AIHP members are very special individuals. In addition to their full-time jobs as innkeepers or Allied Partners, many still have managed their time and energy in order to give back in extraordinary ways. Welcome to the first of an ongoing series of articles featuring AIHP members that, in addition to their full-time jobs, find time volunteering to make their communities stronger and the world a better place.

    

It's pretty clear: giving back has always had a part of Ed Fischer's life as he has been leading short-term mission trips to Africa for over twenty years. A familiar face to many in our industry along with his wife of eighteen years, Carol, the couple has owned and operated the North Fork Mountain Inn in Cabins, West Virginia. The North Fork Mountain Inn is a Select Registry property and founding member of AIHP. Ed also serves on the Select Registry Board of Directors.

While they have busy lives operating the nine-room cabin property and organizing weddings, retreats, and cooking breakfast daily, Ed also contributes to his local church, Maysville Bible Brethren where he is leader of the missionary team. But he still makes some time for himself and his two favorite hobbies: food and wine, and travel.

Vision of Hope for Africa was established in 2015 as a 501-C3 non-profit organization with Ed as its Executive Director. His vision supports Evangelism and social justice ministries in the area of health, Christian education, and economic empowerment. Here is his story.

What drove you to start Vision of Hope for Africa?

Having led many short-term mission trips to Africa over the last 20 years, I have come to realize the extreme poverty and social injustice and wanted to make a meaningful contribution to making change in these areas.  Having served as an executive director for another non-profit focused on education, I felt that I was well equipped to start a non-profit that would allow me to focus my efforts in areas I am most passionate about, education, healthcare, community development, and social justice.

"For the family held in slavery, for the girl who is kidnapped and forced into prostitution, for the widow kicked off her land, loving these neighbors means doing what it takes to bring them rescue."

 

Q: Innkeepers are busy individuals; how do you find the time?

Most of my teams travel during our shoulder season when we are not as busy.  A special thank you goes to my wife Carol, who stays behind and runs the Inn while I am away on these mission trips.  What you must always be thinking is this the best and highest use of my time and energy.  Often at the end of the day, I am busy planning my next project or trip, so it is an ongoing process.

Q: What part of your involvement makes your heart race? 

For me when you see the tears of joy and appreciation from those you go and serve it is most rewarding.  We can measure our impact in the lives of the women we empower, the students we help complete their education, the widows we help with micro-finance projects and training, and people that receive medical treatment, they are all grateful as we work to improve the quality of their lives.

 

Q: Has there been anyone rewarding moment or project that personally stands out above all? 

One of the students we helped with scholarship support at the University, was a victim of rape.  She turned this experience into a blessing when she started a rescue center for girls that have been victims of human trafficking, sexual abuse, incest, and other gender-based violence.  New Scent Centre International.  Started by Flora Mwikali 4 years ago, has rescued 30 street girls all victims of sexual violence, abuse, rape, or incest.  Flora provides education, a place to live, hope, and healing to these young girls from 8-14 years of age dealing with this issue of gender-based violence.  Even though they live in cramped quarters today, she has a Vision for a new girls dormitory that will house up to 130 girls.  They have 2/3's of the cost of this project estimated to be $312,000 committed with current challenge grants of $30,000.  They have purchased 3 acres of land where they will build once fully funded.  They grow many of their vegetables and sell the excess providing sustainability.  Flora has also addressed the issue of sustainability by starting a school for these girls and others in the community.  Today we are helping her buy land, so she can provide a home for these girls that will be adequate than their current cramped living quarters.  She has also started a school for these girls and other students in the community creating sustainability for this outreach.

 

Q.Are there any particular frustrations or challenge you have in accomplishing goals or projects?  

Fundraising is always one of our biggest challenges.  We rely heavily on individual donors and churches for support.  We recruit short-term teams to go and serve so they can see the need and hopefully become long-term donors.  In order to create sustainability, you need to develop regular donors that share your vision and mission.

Q. What is the next step or next Big projects for the organization?

 We are sponsoring a sustainability conference-our second annual event where we are bringing together 100 of the top University Presidents and 150 of the top Industry CEO's to help bridge the gap that exists between academia and industry.  This conference will help showcase successful public-private partnerships that demonstrate best practices in equipping and training students to enter the marketplace and make real contributions instead of requiring 2-3 years of additional relevant training for the skills needed using modern technology.  This conference will also help industry invest in academia creating sustainability while allowing the industry to speak into the new curriculum in universities.  Without the blessing and support of the government, this would all be wasted effort.  To this end, we have engaged President Kenyatta and the Cabinet Secretary of Education, Ms. Mohammed, as keynote speakers to make a real impact in one of the Top 10 fastest growing economies in the world.

Q. Any additional thoughts on the organization you would like to share?  

These projects are about a child, a woman, a man – our community.  These projects are about you.  They offer a chance to connect with communities we are committed to celebrating.  This is an invitation to consider what we know and believe about our neighbors and friends. These ministries are presented to move you toward an enriched life in a community where we can act justly and show mercy.  We invite you to celebrate these friends and neighbors with us through extravagant love and lavish giving.  In this, we are pointed to a loving generosity that is greater and more enduring than our own – that of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Let us take steps that will either lead us in a new direction or motivate us to continue down a road already chosen. He has shown you, O man what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

 A SELECTION OF UPCOMING MISSIONS AND PROJECTS
“Our projects are about a child, a woman, a man – our community. These projects are about you. They offer a chance to connect with communities we are committed to celebrate. This is an invitation to consider what we really know and believe about our neighbors and friends.”  
-Ed Fischer
 

Oncology and Pediatric Medical Short-Term Mission

Kenya – November 4 – 17, 2018

Mission: To continue building the capacity for

Weaver Dental Clinic, provide free Cancer screening, education, and care to the poor and impoverished, including pediatric specialties, share the gospel of Christ, train medical practitioners, pastors and church leaders. We will be partnering with the Beth Mugo Cancer Foundation to provide outreaches to several rural communities that do not have access to adequate healthcare.

Women’s Empowerment Mission  

Kenya – March 3 – 17, 2019

Mission: This trip will focus on building relationships with widows, creating economic development through micro-enterprise groups. We will take medical supplies, shoes, and personal hygiene items for 28 girls at New Scent Rescue Center near the Tala Market that were previous victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking

AIHP would like to thank and commend Ed for his work with Visions of Hope for Africa and Giving Back to help make our world a better place.  For more information on Visions of Hope for Africa, visit their website www.visionsofhopeforafrica.org

Contact Ed: [email protected]

If you know of anyone in our industry doing something amazing for others, please share that story with us. You can send any ideas to [email protected]