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Bunny Fish

Missionary to Kenya
"Speaking to the Hearts of Kenyans"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2012

Before leaving for Kenya in 1944, Burnette (Bunny) Fish, and her husband, Gerald (Jerry), attended the Kentucky State Prayer Band Convention. There, she heard a song with the words: “Coming, coming, yes, they are coming from the lands afar.”

Seven years later, Bunny reflected on this statement in a 1949 Call to Prayer article. “We often think of going to the people to take the gospel to them…but there are also times when they come to us, placing themselves in the position of recipients of the gospel.”

Bunny found this out as she was ministering to a Kipsigis woman who had never heard of Jesus. Bunny explained to the woman that the Savior was alive and knew everyone’s hearts, along with our burdens. Then Bunny asked if the woman’s heart was “happy.” The woman emphatically replied in the negative. She had seen three of her children die, and dissatisfaction and pain had settled in this woman’s heart. Bunny further explained what Jesus could do in any heart that was open to Him. The woman interrupted and exclaimed: “I want Him! Oh, I want Him!”

For 37 years, Bunny and Jerry ministered in Kenya to the Kipsigis people. After mastering the Kipsigis language, she taught at the adjoining Tenwek school. Later, she worked on translating the Bible and hymnbooks into Kipsigis.

In 1959, Jerry and Bunny co-founded Kenya Highlands Bible College, which continues to train men and women to go into missions or pastoral ministry today. Bunny served as a teacher and then as the principal of the institution.

In her home, Bunny served as a hostess for both Kenyans and missionaries alike. She also taught the Kipsigis language to new missionaries. These Kipsigis conversations were so frequent that their son, Kenton’s, first language was not English.

Later, Jerry and Bunny worked together to plant a church with the Africa Gospel Church in the city of Kericho. They also managed the Bethany Bookshop in Nakuru and Kitale. After helping to plant another church in Nairobi, the couple retired from missionary work in 1980 after 37 years of service. After Jerry passed away on April 30, 2008, Bunny resided in an assisted living center in Sacramento, California.

Bunny was a three-time published author, a conscientious translator, and an excellent preacher of the Word. Above all else, Bunny lived so that other people could see the Lord. After she shared the gospel with that Kipsigis woman in Kenya, she wrote, “We cannot be sure just how much she understood, but the Father who sent His Son to lift her load knows.”

World Gospel Mission joins with Bunny’s family and friends from around the world in celebrating her entry into heaven. “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). Bunny truly fixed her eyes on the eternal, and we rejoice that she is in God’s presence today.

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