Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our humble loving Savior

The kids after their Christmas program at church.
This Christmas we have spent much time reflecting on the love and humility of Jesus to leave the rich perfection of heaven to come to earth and be born in a stable. He did this because He loves us enough to be willing to live on this sinful, broken earth among us, sinful, broken people. Jesus leaving heaven for us, sheds new light on Him calling us to leave our comfortable home and move to Uganda. Our "sacrifice" seems so little in light of His.
The Christmas carols that I have loved for so many years are now meaningful in a new way. As I think of the "tidings of comfort and joy," I am reminded that comfort and joy comes from remembering that "Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day, to save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray." That is true comfort and joy! The short term comforts and joys of consistent electricity, of the conveniences of America and even of being near to family and friends, cannot bring the lasting comfort and joy that we can have in Jesus.
For many years we have sung, "Thou who wast rich beyond all splendor, all for love's sake becamest poor." Now we are planning to move from one of the wealthiest countries in the world to one of the poorer countries, by human standards. While there will be some material sacrifices involved, it will be nothing in comparison the the sacrifice Jesus made, leaving the riches of heaven to come to earth as a man and die for us. Phillipians 2:5-11 says, "Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11 ESV)
It is my hope that this Christmas we all will remember the amazing love we have received through Jesus and will humbly serve others and follow wherever our Lord leads us in joy!
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Good times with the Gwartneys

One of the families from Good Shepherd's Fold is on furlough right now. The Gwartney family was passing through Georgia, and we were so thankful to be able to spend Friday evening and Saturday morning together. David and I had the opportunity to get to know them when we were in Uganda last March/April, but our children had not yet met them. Our kids really enjoyed their company, and now they know friends who will be in Uganda when we move! Elijah, Ezra and Titus particularly enjoyed discussing the speed of cheetahs and peregrine falcons. With Ezra demonstrating, of course. I am so thankful for a wonderfully encouraging time together. We are so blessed to be joining their family this summer!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Home Improvement Serendipity

Since it is our plan to rent our Georgia home while we are in Uganda, we are fixing some things around the house. We are currently working on the kids' bathroom. We hope that by spacing these projects out over the next 6 months, we will avoid all the stress and financial strain of doing it all last minute. Anyway, while we were in Lowe's Home Improvement Store, a woman who I had never met before walked up up to me. She told me that she has been reading our blog and praying for our family. I nearly began crying in the hardware department. It was so encouraging to know that a sister in Christ who doesn't even know me is lifting our family in prayer. What a blessing! I am so thankful that our gracious Lord brought us together yesterday! And just for fun, here is a picture of our bathroom in progress. I really like the new tile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Security and Hope

Since we have been clearing out and giving away many things we don't use, each of our children have a been processing this a little differently. Elijah (age 8) can understand the logic for downsizing. He will say things like, "I only wear these 5 shirts anyway." Esther(age 6) loves to give things to other people. If she can think of someone who would like it, she wants to give it. Zeke(age 2) is probably too young to notice. But Ezra (age 4) has been a bit concerned. When we were giving away a bag of clothes he said, "But what if I run out of clothes." My first response is to think about how absurd that is since we have so many. But I also realized that we all often find security in "things." We started talking with Ezra about trusting in God's provision for us rather than trusting in our extra stuff. We talked about how God has provided for us in the past. It was good for me also to remember to trust in God's provision. A passage that I often read is Matthew 6. Here are some verses that have been good for me to remember and to help Ezra remember too:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:19-21, 24-33 ESV)
I have also had this hymn in my mind since my conversation with Ezra, so I will share a few of the words here. "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand."

Friday, December 7, 2012

Thanksgiving thoughts- a little late

During the holidays this year, I have had several thoughts about our family preparing for our move to Uganda. Thanksgiving has a new meaning after having experienced life in Uganda, even though we were only there for 10 days. As we thought of the many things we have for which to be thankful, it was interesting to think about the many things that we just expect, which we might not have next Thanksgiving. I have never thought to be thankful that we have electricity because, other than during a few tropical storms or snowstorms, I have not had to go without it much. I have not been thankful for clean water because I never experienced the challenges of living without it. But I also began to think of the things that I have which cannot ever be taken away. I am thankful that "nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom.8:39   My loving Lord will be caring for my family wherever we are. On a silly side note, I was wondering if we would be able to eat turkey for thanksgiving in Uganda and I found this crazy photo. I think the preparation of the meal will be a bit different than what I am used to! (This picture is from Claudia Arrango. She is has been serving at Good Shepherd's Fold for 14 years.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A full October

This past month has been a full and wonderful month. This was my (Lisa's) last month of coaching volleyball at Westminster, we hosted a Ugandan evening at Westminster to share with the families there, met with many other families in our church (Faith Pres) and still made time to play in leaves and carve pumpkins and enjoy fall in Georgia. It has been a wonderful month and we feel so blessed to share this season with many dear friends.

We also received our monthly financial update from Global Outreach last week. We now have 40% of our one-time need in our account and 34% of our monthly need either pledged or already coming in. We are so thankful and feel very blessed by all of our support team! Please pray with us, specifically for the remaining 66% of our monthly need. If you know an individual, family or church who might be interested in joining our support team, please let us know. We enjoy sharing with others about the work God is calling us to do. You can also watch our video for an overview of our ministry.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2 minutes from the Warfield family

This brief video is from the Warfield family sharing about their need for teachers for their kids. This is one of the families whose children we will be teaching next school year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our updated video

Here is a new video about our plans to move to Uganda next summer. Special thanks to Harvey Kirkpatrick for putting this together! We are so blessed to have you as a brother, friend, and neighbor!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Friday night

Some GSF kids during worship

For those of you in the Watkinsville/Athens area, we would like to invite you to Westminster Christian Academy on Friday, October 26 at 6:30pm. We will have food, information about our ministry and activities for kids. We will also have Ugandan jewelry and books for sale. We hope you can join us for a fun evening! For those of you who cannot join us, please pray for the evening. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Newest baby at GSF

Here are some photos of Godfrey. He is about a week old and is the newest addition at Good Shepherd's Fold.

Friday, October 5, 2012


We just received our end of the month statement from Global Outreach about our support, and we were SO ENCOURAGED! We are now at 28% of our one-time need! Monthly support is a tricky thing... We do not know which gifts are intended to be ongoing monthly, annual or one-time support unless we or Global Outreach receives a commitment card or monthly EFT form, or if you just tell us. So as far as we know, we are still around 23% of our monthly need. We are SO THANKFUL for all of the new support that we received this month! We are still looking for about 145 more families/individuals to join our monthly support team at $10, $25, $50, $75, $100, $150 or $200. Any amount of support will be greatly appreciated! And again, THANK YOU to all of you who have already joined our support team! To celebrate, here's a photo of some happy kids at GSF!

Video about Good Shepherd's Fold

This excellent 5 minute video was made by a family who adopted from Good Shepherds Fold a few years ago. A few details are out of date, but in general this video gives a great picture of the work there. The one comment I want to add, is that the missionaries at GSF are working to make the ministry more self-sustaining through the farm, but they are still currently dependent upon the support raised through the missionaries who serve there and the child-sponsorship program.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Video of the GSF Babies Home

Here is a video tour of the babies' home at Good Shepherd's Fold. It is one of the newest, nicest buildings on campus. Cassia is the missionary who is overseeing this ministry. She also introduces you to some of the beautiful babies who are being cared for there. Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Trusting God with our health

As many of you know, Zeke had a pretty bad episode of wheezing that continued on and off for almost 2 weeks. He seems much better now, but this recent illness brought up my concerns for my children's health, particularly when we move to Uganda. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love my children dearly! Since the beginning of this process of sensing God's call to minister to missionary kids and orphaned children in Uganda, I have been wanting to make sure that we are also caring for the needs of our own children. Zeke's recent sickness brought up many of my fears and concerns, and probably did the same for some of you. I have recently spent much time praying about and thinking through these issues, so I thought I would share with you some of my recent thoughts on the matter. I will include some of the practical details as well as some Biblical perspective.

First, I am very thankful that God has provided us with many resources to address the health concerns that might arise. We have several friends who are doctors and nurses who will help to equip us in preparation for leaving and who will be resources for us via phone and email if necessary. God has also provided some amazing connections with our current health care providers. Our pediatrician and his family spent a month in Kenya last year while he was practicing medicine there. (For those of you who aren't familiar with African geography, Kenya shares a border with Uganda. See map) He has been helping and will continue to help us with the appropriate preventative medicine as we prepare to go. Also, last week I went to a dermatologist and, by the providence of God, she practiced medicine in Uganda for 3 months. During my visit she helped equip me with ideas about dermatological issues in Uganda and how to address them.

In addition to our stateside resources, there will be resources available to us in Africa. At Good Shepherd's Fold, there will probably be 2 nurses who will live at GSF and serve there. In the town of Jinja, which is about 30 minutes away, there are doctors, medical clinics, pharmacies and the "largest hospital in eastern Uganda." ;) If a medical problem arises that cannot be resolved in Jinja, we can go to Kampala which is about 2-3 hours away. This is the capital city which has more resources available. Recently, another Global Outreach missionary who lives in Uganda had a heart condition which could not be resolved even in Kampala. The health insurance, which we will also have, paid for an emergency medical evacuation to Johannesburg, South Africa. From what we have heard, medical care in South Africa is as good as what we would receive in the states. For that particular missionary, the problem was resolved there. We are thankful that our sending agency, Global Outreach, has this health insurance policy available for us.

While we want to be responsible and wise as we prepare, our greatest comfort should not be in good medicine, but in our loving, sovereign, compassionate Savior. Romans 8:31-32 says, "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all  things?" And Matthew 7:9-11 says, "Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" Earlier in the Sermon on the Mount (in Matthew 6) Jesus said, "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?'  (or 'Where shall we get medical care?') or 'What shall we wear?'32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

 While we cannot guarantee that we will always have the best medical care, I am certain that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and our children, even more than we love them. And He is working for our good, for your good, and for the good of His kingdom by calling us to serve Him in Uganda. Sometimes things don't seem "good" to us at the time (like Zeke's wheezing), but our loving and gracious Lord, who loved us so much that He would sacrifice his own Son, has promised that He is working for our good. (Rom.8:28). Jesus is the "Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep."(John 10:11) But he also has "other sheep that are not of this fold. (He) must bring them also."

While we strive to be wise and responsible in caring for our children, who we love so dearly, we also want to trust in God's loving care for them. In addition, we want for ourselves and our children to have God's heart for the world and to "seek first His kingdom." We love the name of the ministry where God has called us to serve, "Good Shepherd's Fold," because it reminds us that our compassionate Lord is the Good Shepherd for us, for our children and for the orphaned children of Uganda.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My only true comfort

I have been thinking about comfort lately. I often find comfort in food that I enjoy, in rest in a comfortable bed, and in relationships. I have realized that some of my anxiety related to moving to Uganda, has to do with not having many of the comforts that I have here in America. But these things do not actually provide TRUE comfort. This morning I have been thinking about a catechism question from the Heidelberg Catechism. Here it is:

What is my only comfort in life and in death?

That I am not my own, but belong- body and soul, in life and in death- to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head apart from the will of my Father in heaven. In fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Here are some more photos of kids at Good Shepherd's Fold. I got these photos from some facebook posts from people who are currently serving there.

Whether we are in Uganda or in the US, I can rest assured that I belong to God and He is watching over me, my family and His children at Good Shepherd's Fold.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Encouraging Support Update

We have recently received encouraging news of several people who have committed to monthly support for our ministry! We are very thankful! We are grateful to now have over 10% of our monthly support coming in already!

Since our departure date is 10-11 months away, several people have asked when they should start sending in monthly support. If you feel led to financially support the work God has called us to do, we would like to ask you to consider beginning your financial support now. Any gifts received before we leave will go toward our significant one-time expenses. We are raising support to build additional missionary housing at Good Shepherd's Fold Orphanage, purchase a vehicle, and move our family to Uganda. If we had all of our monthly support coming in over these next 10 months, these one-time expenses could be covered! So please pray about whether you are able to begin supporting this work that God is doing at GSF as He sends us to be support staff teaching the missionary kids there. We are praying that God will provide 150 more people/families to join our monthly support team. If you have any questions or would like to hear more about this work, we would love to meet with you sometime soon!

Below is a photo of one of the cute kids living at Good Shepherd's Fold.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


An early college visit. :) Actually we met with people in admissions about how to help the missionary kids we will be teaching to get ready for the college admissions process.
Elijah in the butterfly garden at TN Aquarium
At the end of July and the first few days of August our family went to Chattanooga, TN to share our calling with friends there, hopefully raise support, and have some family fun before the start of the school year. We met with friends from St. Elmo Presbyterian, Covenant College and Signal Mountain Christian School. It was great to catch up with everyone! Some friends also generously shared passes to take us to the Creative Discovery Museum and the Tennessee Aquarium. Also, special thanks to Rob and Petrina McGarvey who let us use their home for a week! Here are some photos of our family enjoying the time in Chattanooga.
Ezra wanted to spend the whole day digging for dinosaur bones at the Creative Discovery Museum
Our kids "bee"ing nice at the Creative Discovery Museum.
Something is fishy here.
Our kids loved the penguins at the TN Aquarium! One even followed Elijah around.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Support update

Many people have recently asked how the support raising is going, so I thought I would add a brief update. It is very encouraging to meet with people and share about the work God is calling us to do. We have had many people tell us that they plan to support our ministry and have offered many words of encouragement. What we have heard from other missionaries is that it often takes a few months for the funds to actually come in for various reasons. So right now, the support and commitment cards that have actually been received and processed at Global Outreach are a very small percentage of our needed support. I think we are currently at something like 5% of our needed monthly support and 2% of our one time need. We believe that several other funds are in process, either not yet sent, or in the mail, since several other people mentioned wanting to support us.
I think that living in a culture with fast-food, fast-internet service, and fast cars has gotten us used to everything happening fast. We are preparing to move to a culture where everything moves more slowly, so this support raising process is good preparation for us. As one of our financial partners in this ministry just reminded me, when God calls us to do something, He provides the means to do it! Please pray for us as we grow in trusting our Lord.

As I was writing about not having fast-food in Uganda, I remembered that there is a Ugandan drive-through. It is the roadside markets. You drive up and everyone runs up to your vehicle and shoves their produce into your windows in order to get you to buy it. It is very convenient, and they sell the most delicious bananas ever, but it can be a bit overwhelming if you aren't used to that kind of service.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Update letter

Here is a letter we recently sent to many of you about our plans:

Many of you know that in March we went on a short term trip to Uganda. We are excited that God is calling us to participate in the advancement of His kingdom through working at an orphanage there called Good Shepherd’s Fold. Our primary role there will be teaching the missionary kids in order to free their parents to run the children’s home and Ugandan school. It is our hope to go in July of 2013.
            In retrospect, we can see that God has been preparing us for this work for many years although we have only been aware of this direction over the last six months or so. If you would like to read more about how God has led us recently, you can go to our blog at: schooloffishinafrica.blogspot.com
            Over these past few months we have been thinking about how God has called many missionaries to serve overseas, but the education of their children is often a stumbling block. With the variety of educational experience God has given us, we feel well equipped to help parents on the mission field in the education of their children. Early this year God brought to our attention the need for teachers at Good Shepherd’s Fold. The three families who are overseeing the orphanage and school at GSF have nine children who need an American education.
            We are very excited about being support staff to assist in the work God is doing at Good Shepherd’s Fold. In Uganda there are nearly 3 million orphans, in addition to many abandoned children with special needs. Because of the devastating poverty in Uganda, the local community is unable to care for the needs of these children on their own. Good Shepherd’s Fold is partnering with the Ugandan community to assist in caring for, educating, and discipling the “least of these.” This ministry is meeting the needs of the fatherless and making disciples who will then go and teach others. (James 1:27, Matthew 28:19-20 & II Timothy 2:2)
            Our whole family is excited about this aspect of our ministry. Our three oldest children have all expressed a desire to serve the Lord at GSF by ministering to the children there. Zeke is too young to communicate that, but I’m sure he feels the same way. J It has been a blessing to see how God has been working in all of our hearts as we seek to follow His leading.
            We are excited about this new direction and are trusting in the Lord as He leads us one step at a time. Please pray for us in this upcoming year of preparation and transition. We would love to meet those of you who are nearby to show you more pictures from our trip and share with you more about this exciting ministry. Please contact us with any questions and with information about how we can be praying for you.
For His Kingdom,

David and Lisa Fish

Friday, July 13, 2012

Letter of introduction from Global Outreach

 Dear Christian Friends:

We are happy to announce that David and Lisa Fish have joined Global Outreach International as missionaries to Uganda.  We are excited that God has led the Fishes to serve as members of the Global Outreach International missionary family.  If you know David and Lisa, you know their heart for the Lord and that they are committed to service. We are confident at Global Outreach that God will do a mighty work in and through the Fish family as we pray for them and support their ministry.

Let me take this opportunity to encourage your financial support for the Fish family through Global Outreach International. One hundred percent of your gifts will go to the support of their ministry; nothing will be deducted for administrative costs. Global Outreach International is an approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization under the United States Internal Revenue Code.  Therefore, all gifts are tax-deductible.  Please make your gifts payable to Global Outreach International and include a note indicating the gift is for David and Lisa Fish.  Any monthly gifts received before the Fish family leaves for the field will help cover their significant one time expenses, so please consider beginning your support now.  On our website you will find a form for monthly support using electronic funds transfer, which is a simple and effective way to consistently contribute to the work God is doing through David and Lisa. You will receive a quarterly record of your contributions.  Each month the Fishes will also receive notice of your gifts, and will acknowledge those gifts, keeping you informed regarding their ministry.

If you have any questions about the Fishes’ ministry or about Global Outreach International, please call or write.  We invite you to send us your e-mail address to receive the GO News, our periodical report on Global Outreach missionaries.  GO News shares information about the Global Outreach family around the world.  You may also visit our website at www.globaloutreach.org for more information.  Should you at any time desire to discontinue giving, please notify us at Global Outreach International, P.O. Box 1, Tupelo, Mississippi 38802, or call 662-842-4615. 

May the Lord bless you as you partner with David and Lisa and with Global Outreach International as we seek to “declare His glory among the Nations.”

Sincerely in Christ,

Sammy Simpson
Chief Executive Officer
Global Outreach International, Inc.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Compassionate God

I am reading this book and came across a quote that I really wanted to share. So here you go:
"God is a compassionate God. That is the good news brought to us in and through Jesus Christ. He is God-with-us, who finds nothing human alien and who lives in solidarity with us. He is a servant- God who washes our feet and heals our wounds, and he is an obedient God who listens and responds to his divine Father with unlimited love. In fellowship with Jesus Christ, we are called to be compassionate as our Father is compassionate. In and through him, it becomes possible to be effective witnesses to God's compassion and to be a sign of hope in the midst of a despairing world."
Here is a photo of Caralina helping at the weekly outreach to the people from the local villages. They come for medical care and food for children in need. In Uganda, 1 out of every 4 households is caring for at least one orphan. In a country with an average annual income of $450, caring for additional children can be a significant burden, particularly if they have any special needs. This program assists with providing food and medical care for some children so that they can be raised by family.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

David's interview with Solomon a GSF graduate

While we were in Uganda, David interviewed Solomon Jeromo, a young man who grew up at Good Shepherd's Fold Children's Home and is now preparing to go to University to study to be a teacher. We really enjoyed getting to know him during our time at GSF. He helped lead the worship service and we observed as he taught a class on poultry. He is a great example of the work God is doing through GSF to raise a generation who can make a difference in Uganda. Another GSF graduate has recently started her own babies home. She was getting married right around the time of our visit so we did not have the opportunity to meet her. It is beautiful to see the II Timothy 2:2 principle in action, "The things you have heard and received from me, teach to reliable people who will be able to teach others." I have been thinking about how the needs in Uganda are so overwhelming with millions of orphans, but if the children who grow up at GSF continue to minister to others after they graduate, God can use them to make a difference in Uganda and the world!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kisses from Katie

I just finished reading this book and it was very encouraging! God has used Katie Davis to demonstrate his gracious love to many people. She is a 22 year old who is in the process of adopting 13 Ugandan orphans, and she also has a school sponsorship program and feeding program for many more children. Katie's ministry is located very close to Good Shepherd's Fold. In a country with nearly 3 million orphans and rampant poverty the need is HUGE. It is a blessing that God is working through many different people and ministries to build His kingdom and bring healing in Uganda. I would encourage you all to read this book! And if you prefer to listen, there is an audiobook version available also. Here is a link to a description of the book on the Amazima ministries website:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We're official!

Now that we have completed missionary orientation and training and have been approved by Global Outreach, we are on their website! Here's the link:  http://globaloutreach.org/missionaries.html#FishD

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Great week at GlobalOutreach

We had a great week with the Global Outreach staff and other missionary candidates. It is so exciting to hear about how God is at work in the lives of these individuals and throughout the world, building His Kingdom. We particularly enjoyed getting to know three other missionaries who will be serving with us at Good Shepherd's Fold in Uganda. Corrine (center of the photo) is going to GSF to serve as the child sponsorship coordinator. She will connect people in the states with kids at GSF in order to help with school and living expenses. Sharon and Tom (right) are going to GSF to help with coordinating short term teams and maintenance. I hope that you have the opportunity to get to know them through planning a visit to GSF or sponsoring a child there or both. :) We had some really great times together, particularly praying together. We pray that God will bring our team together being "one in spirit and in purpose." Our time together at MOT was a great start.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ezra's heart

  As we were eating breakfast this morning Ezra made a comment that was so precious that I had to share it. Out of the blue, in the middle of a bowl of cereal, Ezra says, "Do you know how I feel about kids whose parents have died? I want us to take care of them 'cause they will be sad if we don't take care of them." Thank you, God, for giving my boy a tender heart and a desire to care for orphans! I am so thankful that God is growing our whole family as we follow his call on our lives.
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Friday, May 25, 2012

Good Shepherd's Fold Group Photo

Here is a group photo from Good Shepherd's Fold from 2011. This was taken before we visited, but I thought it might be helpful for you all to see the many lives impacted through this ministry.

Mercy and Compassion

I have just begun reading Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life, by Donald McNeill, Douglas Morrison, and Henry Nouwen. In the introduction they quote Luke 6:36- "Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate." Many translations interpret this word, "merciful" but there is much similarity. I am excited to read this book, because it begins with reminding us of our "compassionate God who is revealed to us in Jesus Christ, because God's own compassion constitutes the basis and source of our compassion." The reason we want to go to Uganda to live compassionate lives among the orphaned and abandoned children at Good Shepherd's Fold, is because we have received much mercy, love and compassion from our Heavenly Father and we want to pass that on to these children.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Confirmation of Calling

After many months of uncertainty regarding God’s leading, we have accepted an invitation to join the team at Good Shepherd’s Fold in Uganda. This seems like such a pivotal point in our lives that I can’t help but recount some of the events and emotions that have led up to this point.  So please bear with me.  This has been a winding path that has included excitement, fear, joy, frustration and, at times, a strong sense of God’s peace.  In some ways this process began about six months ago with a conversation that Lisa and I had while driving.  God had been causing me to reexamine where He was calling us to serve long-term.  The next question in my mind was, “If not this, then what?”  Over the next few weeks God created a desire within me to minister to missionaries by helping them educate their children.  This seemed like a great fit for Lisa and me because God has given us a breadth of experience that could be quite useful to Him in the mission field.  So, I mentioned this idea to Lisa during that car-ride conversation.  It caught her off-guard, to say the least. However, within the span of a week she moved from shock, to curiosity, to excitement.  It was during this week that Lisa reminded me of a comment that I had made nearly a year prior.  Faith Presbyterian was having its annual missions conference and after hearing one of the speakers I said to Lisa, “I could see myself doing something like that.”  The missionary that was speaking was involved in helping the missionaries do their work.  It was the first time that I had realized the need for missionary support staff. 
            As I look back on the process that God has brought us through, I realize that in many ways the path does not go back six months, or even six years.  It seems to me now that God has been preparing us for this ministry opportunity for all of our nearly fifteen years of marriage and even prior to that.  This preparation has included our education at Covenant College as well as our professional development in teaching.  Because we have been teaching at small Christian schools, we have been asked to teach a wide range of subjects over the years.  This was usually a source of frustration for me because of the increased demands on my time, but I can now see how this was helpful in preparing me to teach in a one-room school house scenario.  Lisa’s breadth of experience in teaching math to kids of nearly all ages in addition to other subjects is another example of God’s preparatory work in our lives. 
            The will of God for our lives unfolds day by day and this is requiring more trust and patience than I am used to having.  I am finding that much of my sense of confidence and security were not founded on the goodness and sovereignty of God, but on my own plans and sense of self-sufficiency.  God has been stretching us in the area of security and confidence and this has been somewhat painful.  It has been very encouraging, however, to see Him give us the grace to stretch as far as He has asked. 
            As we began the process of determining where God might be calling us to serve it became clear that there is a great need for teachers of missionary kids. We were told by many missionaries that this is a major issue for families. As we explored various opportunities, none seemed to be the right fit for our family.  It was at this point that we were put into contact with a friend of a friend who was preparing to go to Good Shepherd’s Fold in Uganda.  Following a very encouraging phone conversation, Lisa and I each visited the GSF website and independently felt very interested in the work being done there.  We began praying for Uganda and for the nearly three million orphans that live there.  The need for workers to meet the physical and spiritual needs of these orphans is so obvious and we both began to feel a desire to be a part of that ministry.  This couple that was preparing to join the team at GSF mentioned that having teachers for their children was essential for them to be able to serve long-term at GSF.
After corresponding some with the team in Uganda, we decided to go on a “vision trip” in order to meet the team and see the work and the place. It is hard to describe the experience. The physical needs are immense in a country with so much poverty and so many orphans. In many ways it was heart-breaking, but it was also so exciting and beautiful to see the work that God is doing through GSF. We had the privilege of meeting a young man who grew up at GSF and was back at GSF to teach and help lead worship. He was just one example of how God is using GSF to not only meet the physical needs of the orphans, but also to make disciples who are in turn discipling others (II Tim 2:2).

While we were in Uganda, God gave us both a sense of calling through the sermon which was preached about Matthew 19:16-30. Since we have been home, it seems like every sermon we hear is about God calling us to serve in Uganda. Every Sunday, we have both had a strong sense of confirmation of this calling either through the sermon, the worship songs, or the prayer time. Our individual times of prayer and worship have also led us to believe that this is where God is calling us. We believe that God primarily speaks to his people through his Word. It has been the preaching and reading of the Word that has been so clear in confirming this calling. In addition, in Scripture God frequently commands His people to care for the orphans or fatherless, and to make disciples. “True religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:17) This is only one of many passages in which God reminds us of the grace He has shown to us and tells us to extend that grace to those in need.   Jesus’ last words during His earthly ministry were a command to His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations…”  The ministry of Good Shepherd’s Fold is accomplishing both by discipling the fatherless.  So we are planning to go. While our primary role will not be directly serving the children at GSF, our ministry of educating the missionaries’ children will free them to do the work of GSF. We will also have some opportunities to directly love and disciple the orphans there.
We plan to go through a week of training in early June, with the hopes of raising full support by the following summer (2013). Soon we will begin the process of sharing this calling with others and asking for prayer and financial support. We do not currently know the total cost of this endeavor, but our week of training should be very informative in that way. They do not currently have a house on campus for our family, so we will also be raising support to build a home. We will probably be living in a temporary housing situation until a home is built on campus. This entire process has taught us that we need to trust God with everything. We do not know what tomorrow holds. Matthew 6:32-33 reminds us not to worry even about our basic needs, of what we should eat or drink or wear, because our Heavenly Father knows that we need these things. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you as well.” Please pray for us as we follow God and seek to be a part of the kingdom work He is doing at Good Shepherd’s Fold in Uganda.