

Accompanied by the rhythms created on the large drum the young people chanted and danced to welcome us.

It is truly amazing the spirituality that can be expressed without amplified sound accompaniment.

After the service we toured the construction site.

After the service we toured the construction site.

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This well is deep enough that it provides safe drinking water for the village residents.

This well is deep enough that it provides safe drinking water for the village residents.

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After the village church service we were invited to a "small" picnic. When we arrived we were greeted by a score of people and a layout of food being prepared that was fit for royalty.

After the village church service we were invited to a “small” picnic. When we arrived we were greeted by a score of people and a layout of food being prepared that was fit for royalty.

This is a goat that was butchered on site and barbequed all in the same day.  A fun and new cultural experience for us.

This is a goat that was butchered on site and barbequed all in the same day. A fun and new cultural experience for us.

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We worked up our hunger for the upcoming feast by hiking to the top of a very large hill to take in the sites.

We worked up our hunger for the upcoming feast by hiking to the top of a very large hill to take in the sites.

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As guests we did not help with the preparation but those preparing the meal seemed to be having a great time as well.

As guests we did not help with the preparation but those preparing the meal seemed to be having a great time as well.

We ate a feast which I did not document with pictures as I was too busy enjoying the brochettes, the barbequed chicken, three different goat dishes, two vegetable salads, boiled potatoes and french fries, rice and bucari.  What a spread! And we thought we had been invited for a “small” picnic.

After dinner we toured the talapia pond they have built and the enclosure for goats.  Then we paid a visit to visit the village chief, where our host presented gifts to him for us as first time visitors to the farm and his village.  What a day!

Clowning next to the talapia pond.

Clowning next to the talapia pond.

A day like this was has to end up with a sunset picture. We hope you have enjoyed our pictorial account of our visit to village life.

A day like this was has to end up with a sunset picture. We hope you have enjoyed our pictorial account of our visit to village life.

If you would like to support our missionary effort here in the Congo please visit umcmission.org and search for Kristen or Larry Schmitz

Gifts can also be made to our school building site by searching the same site for the TESOL advance project.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog.  We would invite you to leave your comments in the space provided at the end of this post. I

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Typical day at TESOL

Teaching at TESOL for the past 2 plus years has been an experience that is impossible to put into words.

Teaching at TESOL for the past 2 plus years has been an experience that is impossible to put into words.

Even though five of their classmates were missing the students were able to perform a four part round.

We have have done everything from teaching every class period on a daily basis to proofreading every teachers’ comments for grade cards to directing class singing groups for programs to playing Santa for class parties just before Christmas break.

Here is a snapshot tour of the campus during 2nd class period on a typical day.

Here is a snapshot tour of the campus during 2nd class period on a typical day.

Students in the University of Nebraska on line program work at a self-directed pace to complete their high school course work. Teachers, like Larry, serve as tutors and mentors for these students when they are available. Kristy never has a period when she can work with them as she works with two students who are just learning English on the one hour she doesn't stand in front of a full class.

Students in the University of Nebraska on-line high school program work at a self-directed pace to complete their course work. Teachers, like Larry, serve as tutors and mentors for these students when they are available. Kristy never has a period when she can work with them, as she works with two students who are just learning English on the one hour she doesn’t stand in front of a full class.

When we have electricity and the copier which is currently on its last legs isn't broken down we can dash in to make a quick copy as needed.

When we have electricity and the copier (which is currently on its last legs) isn’t broken down, we can dash in to make a quick copy as needed.

Mrs. Mwaba fills in to help teach two of our classes in grammar or literature and also serves as principal, vise director of the school, and disperser of class materials like chalkboard erasers as needed.

Mrs. Mwaba fills in to help teach two of our classes in grammar or literature,  serves as principal and vise director of the school, and disperser of class materials like chalkboard erasers and chalk as needed.

Our grade eight classroom is filled with 20 very active eighth graders who are paying close attention to an algebra lesson.

Our grade eight classroom is filled with 20 very active eighth graders who are paying close attention to an algebra lesson.

Grade nine students working on their laptops and on laptops that the school provides for their in class use.

Grade nine students working on their laptops and on laptops that the school provides for their in-class use.

Our technology teacher is working with one of the Excel projects that the class is completing.

Our technology teacher is working with one of the Excel projects that the class is completing.

This is the class that Larry is the grade level teacher for. This means that the class has responsibility for at least on assembly per term and that same week the do a food sale to raise funds for our new campus. We are also doing a booth for our fun fair that will be happening May 9th.

This is the class that Larry is the grade level teacher for. This means that the class has responsibility for at least one assembly per term and that same week the do a food sale to raise funds for our new campus. We are also doing a booth for our fun fair that will be happening May 9th.

Grade six students studying science. There are book shelf dividers between this group and the grade 5 students that share the same classroom.

Grade six students studying science. There are book shelf dividers between this group and the grade 5 students that share the same classroom.

Our teaching staff is quite international. This teacher was born and raised in India.

Our teaching staff is quite international. This teacher was born and raised in India.

This group of grade 5 students are learning science from one of the newest additions to our teaching staff.

This group of grade 5 students is learning science from one of the newest additions to our teaching staff.

Like fifth grade students everywhere it is very hard to convince them to keep all four legs of their chair on the floor.

Like fifth grade students everywhere it is very hard to convince them to keep all four legs of their chair on the floor.

This over sized closet house between 11 and 20 English Language Learning (ELL) students from a variety of grade levels throughout the day.

This over sized closet houses between 11 and 20 English Language Learning (ELL) students from a variety of grade levels throughout the day.

A winning smile warms the heart in any language.

A winning smile warms the heart in any language.

Students and staff at TESOL look forward to the opportunities that will arise from our move to the new campus near the international airport of Lubumbashi.

Students and staff at TESOL look forward to the opportunities that will arise from our move to the new campus near the international airport of Lubumbashi.

We welcome and encourage contributions to the building of the school or to help the efforts of United Methodist missionaries around the world by visiting the Global Ministries website at http://www.umcmissions.org

The Advance Project number for the school is 10337A — For Kristen Schmitz is 3021774 and for Larry Schmitz is 3021773

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our school.

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A new way to bring in the New Year

After more than two years in Africa we finally did something that most volunteer groups do on a two week visit.  We went on a photo safari.

The beautiful sunset as we approached South Luangwa National Park in Zambia was a sign of good things to come.

The beautiful sunset as we approached South Luangwa National Park in Zambia was a sign of good things to come.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip to Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.

The two of us were very excited to finally get the chance to view African animals in the wild.

The two of us were very excited to finally get the chance to view African animals in the wild.

To make our way to Mfuwe we hired a taxi to drive us from our home in Lubumbashi to the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. We paid a young man to carry our heavier bags and, with our up to date Visa’s in hand, going across the border was a snap. Not the snap of a picture however. Photographs are not allowed in politically sensitive areas, and all areas are sensitive.

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We prepared for our flight from Ndola to Lusaka and from Lusaka to Mfuwa airport by buying supplies and spending two nights at Kafakumba Training Center in near Ndola. The great thing about staying there over the weekend is the chance to worship in English. We enjoy the music at Jerusalem United Methodist in Lubumbashi, but listening to the sermon and singing hymns in our native tongue is great .

The driver that works for one of our good friends took us to the airport on Wednesday, the 29th of December and we were off on our big adventure. I mention the date here because we have tried to celebrate monthly anniversaries ever since we were married on May 29, 1977. This one was destined to be truly memorable.

Our first photo safari was a great way to spend the 29th of any month.

Our first photo safari was a great way to spend the 29th of any month.

The schedule at the lodge is pretty grueling. Up at 5:30, breakfast at 6:00 and off on a driving photo safari by 6:30. We returned to the lodge about 10, for “brunch” at 11, followed by “siesta.” A 3:00 “Tea” fortified us for a second photo safari, which ended after sunset. It seemed as if we ate continuously of food that was way too good to decline, and ended the day with a the biggest meal of the day at 8:00 pm. We did not make it back to our very nice room till after 10:30 any night and were of at the crack of dawn (well at least close) the next day.

The lodge was a great way to relax after bouncing around in a Land Cruiser all day.

The lodge was a great way to relax after bouncing around in a Land Cruiser all day.

On New Year’s Eve we had the joy of going on two very successful game drives complete with our first sighting of a leopard. After the evening drive, we all enjoyed a fantastic buffet meal that included turkey, beef, and a whole roasted lamb.

This hyena escaped with its life by jumping into this small pond to evade a group of over 20 wild dogs.

This hyena escaped with its life by jumping into this small pond to evade a group of over 20 wild dogs.

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We stayed up till almost 11:00 but were way too tired to see in the New Year.

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 Animal pictures just don’t need explanation. You will probably notice that we took no lion pictures. Guess we will have to go back.

This water buck was magnificent, regal, ...

This water buck was magnificent, regal, …

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One of our favorite times of the day was the sunset and night animal drive. You may have noticed that there were no lion pictures in this set. Guess we will have to go back.

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