Joe Lantz. I was born May 14, 1942 in Lincoln, Nebraska. My father was a bus driver for Continental Trailways and my mother, a house wife who did occasional catering at dinner parties. My mother, older brother Eldon (today residing in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife) and I somewhat regularly attended Vine Congregational Church. At the age of nine, my family moved to North Kansas City, Missouri where I attended grade school through senior High, graduating in 1960. During this time, I occasionally attended church services in several Baptist churches. My brother having married, my family moved to Wichita, Kansas. I remained in the Kansas City area, working and attending Night School at the University of Kansas City for one semester until I joined my father and mother in Wichita in January of 1961.
At this time I entered the University of Wichita and subsequently graduated in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology. During my studies at Wichita State, I was led to the Lord in 1962 in a private home as the result of a friend's sister who became burdened for me and later won me to Christ. Following graduation, I was commissioned in the United States Air Force and married Jerry Sue Mitchell. I then served my country as a Security Police Officer and Squadron Commander on air bases in California, North Dakota, Turkey and North Carolina.
While serving in the Air Force, the Lord spoke to me about my spiritual life and I submitted to Him in believer's baptism in 1970. A year, later God lead me to attend Faith Baptist Bible College and I resigned from the military and began studies in 1972. I graduated in 1977, majoring in Bible and Theology with minors in Missions and Christian Education. Upon God's call, I began preaching in 1974 and the call to France came during a Missions Conference at FBBC in October 1975. My wife and I were approved by Evangelical Baptist Missions in February 1977 and we began deputation in June, deputation lasting until our entry into language school at Bethel Bible Institute in Sherbrooke, Quebec. We studied the French language from September of 1980 until August of the following year. We left for missionary service in France October 17, 1981 after having received our passports and visas.
Jerry Sue Lantz. I was born March 12, 1946 in Wichita, Kansas and lived there with my parents and brother "Mitch" until I was twenty years old. I went through Elementary, Junior and Senior High School with one year at Pittsburg State College in Pittsburg, Kansas. Our family attended the Presbyterian Church and my Grandfather was a Presbyterian Minister. I grew up in a middle class, suburban neighborhood.
My second year after High School, I worked as a grocery checker at Safeway Food Stores. There I met Joe who later became my husband. We began to date and one evening he began to witness to me about the Lord and told me that I could know that I was going to Heaven when I died. I thought him a bit weird but I was interested also in what he was saying. He asked me if I would be willing to go to a friend's house and listen to what they had to say pertaining to salvation. I agreed. So we went to the home of Joe's friends and the mother of the girl that lead Joe to the Lord, showed me in God's Word, scripture by scripture, what Christ had done for me. The puzzle of life and spiritual things all fell into place and I saw for the first time my need of salvation. I received Christ as my Savior that very afternoon. Joe and I were married later that summer. He as commissioned into the Air Force and we moved to California.
Due to the move and being in a new place for the first time and not really aware of what to look for in a church, we did not get involved in any church until three years later when God dealt with our hearts and we submitted to baptism. We then joined a fundamental, independent Baptist church. While we served the Lord there in the local church, God called my husband into full-time Christian service. At Faith Baptist Bible College, God spoke to us about serving Him in France.
Our sons. Joe III was born in 1967 and Will the following year. Both our boys lived in France; Joe from 1981-1985 and Will from 1981-1988 and both served in the military. The Lord has blessed us with eight grandchildren.
Our ministry in Fréjus, France. The work began with Wilber and Edna Barnes primarily as a gospel outreach to the Moslem world. When we arrived in October 1981, the work counted one baptized believer, several people attending the weekly service, and a number of children in weekday Bible classes. The Barnes retired and left the field in the summer of 1984. Since that time, several dozen people made professions of faith in the lord Jesus Christ and about half that number received believer's baptism. One great and ever-present need in France is consecrated French Christians willing to faithfully serve their Lord. A bimonthly service in English, which began in 1992, was discontinued at the end of 1995 in effort to spend more time in the French outreach.
Our goal was to evangelize the lost and train in the faith those who accepted Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. We were trusting the promise that Lord would build His church. Our outreach included both French and English, young and old, without regard to race, color, creed or religion and involved personal and group efforts and activities. For printed materials, we used gospel tracts, booklets and calendars and New Testaments and Bibles and visual materials such as films and video cassettes. Our ministry was accomplished by personal one-on-one visits in homes and mass distribution of literature to mail boxes and automobiles. Included also in our outreach, as the situation dictated, was special meetings and church outings, home and church Bible studies, door-to-door efforts, open air meetings, Bible exposition and Bible correspondence courses.