Year Joined MKLM: 2018
Focus: Missioner Development, Education
Project: Area Director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan. Part-time teacher
Steve primarily serves as area director of missioners in Tanzania, Kenya and South Sudan. He helps match new missioners with communities where they work, supports them with transitions into and out of mission and deals with administrative tasks.
In 2020, he started to learn Tanzanian Sign Language from a friend of who is deaf. In 2021, he started teaching deaf students extra Mathematics classes at Bwiru Boys Technical School in Mwanza.
Steve’s goal as area director is for missioners to accompany the communities that host them to build capacity, offer their skills to meet needs in the community, and to share the dignity of those they work with, including participating in advocacy for systemic change. He also appreciates the transformative nature of the mission experience and appreciates and promotes the many ways missioners continue their mission vocation following their experience with Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
Steve’s goal as a part-time teacher is to help provide deaf students a chance to review, discuss in sign, and understand math topics in order improve their rates of academic success and to gain valuable practical skills. His hope is for deaf students to be appreciated as differently abled in the community and to live lives of dignity. He’s also looking to collaborate with the limited number of math and science teachers in the country to continue to develop and share technical vocabulary for Tanzanian Sign Language.
Steve is from the Detroit area of Michigan and first came to Tanzania as a teacher in the U.S. Peace Corps in 2004. Mwanza is called “Rock City” (for the beautiful granite formations dotting the area), and Lake Victoria is one of the “Great Lakes” of Africa. Steve likes to say that he came from Rock City-USA to Rock City-Tanzania and from the Great Lakes of Michigan to the Great Lakes of East Africa.
Before he started as Regional Director with Maryknoll Lay Missioners in 2018, he managed public health and rural livelihood development programs for small and large international nonprofit organizations in Tanzania and elsewhere in East Africa, including South Sudan. Steve holds a bachelor’s of science degree in engineering from Purdue University and a masters of science in management from the School for International Training in Vermont. He continues lifelong learning through coursework in human resources, finance, management, positive psychology and writing.
Steve met his wife, Loyce Veryser, when they were teaching at neighboring schools in Mwanza in 2004. They are the proud parents of Abigail, Justin and Claire. Steve and Loyce say they can hardly believe how quickly their children are growing to the age of the students they teach in class. Some of Steve’s early experiences in service and leadership were with the Purdue student chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Through the Newman Center at Purdue, he joined a service-learning trip to Nicaragua, and says, he’s “been hooked [on mission] ever since!”