Read letters from Larry and Inge Sthreshley
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The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 147
Larry and Inge Sthreshley
Mission co-workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Serving at the invitation of Presbyterian Community of Congo (CPC) and the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK); seconded to IMA World Health (Larry); and with the Methodist Presbyterian Hostel (Inge)
The Sthreshleys periodically visit the US and are able to visit congregations as their schedule allows. Email them to extend an invitation to speak with your congregation or organization.
About Larry and Inge Sthreshley's ministries
As a health liaison Larry Sthreshley assists with the development of the health ministries of churches and their role in the health system of Congo. His work involves designing and managing comprehensive health programs that work from the community level up through the ministry of health. The programs have a special emphasis on equitable health care financing, high impact interventions to reduce maternal and child mortality, and programs to address gender-based violence. Larry is seconded to IMA World Health and serves that organization as Congo’s country director. He is also the chief of party of the ASSP (a French acronym that means Access to Primary Health Care) project and chairman of Good Shepherd Hospital (IMCK).
Larry and a staff of about 30 people implement Project ASSP. The project’s goal is to work with the government, churches and the community to develop a resilient health care system that provides affordable health care and preventive services to 8 million people in five provinces of the country. The project addresses issues such as health infrastructure, primary health care, malaria, water and sanitation, vaccinations, nutrition, family planning, HIV, and gender violence. It also does some limited work in agriculture.
Inge also works on the nutrition, home garden, and clean cook stove components of the ASSP project in addition to giving oversight to the Methodist Presbyterian Hostel (MPH), which is a mission guest house and small conference center. MPH provides a much needed service to Presbyterian and Methodist mission workers, national and international church groups, work teams and individuals working in partnership in Congo.
Inge’s work at the Methodist Presbyterian Hostel facilitates mutual mission between groups from the United States and Congolese partners. “MPH provides a place for people to stay as they pass through on their way to the interior of the country or as they work in Kinshasa. We facilitate many meetings and conferences,” she says. “MPH is a place where people make connections that significantly impact their work in Congo. It is a real blessing to many people.”
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country roughly one-quarter the size of the United States. It is a land that has been ravaged by conflict. The havoc wrought by 40 years of dictatorship under Mobutu followed by multiple wars and continued pockets of militia fighting have kept this resource-rich country from developing its potential. The majority of Congo’s people struggle daily for survival. Despite these circumstances, the church in the DRC continues to witness to the Good News of God’s Word through their multifold ministries.
About Larry and Inge Sthreshley
Larry Sthreshley says “experiencing the wonder of being part of God’s plan” motivates his ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Larry and Inge began what Larry calls “an amazing journey of mission service” more than two decades ago. “When I started, I could not even envision all that God would lead me to be involved in,” Larry says. “Over the years I have moved from helping the church manage a handful of clinics in Kinshasa to creating one of the largest church-run health programs in Africa.”
Trained in tropical agriculture, Inge works with the ASSP project and the CPK to address the problem of malnutrition through nutrition education and home gardens and through efficient and low-emission cook stoves. She has written several brochures and a book on agriculture.
Both Larry and Inge grew up as children of missionaries in Congo. Larry’s parents were Presbyterian missionaries who served in the two Kasaii provinces in the south-central region and Inge’s parents were Methodist missionaries who served in Katanga province in the far southeastern section of the country.
The Sthreshleys appreciate Congo’s mission heritage as well as the vibrant Christian movement that resulted from those early missionary efforts. “I am very mindful that anything that we achieve in mission is building on the work of the many American and Congolese Christians in the past who were faithful to the call they received to share the good news of the gospel and gave of their time and talents to help develop the ministries of the church,” Inge says.
Their work in Congo models the long-term commitment that historically has characterized mission service. Yet both of them enable the work of Christians who come to Congo on short-term assignments. “MPH makes it more logistically feasible and possible for groups and individuals to do short-term mission trips and develop partnerships with Presbyterians here in Congo,” Inge says.
Larry says working with short-term groups is a priority of his ministry. “Often the mission groups are able to support pilot projects that I am able to turn into larger donor-funded projects,” Larry says. “Presbyterian Women have been especially active in starting and supporting projects in Congo.”
Such groups that work with Larry can draw on his long experience in Congo as well as his academic training. He holds a doctorate in international health systems management from Tulane University, a master’s degree in public health from UCLA, and an undergraduate degree in public health from the University of North Carolina.
Inge studied tropical agriculture at the University of Hawaii, where she received a bachelor’s degree.
The Sthreshleys are the parents of two children, Lisa and Michael. Lisa was born at the Presbyterian-supported Good Shepherd Hospital in Congo.
Larry - March 15
Inge - May 24
Lisa - August 8
Michael - December 4