Missionaries Begin a New Life in a New Place

By Rick Wolcott

Mary Vandersommers Aaron VandersommersDuring Annual Conference 2015 Mary and Aaron Vandersommers, via video, explained that God was calling them to be missionaries with Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. Unsure at that time where they would serve, the couple now has a new home – the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“Aaron and I are settling in to life, and the many adventures of communicating in French, Lingala or Swahili,” Mary wrote in an e-mail from the DRC.

She and her husband are working with the Eglise du Christ au Congo (ECC), a federation of more than 70 protestant denominations serving the people of the DRC. The ECC supports schools, hospitals, clinics and mission sites throughout the Congo.

“Mary and I are excited and blessed to be able to serve with an already well-established organization that is devoted to improving life to all people in the Congo,” Aaron wrote in a separate e-mail.

He explained that, “the ECC also assists in supporting emergency refugee situations in the Congo region that are brought on by strife and war taking place in the surrounding countries of central Africa.”

The organization works for the rights of women and children throughout the region, and to improve humanitarian conditions.

“Mary will be working with new ministries in Community Development and I will help support already existing mission teams and activities as Chief Operating Officer,” Aaron wrote.

(Click any photo below to view the larger photo gallery.)

“During our brief time here we have taken a week-long journey to Eastern Congo to meet with leaders in North and South Kivu; as well as a week in South Africa to meet with other Global Ministries Missionaries from throughout Africa and staff from New York,” Mary wrote.  “The remainder of our time has been spent on-site here in Kinshasa getting to know our many partners and the work they are doing for the church in Congo.”

The Vandersommers will return to the United States in April for training. They will be commissioned at 11:00 a.m. PST on Thursday, May 19 during General Conference in Portland, OR.

After spending a week in the California-Nevada Conference, Mary and Aaron will visit the East Ohio Conference from May 26-31. From their former home they will head to meetings in Washington DC and New York before leaving on June 10 to return to their new home.

You can learn more about – and make financial contributions to – the ministries of Mary Vandersommers and Aaron Vandersommers by clicking on their names.

They are also blogging about their experiences at www.umcmissioncongo.com.

*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.