Larry Schmitz is a United Methodist missionary now serving as Missionary in Residence at the headquarters of the General Board of Global Ministries. In this position, which he assumed in the fall of 2015, he is a liaison between all United Methodist missionaries and the staff and board of directors of Global Ministries. His wife Kristen is also a Missionary in Residence.
Larry and Kristen previously served at the English-speaking School of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo, he as a math and science teacher and she as a general education teacher.
Larry was a science teacher in the North Kansas City School District for almost 30 years and retired in 2011. He is a native of Iowa, born in La Porte City, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in science education form the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, and a Master of Arts degree in geology from the University of Missouri at Columbia. He is a member of the Avondale United Methodist Church, in Kansas City, Missouri.
His initial personal religious education was through Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in La Porte City. He continued faithful participation in the Catholic Church through college. Larry’s first job out of undergraduate school was in Platte City, Missouri, where he met his future wife, Kristen Gamble, who was United Methodist. “I joined her church…and as I grew to understand the beliefs and practices of the United Methodists I came to truly appreciate the teachings of the denomination.” Both Larry and Kristen Schmitz have been extremely active in the education ministries of Avondale Church over the years.
To Larry, quality teaching constitutes a Christian calling. As he was working on a graduate degree in geology, an experience in which his vision fixed on a campus chapel cross convinced him that God meant for him to be a teacher. “I was overwhelmed with a sense of peace and understanding,” he recalls. Active in regional and national educational associations, Larry holds National Board Certification in science and early adolescence education from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.
After retirement from the North Kansas City School District, the couple investigated possibilities of teaching in another country, and applied with enthusiasm to the positions in Lubumbashi.
Larry and Kristen Schmitz are the parents of three children, Laura McDaniel, Nathan Schmitz, and Brandon Schmitz, and they have three grandchildren.
: Missouri Annual Conference
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