“You and Mr. Fish should do this more!”
These words caught my attention. They were spoken by one of my students after Richard and I taught together in American Literature. Richard had joined me that day in class because we were reflecting on a story ~ our story ~ and sharing how God had helped us in some big decisions we were making with our life and future.
It was fun sharing this moment with my husband, so when this student made that comment, I was encouraged and surprised. She didn’t know we were in the process of praying about a major life change.
Engaging in ministry opportunities with my husband is something I love to do. We work well together. He’s a visionary, and I’m an executor. He sees the big picture; I see all the little steps. We’re both passionate AND stubborn at times; we have very strong opinions, but somehow the mix works.
God has helped us a lot. I’m thankful.
About six months ago, Richard asked me to pray about joining him at the main YWAM Tyler campus, where he serves everyday. Praying about that was easy. I loved the idea of working more regularly with my husband. However, to do that would require me to leave a ministry I love, which was not easy.
For about 23 years, I’ve been teaching young people. I distinctly remember when God called me to teach: ”Go and make disciples….teaching them all I’ve commanded you…” (Matt. 28:19). I was terrified and desperately tried to convince God He had it wrong. My mind flooded with negative thoughts convincing me I could never do that. But, God was relentless.
So I said, “Yes, Lord, only if You help me.”
Teaching started around our dining room table with my kids. I knew I was to homeschool, so I got my hands on curriculum and became a student as well. Literally, I’d be reading the textbooks hours before my kids would join me at the table, so I could then teach it to them. It wasn’t always easy being mom and teacher, but I grew a lot during this time.
Then we moved to Thailand, and Richard and I got involved with a school for missionary kids. At the time, it was part of the YWAM ministry in Chiang Rai. Our kids were going to be attending this school, so we took on a couple classes to help with the cost, but it didn’t take long for us to plug in full-time there. We taught many classes over the years and also became a part of the leadership team. We loved the community a lot!
And I loved championing the young people.
When we returned to NC, Audrey had a short time in the local elementary school, but a few racial remarks on the playground led me to pick up homeschooling again. Many hours were spent with my girl. One of my favorite memories is studying Zoology together and learning about God’s amazing creation. We also read some of the best literature together. Books that left a mark on us both.
My favorite though was writing. Audrey’s papers were amazing. I’d like to say it was my great teaching ability, but I can’t really take credit. Audrey just had a way with words.
While homeschooling Audrey, I engaged in teaching a couple classes at the homeschool co-op too. Once again, I fell in love with championing young people. Teaching sparked joy for me because it gave me an opportunity to tangibly love students with God’s love.
Then we moved to Texas to join YWAM Tyler. I thought I’d homeschool Audrey until she graduated, but that would not be God’s plan. In the middle of Audrey’s 7th grade year (2017), we would be led to enroll her at Christian Heritage School, and I’ve been teaching there ever since.
CHS is an extension of YWAM Tyler, so Richard and I were serving in the same mission together, but we were in two different areas on two different campuses. For the past six years, we never questioned the differences until this year. With teaching and outreach opportunities opening up for Richard, being apart in ministry was standing out more. Old desires to work alongside my husband began to resurface. Was my time at CHS coming to an end?
I began to sense in my spirit God was indeed leading me. As the school year was winding down, I knew it was imperative to give the leadership team at CHS adequate notice, but I still wasn’t confident. I needed to hear from the Lord specifically about this step. It couldn’t just be a “feeling.”
One morning in my quiet time, I was reading Mark 6. When I got to verse 7 my heart was stirred, so I paused and re-read the verse again. ”And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits.” It was the “two by two” phrase that caught my eye. They were being sent out in pairs, and God’s word resonated within.
The confidence I needed finally came, and I knew God was calling me to join Richard in ministry. My time as a teacher and high school vice-principal at CHS was ending.
The call to champion the next generation to know the Lord, “teaching them all I’ve commanded you” hadn’t changed but the way and place I’d be doing it would be changing.
I have loved my years of teaching in the junior high and high school sphere. Whether it was a Bible, history, literature, or writing class, I have found great joy in engaging with the youth. I have especially loved encouraging creativity. I’ve always wanted my students to dig deep and express with their hearts and not just their heads.
I will miss the CHS classroom. I’ll miss the students walking in every day with a smile and a greeting. I’ll even miss the days there weren’t smiles. Those days often brought us closer because we would pause and reflect together.
I’ll miss their silly banter and crazy character voices when reading a literature book. I’ll miss their murmured chuckles that sometimes turned into the whole class laughing for no reason at all. I’ll miss reading their papers and being challenged by what they saw and felt.
I’ll miss their hugs and their requests to pray for them. I’ll miss the moments Jesus walked into the room, and we were moved by His presence. I’ll miss reflecting on the human experience: the good, bad, and ugly. We really did have some amazing discussions.
If I had said “no” to God all those years ago, I would have never experienced all of these wonderful moments! Over the past 23 years, I discovered that I really can do all things through Christ. There’s nothing He will ever ask me to do that He Himself won’t be doing with me.
So what’s next?
Graduation is this Friday, and after that I’ve got a couple more weeks at the school to wrap things up. Then it’s our mission’s annual staff conference in Dallas. Afterwards, I’m looking forward to a much needed break this summer.
Richard and I are praying daily for God to direct our steps, and we’re trusting He will open doors for us. We are committed to serve at YWAM Tyler together, two by two 😊 I’m thankful I get to do life with this amazing man. We’re a good pair. I’m excited for what the future holds.
Though I won’t be teaching at CHS everyday this next school year, we do believe God has Richard and I participating at the school in some capacity. We are currently discussing and praying with the leadership team about ways we can serve the school. These students mean too much to me to just quit and walk away. I’m thankful for the open door to stay connected with this school.
Please be praying with us. Thank you to all who continue to support us to do what God has called us to do with Youth With A Mission. We are committed more than ever to follow Jesus because we love Him, and championing this next generation to know Him and love Him too excites us.
All glory to Jesus!
5 Replies to “New Beginnings”
Love this so much!
Christ is mighty in you, Mrs. Amy Fish. And you and Richard are a mighty force of creativity, passion, and resilient love for God and His ways. I will miss working with you at CHS, but I am thankful to still serve with you both in a mission we love.
Thanks Jeff. I will miss working with you and Heather on a daily basis too. You two are a mighty force at that school 🙂
I wept reading this as I remembered all the places you have said yes to God over the years. The lives you have touched and made impressions