Blog of Short Stories

So much has been happening that we are not sure how to tell it outside of doing it as a series of short stories.

August 23 French flag

Here we come France!

August 23 is just around the corner.  We are excited!  Our lives have once again been reduced down to 6 suitcases, 3 pack-sacs, and 2 kids.  Yes, there is still a wife/mother and husband/father too, and all of us, with all of our belongings, can all fit into a minivan, go figure.  We are heading to France for 8 months of language study at which time we will be making a short trip home to the US and then on to Togo sometime in May 2017.

crossA Loss

In August we suffered a miscarriage.  This has broken our hearts as we wish to continue to grow our family.  We are grateful and thankful for the support we have received.

“Life is not a straight line leading from one blessing to the next and then finally to heaven. Life is a winding and troubled road. Switchback after switchback. And the point of biblical stories like Joseph and Job and Esther and Ruth is to help us feel in our bones (not just know in our heads) that God is for us in all these strange turns. God is not just showing up after the trouble and cleaning it up. He is plotting the course and managing the troubles with far-reaching purposes for our good and for the glory of Jesus Christ.” – John Piper, in A Sweet and Bitter Providence

Medsend MedSend Logo

We have been approved by Project Medsend!

Project MedSend is an organization whose goal is to “enable highly qualified and dedicated healthcare professionals to serve people in need around the world in the name of Christ”.  They do this by “awarding educational loan repayment grants to career healthcare missionaries”.  We have been truly blessed to have received a monthly educational grant that will pay for medical student loans over then next 30 months allowing us to focus our limited resources on succeeding in the field versus paying off loans.

The Medsend grant has been very timely.  While under Samaritans Purse, we were able to use project funds to make loan payments.  With ABWE we are not.  This grant gives us breathing room in an already tight financial situation and is very timely as we are making the final transition from SP to ABWE.  Thank you God, and please bless MedSend for all that they do!

IWU logoAn Award

Indiana Wesleyan University, of which Lydia is an alumna of, has nominated her for a “Distinguished College of Arts and Science Alumni Award”.  We, and very specifically, Lydia, is humbled in this recognition as we realize that this is not of our doing, but of Jesus Christ.  It is his example that has changed our lives and that we are following that is to be credited.

The Award is granted to an alumnus or alumna of the College who has exhibited excellence in serving his or her profession, community, church or alma mater in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

As we are unable to attend the ceremony, a slide show of pictures and a bio of Lydia will be presented during the home coming ceremonies in October 2016. “Go wildcats!”

HBB Project –> Training OB / Medical NursesOB nurses

Great progress has been made with this project with respect to training OB nurses.

We have, through Sister Kay, met via skype the founding member of “Midwives for Haiti”, an organization in Haiti, focused on training Skilled Birthing Attendants to offset the shortage of OB providers.  The impact of “Midwives for Haiti” cannot be understated as presently their grads make up 1/3 of the OB providers in Haiti.

They have offered there French / English curriculum to us and as such offset a lot of work making it possible to have a proposal to HBB sooner than later.  We are excited and will write more on this in the coming months.

PET cartHBB Project –> PET Carts

Life sometime is all about opportunity and timing.

Recently Dr. Gayle and Dr. Ebersol of HBB not only recognized a need but reached out to us enquiring about the PET Carts.  Interesting enough, this need corresponded to the timing of a financial gift specifically ear marked for the PET Carts.  As such and through them 5 PET Carts were shipped out to Togo.

We are excited and cannot wait to see who all will receive the PET Carts and to do follow up visits with the recipients when we arrive in Togo.  We will write more on this in the coming months.


Recently HBB has been focused on developing a vision and plan for its ministry over the next 10 plus years.  This plan which includes an expansion of the hospital from 50 to 75 beds has been approved.  We are excited at the potential of ABWE’s Hospital ministry in Togo over the coming years.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

P.S. Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page

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We are leaving August 23, 2016 — June 2016 Newsletter

Lydia Edit 1Happy June!

Did we say we are leaving August 23, 2016 Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our 2016 June Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The Kids . . . a singer and a dancer

Some of you have been asking how the kids are.  Well they are doing well.  Noah is growing like a weed.  He goes to preschool 1/2 day 5 times a week, he loves the Avengers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spiderman and Grandma and Grandpa.  He likes to run, kick balls and hit things with his bat.  Nathanael loves to walk and do anything his brother is doing except sleep between 2 and 4 am!  Attached below is a small video.  Hope you enjoy!


God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS Please also see our updated prayer requests as we head into this new year and our updated pictures.



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Reflections and Preparations

It has been a couple of months now since we have made the decision to go back to Togo and a lot has happened.


The biggest event has been the passing of a colleague, Todd Dekryer, from Lassa Fever, a less-deadly, but still deadly cousin to Ebola. Nothing more shakes resolve than personal loss and or something that becomes personal. We and/or our children could die in Togo! Talk about some sobering thoughts.

Arrogance and pride are strong motivating factors.  However, when you get shaken, pride and arrogance seem to loose there hold and are replaced by questions of purpose and meaning.  Purpose and meaning have sense only in the presence of something bigger than ourselves. For us this in Jesus Christ. Our purpose and meaning is to glorify Him, to provide an example of an “alternative” way to live, and to tell others through our actions and words that they are loved and prayed for.

We have been on the outside of the events that passed at the Hospital of Hope in Mango Togo but have been deeply shaken by the events. We are saddened by the loss, hurt for our colleagues who are going through this experience and resolved to continue along our path to join them in Togo.


The preparation to go to Togo continues.

Under the title of tasks completed, we have renewed our US passports and have registered for language school in Albertville, France. We are in the process of confirming whether or not we need VISA’s as Fred and Noah hold Swiss passports.

Under tasks to be done, we are hoping to touch base with all our financial supporters over the next two months (April and May), to re-confirm their support and the timing of the support. We have to have all our support in and/or started by the end of May to ensure clearance from ABWE in time to start language school in September 2016. From there we have to get our immunization up to date and confirm airline tickets.

Under other tasks, Lydia has been busy studying for her medical re-certification exam ( May 7th -written exam and May 14th practical exam). Fred has been busy maintaining the house hold (cooking, being the “fix-it” man, a lot of yard work, assisting in the renovations of the church kitchen, volunteering at MAG church every Monday afternoon, driving Noah to daycare, filing taxes, and completing the first bible course).  If he ever trivialized the role of a home-maker, he says he was truly mistaken!

Other Stuff

But life has not been without “fun”.

Noah and Nathanael both had birthdays in March. Noah is now 4 years old and Nathanael 1 year old. We celebrated their birthdays on March 19th with a small party that included friends locally and from Indianapolis and Grandma and Grandpa Childress.

DSC09695On March 13th we participated in a Missions Conference at Gibson City Bible Church in Gibson IL. We had a great time in fellowship with the church family, two other missionary couples and the Banner family. There is one thing we often note and that is the love, support and encouragement we have received from people. Thank you very much!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

PS  Do not forget to look at our picture page, prayer page and financial page.

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Thank you . . .

12728960_10208617286450608_7658140327934469575_nWe wanted to share with you the life and testimony of one of our friends and colleagues, Todd DeKryger.  He had worked on the southern hospital in Togo as a PA and surgeon for many years.  Along side him was his wife and 4 boys.  A few years ago he had a passion develop for opening a second ABWE hospital in the northern part of Togo as a continued outreach to the Togolese and a growing Muslim population.  They had opened the new Hospital of Hope in March of 2015 with a lot of hard work and prayers.  He and the doctors there have been working a lot of long hours since the opening.

At the beginning of this week we heard that he had fell ill and was hospitalized and was having surgery for further evaluation.  At that time we began to share his story on Facebook and ask for prayers.  Shortly after that he began to decline and there was a lot of prayers for him making it to the airplane to get him to Germany and a bigger hospital.  Less than 24 hours after arriving he passed away.

Todd’s wife, Jennifer, wrote a letter after his passing that summarizes Todd’s life and passion and the peace and joy that only God gives.  Please be in prayer for their family and for the Togo mission team that’s left.

Jennifer’s letter this morning:
Today, Jesus called Todd home from the work he was doing planting and harvesting in Togo. In the mystery of His will, God chose this day to reward Todd with the unequaled joy of heaven. This is the promise of God that we as believers cling to through tears and pain. Todd poured out his life as an offering to God in Togo. I know that Todd would similarly encourage us who remain here for a little while longer to also be faithful in our service to our King (Philippians 2:17). Please continue praying and ask Jesus to bring comfort to William, Grant, Luke, and Drew. Ask that His Spirit would provide peace that is beyond the knowledge of this world. Keep praying that the boys grow strong in their knowledge of God’s Word so they can live out the legacy that their father has given to them. Also, pray that our Father in heaven would send more workers like Todd to the beautiful fields of Togo where the harvest is so great!
My heart is overwhelmed with unspeakable grief – for myself, our boys, our extended family, our spiritual family and the Hospital of Hope team. I cling only to the gospel and the certain hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ. I long for the men, women and children of Togo to know the Savior that Todd served so faithfully. Even in my pain, I am confident that our sacrifice – that Todd’s sacrifice – was worth it. I believe that the great commission is a cause worth dying for. And in the midst of my grief, I fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.

Also see a video showing Todd’s passion and vision:

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Dad’s new toy (Nathanael’s first steps)

It is sure awesome to watch a child grow.  From Noah’s first steps, to him learning numbers, the alphabet, and now the sounds letters make.  Now it’s Nathanael turn.  At 4 days shy of 11 months he is making the decision to take his first steps.  I think he is as fascinated at walking as his parent are watching him.

Psalm 127:3 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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We are going to Togo! – 2016 February Newsletter

DSC08476Happy February!

Did I say WE ARE GOING TO TOGO!  Read all about it in our latest Newsletter.  Our  2016 February Newsletter  is now posted.  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working in our lives.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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The origin of Ice Cream! and Season Greetings.

Noah continues to be a joy for us.  The other day it was his friends and him that taught us the origins of ice cream (see video below).

Outside of that, just wanting to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  We have one more interview, one more Togo Presentation and a handful of CME (continuing medical education courses) to-go.

By the 11th of December we are hoping to be back in Madison, Indiana for some extended down time and careful / prayerful consideration of our future.

We want to say a sincere THANK YOU to all –  family, friends, those who listen to our Togo Presentation and those who interviewed us for possible jobs despite our uncertainty.

Our present prayer is that HIS direction becomes very clear!

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael




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Summer Newsletter 2015

Nattiers & us

Our Summer Newsletter is now posted!  Let us share with you what we have been doing and how God’s been working.  Go to our website under “newsletter” tab or click here.

Please also see our updated prayer requests, pictures and financial pages.

God bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

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At Peace and Thank You very much

If I ever thought God talks to me, I would say he does it through the peace he gives me during a crisis and/ or busy time. Our trip back to and our first month back in the USA is 11232904_10204787690271298_2664629645280174490_nno exception. Yes, we have questions about our future –will God open the door for another 30 months in France / Africa? – and, yes, we are busy –9 presentations, 7 interviews –but despite this, we are at peace. And in and with this peace we are given the confidence that He is watching over us, and that everything will work out for his glory.

Our trip back to the US from Togo was long but uneventful –thanking God! We showed up in Indianapolis with 7 of our 8 bags, and into the arms of Lydia’s parents, Dave and Ann Childress and a long-time friend, Kharon. It was nice. Thank you very much!

From there we travelled home to Madison, Indiana and got settled in to our temporaryDSC08779 home for the next 6 months. This was followed with trips to Edgewood, Kentucky; Quincy, Illinois; Bowen, Illinois; and Indianapolis, Indiana where we not only got to meet friends and supporter to share our story and thank them for their support, but tell them about our future plans and ask them if they would be willing to continue supporting us. The response so far has been very encouraging more so for the “familiar” feeling that has been felt in each of these gathering. We are left with no doubt that not only are our blogs and newsletters read on a regular basis, but that we have been prayed for and are loved like family. Thank you very much!IMG_8668

In between our travel schedule we had a Childress family re-union at the home of Dave and Ann. During this time we got to visit with not only Lydia’s parents again, but Lydia’s brother and sister and their families. Since our departure 2 years ago, the grandkids have grown from 3 to 5 with the newest members being Ezra Childress born in November 2014 and Nathanael Pfenniger,DSC08960 born in March 2015. The time was fantastic. We played on a slip and slid, ate barbecue food, shared our presentation, and had a night of fireworks that was fit for a king. I think I can say without a doubt that the grandkids most favorite person is “Granddad”. Thank you very much!

As we head into the month of August our schedule will continue to be busy and it will be so until the beginning of December. Between now and then we will be making 8 more presentation, visiting Samaritan’s Purse headquarters for a debriefing of our time in Togo, possibly attending ABWE orientation program for short term missionaries, making two trips to the West Coast –the first one on August 13 to visit family and pick up our van, and the second in November to attend a week long missions conference. Intermixed in all this will be a number of interviews. We continue to be blessed not only with the support– financial and spiritually –that we have received, but with the understanding people have shown as we take the next six months to investigate, pray, and listen to God and what step He will have us take next. Thank you very much.

Please see our updated prayer request page, picture page and our present level of financial support.

God Bless

Fred, Lydia, Noah and Nathanael

P.S. Our Updated Schedule:

August 6 to 10 Rogers Arkansas
August 13 Fly out to Vancouver BC
August 16 Temple Baptist Tacoma
August 20 Tacoma Family Medicine Residency Tacoma
August 24 to Oct 2nd Multiple states and family medicine clinics
Oct 11 / 12 Milton United Methodist
Oct 13 – 15 Samaritans Purse Headquarters
Oct 17 to 19 Kirksville Missouri
Oct 23 to 26 Fisher Illinois
Oct 28 to 30 ?? ABWE orientation
Nov 7th IWU Marion Indiana
Nov 8 to 15th Temple Baptist Tacoma Washington
Nov 16 – 23 ?? Grandview Michigan
1st week Dec MAG Madison Indiana



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