Zach and Kris Schoening were married July 22, 2000. His birthday is the 21st. Kris was his best birthday present ever. Beginning in December 2003, they served as pastors in Lonepine for 4 years. He now serves as a Chaplain for Kaiser Permanente’s Hospice program. He also is a Chaplain in the US Navy Reserves. They have three children: David (February 2004), Jonathan (March 2008) – and 8 years later – little Hannah, born November 2016.
Kris’ family had moved to Westminster so that her sister could walk safely to school. A neighbor invited her Mom, Alice, to a Ladies’ Bible Study – and that was the beginning of their journey with WCA. Kris was 3½ when she and her family came to WCA in 1976.
The garage of the Belty House, which is behind our church property. was where they held children’s church when Kris’ family started attending WCA. And it was there that Kris became a follower of Jesus Christ – when she was 4½ years old. That moment is still vivid in her mind, and even the wooden chair she had been sitting on.
Zach grew up in a Christian home. He admits that he experienced a rebellious streak, but at the age of 18 he sealed his relationship with Christ. While serving as a helper with the Garden Grove church’s youth program, he felt the definite call to ministry.
When he was about 21 Zach came to WCA, although already in college, to support his parents. When he came Kris was the Young Adult leader. She was just friendly. He found he never got tired of being with her, and he says he’s never felt different about that. She liked his walk and his talk.
Her Mom had told her to go and invite Zach and his brother to Young Adults. Her approach was, “Now that all the girls are done talking with you my Mom told me to come and invite you to the young adults.” At first, he wasn’t sure who she was. But he observed that she had a sincere heart in the ministry to the young adults. She found he could look up to him spiritually. He walked the talk. She had her boyfriend, who was in New York going to Med School, so all was good. So, they became good friends. They had a passion to serve the Lord together – as friends.
Kris enjoyed doing ministry with kids, youth and young adults. When Pastor Ted was visiting from Greece, he prayed for her as to how the Lord can use her. She felt the call of God to ministry at that moment. The first person she wanted to tell – Zach! She knew he would be excited for her! And he was genuinely happy for her.
When she told her boyfriend, he did not respond positively. She knew then she did not want to continue in that relationship, and asked God to have him break up with her. He did, and the first person she called was Zach. And she told him the next person she dates she is going to marry, or become a Nun.
She did beginning to have feelings for him, but she prayed, “God I don’t want to like this guy. It will mess things up.” Well, we can see it did not. What’s fun, is after a date they were sitting in the church parking lot talking late in the evening. And it was then they knew that had strong feelings for each other. Their story is that the other kissed first.
One Winter Youth Camp they were to take the youth, and he broke up with her just before they left to take youth to camp. Can you believe it? She still went to help. And we are thankful today that the breakup only lasted 4 hours, because what a joy to have them and their family as a part of the WCA family.
And, of course, there is more to their story…