Thank you for allowing us to introduce ourselves! We are humbly grateful to have a story to tell you of how God has invited us into some of His global work.
We are both originally from southern Indiana. Bob became a follower of Jesus in 2000, through the influence of a godly friend and mentor. His first taste of global missions was in 2005; he joined his church on a trip to Ethiopia where God moved his heart for the orphaned and impoverished. He has worked professionally in graphic design and advertising for over 25 years.
Mary was raised in the church but began walking with Jesus also around 2000. Her first international trip was to India in 2002, where she lived and worked among orphans and “untouchables”. As a Physician Assistant, she has practiced medicine for 16 years, predominantly in the ER.
We married in 2006 and have six children: three biological and three adopted from Ethiopia in 2012. Our children range in age from 4 to 21! Over the years our family has served collectively or individually in 12 nations across 5 continents. We’ve joined Jesus to serve in everything from orphan care to Bible distribution, developing world obstetrics to disaster relief field hospital, sports camps to construction projects. God is at work everywhere in every way!
Since 2016 we have been serving with SIM through the ministry Sports Friends. This ministry exists to equip local churches in strategically reaching their communities through the highly-effective and barrier-breaking invitation to play organized sport! Over 20 years, Sports Friends has grown to partner with 11,600 churches in 18 nations. Over 13,200 national men and women passionate to reach the youth in their communities have been trained and currently disciple more than 294,000 young people in the character and ways of God. Over 450 new churches have developed in places there was previously no Christian witness, because communities welcome coaches who love Jesus, though they’ve driven out pastors! In recent years we’ve also begun initiatives in refugee communities, and have seen God move mightily as He extends hospitality, hope, and FUN to displaced youth through godly coaches who care for them.
We personally serve as international support staff based out of Fort Mill, SC. Bob meets design, media, communications and production needs for teams in all the field locations. Mary serves as writer and editor for blogs, campaigns, team material, and prayer mobilization. We help provide ongoing training and Bible curriculum that can be reproduced in different languages and resource settings. A favorite part of our job is connecting supporting nations with field locations: telling the story of what God is doing, cultivating faith, thanks, and praise, encouraging donors in the fruitfulness of their gifts, and inspiring people to join God’s work around the world!
Our work is shifting a bit this year. Bob continues full time work with Sports Friends, but Mary is now in full time graduate studies in Psychology. We have clearly seen the impact of trauma and emotional suffering not only of the general population who endure crises, but especially among those serving them! Missionaries and ministers, healthcare workers, foster/adoptive families, and other front-line servants of God desperately need healing and help in order to carry on their work. Future workers also need preparation in trauma-informed care and personal resilience in order to stay well and make work both sustainable and holistic.
We need more partners so that we can continue this work God has called us into! The demands are great, our vision is bigger than what we can do by ourselves, and the One who calls us is faithful. Would you ask Him if you should join us? We need people to pray for us and bless our work, to encourage us through the obstacles that arise. We need the finances to press forward in obedience. You need God to show you how to effectively fulfill your role in the Great Commission, and the encouragement of connection to how He’s moving in critical situations! The nightly news is dark, but Jesus is overcoming the darkness because He, the Light-of-the-World and God-with-us, is right there in the midst of it! Let’s work together to bring the knowledge of His Kingdom in every nation, and in our own hearts and minds.
God bless you in every way!
because He’s worthy,
Bob & Mary Fichtinger