Posted on October 24, 2023 Lois Bottemiller, ABFMS DR Congo alumna called home
Lois Bottemiller, ABFMS DR Congo alumna

Lois Virginia Currie Bottemiller, American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS) alumna, passed away at the age of 95, on October 14, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Lois was born on May 20, 1928 in Phoenix, Arizona to Alvin and Helen Currie. From the beginning she was raised in a Christian atmosphere and accepted Christ at the age of 11 after realizing her need for Him in her life. The family was close-knit and Lois’s two brothers, along with her parents, were very active in the work of the church. Lois took an active role in her church as teacher, church pianist and organist and faithful member. After high school graduation, she worked as a secretary.

On February 14, 1949, Lois married Gordon Bottemiller.  Realizing his call to service of God and agreeing to go wherever that service may lead, Lois and Gordon moved to California where Gordon enrolled in seminary at Berkeley Baptist Divinity School and became a pastor. In 1954 Gordon became the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Morenci, Arizona.

The call to missionary service was strong and Lois and Gordon applied for an appointment with the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (ABFMS), now known as International Ministries (IM). Lois and Gordon were appointed by the Board of International Ministries on January 15, 1957 to serve in Congo. After intensive courses on Africa they began French language study before sailing for the Congo. The Bottemiller family, including three children, Sandra, Cynthia and Terry, sailed on March 19, 1958 for Belgium where they continued studying French. In 1959, the family arrived in Congo. They settled at Nsona Mpangu where both Lois and Gordon taught in the secondary school. In July of 1960, just three weeks after the birth of their son, Gregory, in Kimpese, the Bottemiller family along with other missionaries were evacuated, because of the strife in The Congo in connection with granting independence.  The family settled in Phoenix, Arizona where they did deputation work and then Gordon accepted the pastorate of the Maryvale Baptist Church.

In 1963, Lois and Gordon were reinstated as missionaries and the family returned to The Congo. Stationed at Kikongo, Lois taught first year English, conducted the choir at the Pastors’ school, directed the school for the wives of students in the Pastors’ School, and she also taught several missionary second and third graders. Gordon directed the junior high school and taught in the Pastors’ School.

From 1971-1977, and again from 1980 to 1987, Lois and Gordon dedicated themselves to being houseparents in Kinshasa.  Caring for children of missionaries who worked in remote areas, they provided a loving and caring family environment. Both Lois and Gordon were very active in the International Protestant Church of Kinshasa where Lois provided music for the church choir.

Lois and Gordon served again in Kikongo from 1978 to 1980. Their final missionary term, 1988 to 1991, was spent teaching at the Bible Institute and Women’s School in Kimpese, concluding their 30 years of service as missionaries in the Congo.

As Lois and Gordon reflected upon their long and distinguished career, they wrote, “Yes, joy is present in our departure because we feel with John, as he wrote in his first letter, that our joy could not be complete if we had not come to share the wonderful news of God’s great love for all humanity.”

Lois and Gordon settled in Scottsdale, Arizona where they became members of the First Baptist Church of Scottsdale. Lois, along with Gordon, was very involved in the church’s early childhood program for 19 years, helping to raise the youngest in the congregation.  Lois also stayed actively involved in various White Cross circles, continuing to support several IM missionaries and their special projects.  In 2007, they moved to The Terraces, a retirement community, in Phoenix, Arizona. After moving to The Terraces, Lois continued her love of the piano by often playing for their Sunday afternoon services, as well as providing music for various special services.  Gordon passed away on April 10, 2022.

Lois is survived by her children: Sandra, Cynthia, Terry, Gregory (Phyllis); 2 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and 1 great, great grandchild.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday November 4, 2023 at 1:00pm at First Baptist Church Scottsdale, 7025 E Osborn Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.  All who would like to attend are welcome.