October 20, 2020
A recent study by an international non-profit found that 4%, or 20 million, of India's population of children are orphans. Most of these have been abandoned by their family. In fact, it is estimated that only 0.3% of these kids are children whose parents are actually deceased. Which means that this was a choice, leaving these children for someone else to care for is a choice.
Or, is it? What could possibly cause a parent to leave their child; to abandon them? What reason could justify walking away? My kids are all grown. They have careers, some have families, lives of their own, but they will always be my babies. When I think back to when they were small I had such a fierce, protective love for them, I still do. I can't imagine anyone or anything ripping them from my arms. I would never, ever have abandoned them for any reason. Or, would I? Could I ever have been so desperate to provide for them that I was willing to give them up?
Would I sell my last goat to put clothes on their backs? Would I give up my home to give them an education? Would I go hungry to see them fed? If I had to, would I give them away to save their lives? Yes, I think I would. Knowing what it feels like to be a mother, to love someone so desperately, you know that you would do anything to take care of your children. Anything!
I know that it could only be pure, raw, desperation that would lead a mother to hand her child over to someone else to care for and raise. Knowing that makes me so very, very honored to be called by God to provide homes for these orphans in India. I feel such a deep sense of gratitude that God chose Fish Company to be a part of the solution to these homeless little ones.
We kind of fell into our first project in India, the Madicherla Church/Orphanage, located in the Andhra Pradesh region in Bapulapadu Mandal. In 2014 ICM launched the Women's Initiative and Fish Company was asked to be a part. We participated in a women's conference in Virginia where the proceeds were used to purchase and build a church and orphanage in a small village.
At that time the Indian government was not at all interested in Christian orphanages, as a matter of fact, it was forbidden. The government had a long history of controlling religion and Christianity was something they wanted nothing of. In a country where almost 80% of the population practices Hindu, and another 18% practices Islam, Buddhism, and Sikhism, the 2% of Christians are really, really a minority. But several years ago something amazing happened, Christian groups began entering the country and evangelizing India. First they sent missionaries to share the gospel and love of Jesus. Soon the Christian population grew and God began raising up pastors from within the Indian culture. Those pastors developed congregations and those congregations needed a place to worship.
Enter ICM. International Cooperating Ministries is a ministry that strikes when the iron is hot. A window opened in India where the government relaxed their laws related to building houses of worship and ICM dove in and built thousands of churches in a very short period of time, including a church in Madicherla with a small orphanage attached. Soon the government not only noticed the church/orphanages that ICM had built, but acknowledged that these structures, these houses of worship and homes for children, were having a huge positive impact on the villages where they were located. The church started taking on responsibility for things that the government had been unable to. The number of homeless children living on the streets was reduced, which resulted in a reduction in crime.
These churches with orphanages had such an impact on the villages and the surrounding area in which they were built that the Indian Government actually requested orphanages be added to the other existing churches. The Indian Government actually requested that Christian orphanages be built in order to care for their orphaned population. Enter Jesus.
We knew God was calling us to be a larger part of this story so about 4 years ago we took on 2 more orphanages, Medara Metla and Duburuvaripalli. The orphanages in India are unique in that instead of being a separate building, or a building attached to the churches, they are a part of the church structures. In order to better protect the orphans their home is usually located on the second story above the church and often is sandwiched between the church and the parsonage. I love how protective these people are of the orphans God has charged them with.
Our most recent project in India was just fully funded in April of 2020 when Bay Hope Church partnered with us to build a church and orphanage in Chalmeda, which is located near the city of Siddipet in the State of Telangana. The Chalmeda church was founded in 2007. Like many areas of India this village struggles with issues related to poverty, disease and high illiteracy rates. The orphanage will be led by Pastor Abbugari Raju and run by the members of his congregation. We are blessed to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of Chalmeda.
4 orphanages in India. While it makes me sad to think that these 4 orphanages are just a tiny fraction of what is needed to provide homes for these children. I am also so happy to be a part. When I look at what God has accomplished through Fish Company in such a short amount of time I am amazed and awed. That He would use us to help His beloved, His church, His orphans. I can just picture Him looking across the land and asking "Whom shall I send?" and then I picture myself like a little kid in class with my hand raised high in the air, jumping with excitement saying "Here I am, Lord, send me! Pick Me! Pick Me! Let me be a part of your solution."
I am humbled that God is using our little ministry to change this world, and I am humbled that we are being entrusted with the care of these children. Won't you please consider partnering with Fish Company to help? I promise, you will be blessed.
October 15, 2020
When Jesus was asked which commandment was the greatest, He responded (Matthew 22:37-38)
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Paul also confirms the importance of love in Galatians 5:14 where he states that the entire law is fulfilled by keeping the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
That’s it! That’s all God wants from us! To love Him and love others, then all the other commandments will naturally follow. When I first came to this realization, I began to wonder how the bible defined “love”. There are so many scriptures that I can reference, but my life scripture is I Corinthians 13:4-8 because it gives such a beautiful description of love in the form of an action.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but it rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always, trusts, always, hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.
For me, it is so easy to get caught up in myself and in all the things I have going on, or the things that I am feeling, or the things that I want – lots of me and not a lot of anyone or anything else. So when I read the scriptures from Matthew and Galatians, I am motivated to love better, and I Corinthians 13:4-8 keeps me grounded in what that should look like. The Word says we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19), and that everyone will know that we are His disciples by how we love one another (John 13:34-35 paraphrased). I want to love you and love others well. When I am faced with conflict, or a parenting decision, or just a hard decision, I do my best to reflect on my life scripture.
Based on James 1:27, Fish Co. has chosen to be intentional about loving on women and orphans. They love with their actions. Through your donations of time, money, and talents (including all of our wonderful prayer warriors), God continues to amaze us with how He provides at just right the time!
One of the orphanages that Fish Co. supports in Haiti is in desperate need of a new building. This will provide a space to house both the orphans and Makencia’s family under one roof. It will also allow her to have quicker access to the orphans and a safer environment, compared to the current situation where they are housed in multiple structures.
Would you prayerfully consider how you can join Fish Co. to accomplish what God has called us to?
October 13, 2020
It's amazing the difference a month can make. About two months ago we received this picture of two of our boys standing next to papayas growing on the trees in the field at Makencia's orphanage. It's hard to believe that these are papaya trees that we planted in February isn't it? I have to admit, when we started planning our gardens in Haiti I was skeptical about the soil. You see, I grew up on a farm, I know how important good soil is. The ground in Haiti is rough, unforgiving; it feels rocky and dry to the touch. I wondered how little seeds would be able to push their way up through that harsh soil. I had my doubts, but God clearly told us to plant fruit trees and gardens, so we planted fruit trees and gardens. I am so glad we were obedient.
Either these seeds are magical, or God is blessing them, I think both. In either case, appearances are deceiving, I was wrong, these seeds were planted in very, very good soil.
In Luke 8 God's word tells us that it is very important where seeds are planted.
Luke 8:14-15 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
You can take a perfectly good seed and plant it in worthless soil and the environment it is planted in will choke the life out of that seed. But, if you take that same seed and plant it in good soil, it can't help but persevere, prosper, and produce an abundant crop.
This picture was taken just about a month after the first picture. As you can see, the growth in 30 days is unbelievable. These papaya trees, much like the kids at Makencia's orphanage are prospering.
The soil in Haiti can be deceiving. While at first glance it looks rocky and dry, but when you start digging in it with your hands you realize that it is a dark rich soil, and those rocks are filled with vitamins and nutrients, and those nutrients provide exactly the right environment for fruits and vegetables to grow. And grow is exactly what these gardens are doing. In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined how prosperous these gardens would be.
Planted in the right environment children will grow and prosper too. At first glance you might assume that because the environment looks harsh or lacking that children might not prosper at an orphanage in Haiti. These children absolutely started life at a disadvantage; after all, they are orphaned, many of them are disabled in one way or another ,and they don't have some the same advantages financially that we have in America. But, again, looks can be deceiving.
The children at Makencia's orphanage are growing and prospering thanks to donations from friends like you. We are so unbelievably blessed to be able to partner with Makencia and her family. Together we have created an environment where these children are being cared for physically, emotionally and spiritually. Makencia's family has lovingly given their home, their hearts, their lives to care for these 30 precious children, and Fish Company has come along side her to make their world a better place, by helping with funding, and installing things like wells, water filtration systems and gardens. Our next goal is to partner with a church from Texas to complete the two story building that will serve as the home for these sweet children.
These children have been planted in the right environment. They are loved, cared for and prospering and we are blessed to be a part of that. Please consider giving to Fish Company today and helping the children at Makencia's, as well as all the children at our 14 orphanages around the world. At Fish Company when we do our part in making the world a better place we call that "giving our fish." Please pray about how you can "give your fish too."
October 07, 2020
When I think about how time and time again Jesus would look on a crowd and have compassion for them, I think to myself, “that’s how it’s supposed to be.” Have compassion for those around you, and meet the need. I think about when Jesus fed 5,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish! Jesus had just received the news that his friend had been killed and He wanted to be alone, so he withdrew to a solitary place; but the people ran to meet Him. Instead of being frustrated or overwhelmed, He met them with compassion. He healed the sick and he taught them. As evening was upon them the disciples encouraged Jesus to send the crowd away so that they could eat. To which he responded “You give them something to eat.” As you continue to read the story, (which can be found in all 4 gospels) the disciples found 5 loaves and two fish in the crowd. They brought the bread and fish to Jesus. He gave thanks and broke them and miraculously everything was multiplied to feed the people. It is a beautiful story for so many reasons, but I love that Jesus told his disciples that they were the solution to the problem.
We the church are the solution to the problems of today’s world, and for me, meeting the need of the people physically is the gateway to meeting the need spiritually. Jesus modeled this time and time again throughout the New Testament. He would go out of his way to meet the needs of people, the woman at the well, the woman who bled for 12 years, the centurion, and his biggest sacrifice of allowing his own death on the cross to save all those who believe. As Christians it is easy to preach, but the most impact will come from our action! For example, would you rather someone tell you they love you, or show you that they love you? Jesus modeled pure selfless action. Examples of this are shown time and time again in the bible.
Fish Co. is all about taking action and empowering the women and children with the tools needed to succeed on their own. They never show up empty handed.
Here’s one example of how your donations bless others. When serving on a mission trip with Fish Co. most mornings begin with breakfast, followed by a peanut butter and jelly sandwich assembly line. It is so fun to sit around a table sharing in a task that is going to be the highlight of someone’s day! The kids go wild for these sandwiches; they even have a song they sing before we distribute them.
Something as simple as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich allowed the kids to open up and listen to why we were there. A PB&J provided them with a special treat that filled their bellies. It allowed us to serve them and it allowed us as a mission team to bond over some seriously sticky hands. God is so good and I for one cannot wait to be back at the table with new and old friends, slicing bread, slathering on some peanut butter (or jelly), and bagging hundreds of sandwiches.
October 05, 2020
If you build it they will come..... I remember the first time I heard the concept that orphanages create orphans. I was sitting at a missions event listening to some missionary from across the world share about a project he was working on when I heard him say something that shook my heart. He said he believed that the construction of orphanages was not necessarily a good thing, he believed that orphanages created orphans. He felt that orphanages provided a way out for parents who either could not, or would not, care for their own children, and that the construction of the orphanage was just an answer that created more problems. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. He didn't know what he was talking about. I felt angry when I heard his ridiculous opinion. I knew that he didn't understand the true concept of what it meant to be an orphan. I felt like with this one statement he undermined my mission and made a mockery of God's word. You see God's word tells us to care for all the widows and orphans in the world. He doesn't say care for the mothers of the orphans, or teach the father of the orphan to farm, although those are perfectly wonderful things to do. He says "care for the widows and orphans." He must have known that in this fallen world, this was going to be a problem.
I went home that night thinking "Wow, Lord, if your own people don't see the need to care for orphans, who else will?" Was I wrong in thinking these buildings were a part of the answer? Was I wrong in believing that God was calling me to care for these orphans? The next day, I did what I usually do when I think someone is crazy, that their beliefs are completely wrong, I searched google and the Bible for some truths.....and I got them. God provides us more than 100 verses on caring for orphans. As a matter of fact, it is the only thing he calls "true religion" in the Bible. Now, why would He tell us to do something 100 times if it wasn't going to be necessary to actually do it?
To be fair, what the gentleman was saying was not that he didn't care for orphans, just that he believed that we should focus our attention on fixing the family unit so that there were no orphans in the world, rather than focus time and money on orphan care. Great idea if those family units want to be fixed, or if the children who are currently orphaned can sit around and wait until we fix the world. Also, remember, God said care for the orphans.
Whether it is ultimately the responsibility of parents to care for their own children or not is completely irrelevant here because often times, the parents either can not or will not care for these children. Which means that the responsibility has to fall somewhere else, the answer has to come from somewhere....and as Christians we are that answer. God tells us we are.
In a perfect world there would be no orphans; there would be no poverty, sex trafficking, crimes against children, or slavery. In a perfect world, all parents would love their children, mothers would never die, and father's would never abandon their little boys and girls, and if they did, a great fairy god mother would swoop in and provide a castle for them to live in. In a perfect world we wouldn't have to worry about building homes to protect orphans, because there wouldn't be orphans. And, in a perfect world, Jesus would not have had to die for our sins and tell the recipients of His grace that we are now part of his solution to the world's problems.
But, this isn't a perfect world and no matter how you roll the dice, there are still more than 153 million orphans worldwide. That number does not include the uncounted masses of children living in garbage dumps, or sold into slavery. We are talking true, abandoned, no one cares for them, alone in this world, orphans.
I believe it is important to build up the family unit. I believe that if we can help a single mother get a job so that she can feed her kids, we are providing a viable solution so that maybe she won't have to give up her children. I believe that men can be taught to be fathers. I also believe that these solutions are not necessarily going to fix the world for every abandoned child.
What about the orphans living in the trash piles in Tanzania? What about the little girls rescued out of sex-trafficking in Thailand? What about the children in South Africa who are alone because both parents have died from aids? What about the babies in Haiti that are abandoned on the roadside because they are thought to be cursed because they are born with six toes? When the Lord asks whom shall I send? I say "send me."
You see the problem with that man's solution is that there has to be someone who cares about being a parent to that child in order for focus on the family rehabilitation to occur. Many of these children have no one to rehabilitate. Thank goodness that God cares for our spiritual needs and our physical needs.
God cares so so much. You see God knew mankind and because of our fallacies He knew He would need to create a safety net for the least of these. That safety net is me....it's you....it's anyone who claims to be a child of the King of Kings. That safety net is the church, it's Fish Company, it's the body of Christ.
That safety net is churches that provide food and shelter to children who previously lived on the streets; it's orphanages in India sandwiched between churches and homes; it's gardens in Haiti that provide food and nutrients; it's wells that provide fresh drinking water; it's Hope Centers and sewing schools that provide education; it's Fish Company. Fish Company is God's answer.
Please consider donating now and help us make the world a better place for orphans across the globe.
October 01, 2020
Chalinda is a 3 year old Haitian who cannot walk or talk largely due to a lack of nutrition when she was younger. See how your donation can change lives. Check out the full blog
September 24, 2020
August 10, 2020
I can honestly say that our Haiti 1 mission trip in February 2020 was one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had in my life. How could it not be? It was a trip to a tropical island with 23 of my closest friends to do three of the things I love to do the most; talk about Jesus, love on orphans, and enjoy the beach. Well, there was also lots and lots and lots of work. The team was made up of an incredible mixture of these amazing college students, a bunch of my closest friends with their lovely daughters, and some of our other wonderful girlfriends. Our team was lead by my beautiful daughter Hannah and of course the incredible Matt Perry from Schools for Haiti.
This trip was so much more than just planting gardens and teaching a generation of children a new skill, though. On this trip, we threw a big birthday party for the children at Makencia's providing them with presents, games, toys, cake and even a pinata. We visited 3 different schools and hosted a VBS at each one, we took part in street evangelism and passed out bags of groceries to people in need, and we put on the first-ever women's conference in Montrouis.
We crammed so much into this week-long trip and I love that I was with a team of people that are as adventurous as we are. We ended up taking a hike up an aqueduct to the top of a mountain, a boat ride to an island off the coast, we went snorkeling in the middle of the Haitian bay, we prayed over 5 voodoo compounds and over the voodoo mambas as well, we loved on numerous orphans, laid hands on women in need, provided medical care to the people in the village, we worshiped on the beach each night and shared Jesus with anyone who would listen.
I loved this trip because we were forced to follow Holy Spirits lead, our agenda became His agenda and everything worked out according to His plan, not ours, and isn't that just the way it's supposed to be?
August 10, 2020
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14.
God wants to heal the land of Haiti and He wants to use his body of believers to do it. We were so blessed in 2020 not just to go to Haiti once, but to go twice. It was our plan to empty our bus and set up our new sewing school on our Haiti 1 mission trip in February, but that was not God's plan.....and I am so glad His plan unseated ours. We took a team of just 5 of us on the Haiti 2 trip and it was everything you dream a mission trip should be. We worked hard, played hard, ministered to the people, loved on the children and worshiped our Savior.
It may have seemed to the outside world like odd timing, but God's timing is never off. The corona virus was just taking hold. As a matter of fact, I didn't know how serious it was until they took our temperature for a med check before they allowed us to enter the Country. But, once we got there, we didn't look back. We had a months work of worth to accomplish in less than a week.
We were so happy to be able to bless the people of Montrouis with not only the bus, but all the wonderful donations on the bus, including more than 30 bins of fabric, 8 sewing machines, 20 bins of sewing notions, tables, chairs and just about anything else you could imagine you might need to stock the shelves of the sewing school. We were blessed to be able to pray with Pastor Simeon and Madam Brunet as they launched their sewing school that will change so many lives of the young women in the village.
What a blessing it was to deliver all the clothes, diapers, food, furniture and various other donated items to our orphanage in Montrouis. The sweetest thing was watching the children play on the two story play house that was donated by the Phoenix family. Dady Jeanvier, who is the husband of Makencia, the woman who runs the orphanage, told us that this was a great gift to these children and that they would cherish it forever. He told us that not even the richest families in Haiti would have something like that for their kids to play with. For an orphan child to have a gift so grand was something that these kids would never forget.
While we were so blessed to be able to accomplish so much on this trip work wise, probably some of the sweetest moments were spent during our worship time on the beach at night. The 5 of us pulled our chairs down to the waters edge and worshiped the God of all creation as the stars danced in the sky above the softly crashing waves. These moments were such a gift from God, like the perfect calm before the storm. It was like God was giving us a moment to catch our breath and put on our armor before we headed back to the chaos we found in America.
December 02, 2019
2018 was an adventure for Fish Co that included some changes. Julie has gone back to school; Hannah has stepped into a more active role on our Board; and we have formed new partnerships with some local and global ministries. One thing that hasn’t changed is our passion and commitment to help women and orphans around the world.
For the past 6 years, with your help, we have completed 10 orphanages in 7 countries, and funded 2 others. We have been able to provide support to orphanages and hope centers across the globe through the provision of wells, school supplies, toys, blankets, and clothing. We have supported widows in Costa Rica and Guatemala through the purchase of fairtrade products; children in many countries through the support of Operation Christmas Child; and local orphanages and foster care families through volunteer help, gifts and financial aid.
While the main focus of Fish Co. is orphaned children, for the past 12 months we have been feeling a pull towards the support of widows and young women in need as well.
There are more than 153 million orphans across the globe. Many of those children have lost both parents, but many of them are called single parent orphans. These are kids who may have lost their father, and whose mother has no way to raise or support them. So, in an effort to ensure any quality of life, or even life at all, their mothers are forced to give these kids up to orphanages, knowing they would be cared and provided for in ways she never could.
While we are committed to caring for orphans, we feel that if we can find ways to support women, and provide them options, we will be fulfilling James 1:27 and Luke 1:45. That being said, Fish Company is so excited to introduce to you our She did…. Initiative. She did is an initiative that provides support, encouragement and empowerment to young girls and women in an effort to help them live out God’s calling on their lives.
We are hitting the ground running in 2019 with a vision/mission trip to Haiti in February in hopes to move forward with our plans to build the first ever Fish Company sewing school. This school will provide education, opportunity, and empowerment to women and young girls by teaching them a valuable skill that can be used to support themselves and their children. On this trip we will be confirming construction location, education plans, and partnerships, as well as providing another local sewing ministry with much needed sewing supplies. We also will be visiting local orphanages in search of opportunities to serve. Please, please prayerfully consider supporting us in this effort by helping us fund our trip. You may donate now by clicking the donate now button on our website at www.fishcompany.org or the donate now button on facebook at our FishcoTampa page. You may also send donations directly to us at 10407 Lake Grove Drive., Odessa, Florida 33556. Please join us in fulfilling James 1:27 and help us be Jesus to the world.
Blessings, Cindy McFadden
December 02, 2019
On this Valentine’s Day 2017 I am reminded of God’s infinite love for us and I am so amazed that He allows us to be a small part of His big plan. It was about 3 and 1/2 years ago that we sent our first delivery of Mkate dolls with Olivia Kamm, a missionary from Idlewild Church in Tampa, Florida, to the orphans of the Twanza Little School in Zambia. There are more than 1,000,000 orphans in this country that is roughly the size of Texas with approximately the same population. This gives Zambia one of the highest per capita orphan rates in the world. According to Zambian orphan facts, in 1 out of every 4 households, a child acts as the primary caregiver, due to the death or abandonment of the parents. There is so much need…..but God….. I am so thankful that we are a part of helping orphans in Africa and that we can look at those staggering orphan facts and say “but God”. God has a plan and that plan includes each of us. His word is clear as He calls on us to be a part of His big picture.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
On this day of love, ask yourself how you can be a part of something bigger than you, a part of making a difference in this world? God has given each one of us fish to share. Your fish may be donating money to build a home for orphans in Africa, or helping to build a Hope Center in Guatemala, speaking as an advocate for children in need, or giving fabrics and craft supplies to a ministry, going on a mission trip or sharing God’s word through the purchase of Bibles for a church in China. The point is, we all have something to give, it may be money, talent, time or your prayers, but you definitely have something to give. What are you going to do with your fish? At Fish Company we like to say we just bring what we have to God and let Him do the miracle. Let Him feed 5,000 with your loaves and fish.
December 02, 2019
|In 2016 hurricane Matthew slammed into the southwestern coast of Haiti bringing widespread damage. Matthew was a late season category 5 hurricane that seemed to pop up out of nowhere, but there were signs. We saw it. Across the ocean, Americans sitting in their air-conditioned living rooms, sipping their ice teas, watching their wide screened tv’s, had a ringside seat to the destruction this storm brought. Thanks to CNN, The Weather Channel, or any number of the hundreds of cable channels we flip through on any given night we saw it all. This storm left devastation everywhere; more than 350,000 in need of immediate aid, thousands homeless and hundreds dead.