Fiedler family to witness in South Africa
A Fairfield family has their house for sale, applications complete and travel plans finalized to re-locate to Cape Town, South Africa.
Andrew and Sandy Fiedler, along with the three younger children of their four, fly from Chicago Jan. 5, across the ocean, across the equator and into one of the most multicultural cities in the world and the beginning of summer in a Mediterranean climate.
However, the Fiedlers are hardly snowbirds.
Working through All Nations Ministries, Sandy and Andrew will attend training in missionary work from February through June in Cape Town.
Isaac, 12, Phoebe, 10, and Lily, 9, are enrolled in school and will begin classes Jan. 15 in their new town. Oldest daughter, Stella, is married and settled in Yuma, Ariz.
“Our main goal is to encourage long-term relationships with people,” said Sandy. “We will support people to impact their own circles of influence. We want to help people [in poverty] have a better way of life, plant churches in new territory and build bridges between our community and the people we’ll meet.”
Fairfield natives, the family lived in Kansas City for a period, and moved back to Fairfield in 2005.
“We were friends with our pastor and his wife in Kansas City,” said Sandy. “They moved to South Africa eight years ago while we still lived in Kansas City. They always told us to come and visit them. We’ve thought about this for seven years.”
Andrew, who owns and manages his own Fairfield business, Fiedler Heating & Cooling, has a farming background. Sandy is a licensed nurse with doula (birthing/labor coach) training.
“We don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing after the initial training,” said Sandy. “I’d love to be involved in working as a doula, but we won’t know until near the end of our five months training.
“It won’t be any type of farming crops like we know here,” she said. “If we grow anything, it will include working with our hands, such as growing our own food or keeping a garden. It will be something sustainable.”
Fiedler Heating & Cooling will continue to operate in Fairfield, with Andrew’s employees handling the business in his absence.
Sandy said the family is looking forward to the move. They decided at the beginning of this year it was time to focus on actually putting the idea into action.
“We asked our kids to think about living in a different place and praying about where the family would go,” she said. “We wanted them to have some ownership about this.”
Isaac, who likes hunting squirrels here, is looking forward to going hunting in South Africa, said Sandy, though it’s not likely he will. “The animals there could eat him,” she said.
Phoebe wants an exotic pet, and Lily has watched videos of the school they’ll attend, and is most excited to meet new friends.
The Fiedlers have made an indefinite commitment to staying in Africa, working to plant new churches.
“We’re not talking about buildings, but the people; people are the churches,” said Sandy.
By South African law, they cannot have paying jobs that would displace a working citizen. They have sought sponsors and are paying their way for airfare, training and basic living expenses.
“As a family, we’ll have a few rooms in a shared house with other people from around the world going through the five months of training, and everyone takes turn cooking the meals for the house,” said Sandy. “We are allowed two suitcases a person on the flight.”
When the training ends in June, they will work in small groups, going out among the neighborhoods, most likely, into the townships where poverty is high.
“Others have told us about the many tourist activities in Cape Town, however, the vacation side of this trip will not be our focus,” said Andrew. “Our focus will be on building relationships.
“We have a Facebook page, ‘Fiedler missions’ where we’re
documenting how we’re getting ready for this and anyone is welcome to view it,” said Andrew.
The Fiedlers also have a website with more information at www.raisingafrica.org.
In spite of having their former pastor and friends move to South Africa, Sandy said they didn’t choose South Africa, “South Africa chose us,” she said.
“My dad has taken short mission trips to central Africa and Cuba, a cousin of mine moved to Haiti, and we have friends with three children who moved to Uganda,” said Sandy. “I never thought, ‘let’s go to Cape Town.’ It’s been a constant education. It’s something we’ve prayed about and several little incidents confirmed it more and more.”
She said South Africa would pop up in various ways throughout their daily family life.
“Our pastor in Kansas City, Floyd McClung, mentored us and he founded All Nation Ministries,” said Sandy. “We’re not going there to change a culture, but to teach Christian values approached through relationships. If we show the love of God and Christ through ourselves, it attracts people.”
The Fiedlers’ home church is Faith Christian Outreach, which meets at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center on Sundays. They also have found support from Fairfield Foursquare Church.
“Pastor Jim [Cecil at Foursquare] has definitely influenced us,” said Sandy. “He married us and has always mentored Andrew and I through different seasons of our lives together.”