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Gerald “Jerry” Fish

Missionary to Kenya
"Reflecting the Father's Love in Kenya"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2008

If a five-month-long journey to Kenya via California, Argentina, and South Africa, complete with ten oxen pulling out his vehicle stuck in a monstrous pothole, didn’t stop Jerry from following God’s call to Kenya, nothing would.

For 37 years, Gerald “Jerry” Fish served his Lord and Savior as a missionary in Kenya, East Africa, along with his wife and teammate, Burnette (Bunny). Even after retirement, Jerry and Bunny returned to Kenya several times to help with the ministry.

Jerry’s story began in the small town of Argos, Indiana. Born in 1917, he was one of nine siblings. Despite receiving little religious teaching as a child, he felt drawn to the church, and he became a believer at the age of 15. While studying at the Chicago Evangelistic Institute, now Vennard College, he completely rededicated his life to serving the Lord. He met Bunny there, and through a God-directed series of events, both were called to serve Him on the mission field, and they were married in 1938.

After two short pastorates, Jerry and Bunny sailed to Africa in 1943 as missionaries with WGM. Soon after, they welcomed their son, Kenton, into their family. Jerry’s heart was for the African church, and he poured himself into building up bodies of believers. Jerry and Bunny founded Kenya Highlands Bible College, and they were instrumental in establishing the Africa Gospel Church, which is now an autonomous, self-supporting denomination. KHBC is a place where leaders of the church are raised up and trained for ministry. Many leaders of the Africa Gospel Church look to Jerry and Bunny as their spiritual parents.

Jerry served in many roles while in Kenya, including field director, principal of KHBC, teacher, bookshop manager, translator, and many others. He constantly looked to his Savior for guidance, and his deep love for the Kenyan people, particularly the Kipsigis tribe, was reflected in all he did.

In 1980, Jerry and Bunny retired to Sacramento, California. They were able to return to Kenya several times and together worked on a book on the history of the Africa Gospel Church. Most recently, they attended the 2003 celebration of KHBC’s 50th anniversary.

Serving in Kenya, particularly in the early years of their ministry, was not always easy. Within one three-month period, two of Jerry’s brothers passed away. “Distance makes it impossible to be with our loved ones at times like this,” Jerry wrote. “But God sustains.”

In the testimony Jerry submitted when applying for service with WGM, he wrote. “My desire is to keep submissive to His will, and as God leads me out, I will obey and go where He wants me to go.”

Jerry passed away on April 30, 2008. He and Bunny would have been married 70 years on August 25. Jerry’s friends and family all over the world may rejoice that he is now celebrating with his Lord and Savior. John 15:8 (NKJV) testifies of his life: “By this my Father is glorified, that you will bear much fruit; so you will be my disciples.”

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