Organization: Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)
Location: Congo, Africa
About This Ministry:
Lary and Sheryl Strietzel have served as missionaries with Mission Aviation Fellowship since 1990. Throughout the years, they have lived and ministered in Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Currently, the Strietzels serve the people of Eastern Congo from Nyankunde, in northeast DRC, having moved there from Bunia, DRC in December 2013.
Along with flying, Lary has also been the interim program manager, Chief Pilot, flight scheduler, maintenance engineer, and even house repairman. Lary finds Proverbs 3:5-6 especially meaningful, reminding him that God is completely in control, and he can trust Him even when circumstances are beyond his comprehension.
Recent ministry highlights for the Strietzels include the following: supporting the work of Wycliffe Bible Translators as they completed two New Testament translations in the year 2014, providing increased medical support flights to and from the Nyankunde mission hospital since the completion of the new surgical unit and ICU in 2013, and being positioned to give air support to medical teams during the malaria epidemic and vaccination campaign.
Sheryl’s ministry includes supporting Lary, offering hospitality for MAF short-term and other guests, as well as praying for and sharing the Gospel with hospital patients. In addition, she loves to mentor young people and encourage other missionary wives. Psalms 139:1-3 is especially meaningful to her. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”
Lary grew up in Wisconsin and accepted Christ at the age of 14. From Moody Bible Institute and Moody Aviation, he received a B.S. in Missionary Aviation Technology. He holds a commercial instrument pilot’s license with multi-engine rating, flight instructor rating, and an airframe and powerplant mechanic’s license.
Sheryl was born in Detroit, Michigan. The daughter of missionaries, she spent most of her growing up years in Brussels, Belgium. She says, “My parents, by teaching Bible truths and by their example, were the greatest influence in my life.” She realized the truth of the Gospel at eight and renewed her commitment to follow Christ as a teenager. She attended Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, where she received a B.A. in Elementary Education with a French minor. Lary and Sheryl married in 1985.
The Strietzels have two adult children and four grandchildren. Their son, Jason, and his wife, Rachel (Shedd), with Judah and Violet, live in the Chicago area. Their daughter, Stephanie, and her husband, Eric Teune, with Alyssa and Erika, live in Warsaw, Indiana.
Recent update from the Strietzels:
“Recently, there has been fighting, burning, and pillaging in many villages in Eastern Central African Republic, north of us. MAF has supported mission groups in this area for many years. Now many of the population from CAR are fleeing into Northern Congo. Unfortunately, this area of Congo is also known to be very insecure. MAF is standing by to support and aid the National Church as is necessary. Please pray for our brothers and sisters during this very difficult time.”