Reverend Leon Schultz has been pastor at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (LC-MS), Providence, R.I for over 25 years. During his tenure, the demographics of the congregation have transformed from members of European descent to a primarily Liberian membership. At the encouragement of his African members, Pastor Schultz visited Liberia for the first time in 2011 and saw the need for Christian schools. What was just an idea would soon turn out to be a project that will be a blessing to so many children in the years to come. After the civil war in Liberia, there was much devastation and distress. The simple things that we take for granted - lights, running water, paved roads, food and shelter - continue to be unavailable in most areas, especially rural Liberia. With everyone affected by these living conditions, it is, however the children who suffer most. Imagine growing up without hope for a future. Even more, imagine growing up without so much as a bed or bathroom or a school.
Following his visit to Liberia, Pastor Schultz created a short film that was titled “Let The Little Children Come To Me”. The film was distributed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and presented to the board of Directors of the New England District-Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (NED-LCMS). The film was well received and soon the mission was endorsed by both the NED-LCMS board of Directors and the Mission Board. It has continued to gain support from numerous churches and Lutheran schools from Massachusetts to Wisconsin.
In January 2014, along with the NED-LCMS president, a project contractor and some church members and project board members, Pastor Schultz made another trip to Liberia. This time they were scheduling appointments with government officials and developing plans for what would become the Gbarnga Lutheran Training Center.