by Marti Fischer
Along with her husband, JJ, we continue to grieve over the loss of The Catch Ministry’s Elder and Prayer Warrior, Shar’i.
The Catch Ministry would not exist without the power of prayer. And I am not sure why I am existing without the power of Shar’i. That was just the kind of woman she was. No one could walk away from being with her without being significantly changed and challenged. Shar’i was fearless in her faith and always a vibrant, action-oriented believer in the power of prayer.
“Prayer is basically participating with God,” she often said. “How He involves us in His work is a mystery, but nevertheless, He does, calling all Christ followers to communicate with Him through regular prayer.”
As with all of our Prayer Warriors, we did not pick Shar’i for our Prayer Ministry. As if anointed, she was appointed by the Lord. She listened to Him, and came to us on her own.
When taking her place as Catch Ministry’s Prayer Warriors, Shar’i wrote:
After much prayer before we offered our services, we can truly, reverently, spiritually, and graciously say: we are yours forever on this journey. We know the Lord wants us to be used by, in, and for this Catch Ministry. We felt the tap on the shoulder months ago, and wanted to make certain we were hearing what we thought we were hearing. When we realized it was a “go” and we needed to step up, we did. I mean, I remember a man named Jonah, a town called Nineveh, and a BIG whale! We’ve learned not to tell God “No.” So Praise the Lord and let’s get started!
And that is exactly what she did.
Over her lifetime with us, Shar’i tended to thousands of Catch Citizens facing a rough stretch of the road, sometimes with no warning or no understanding about how long the hardship would last.
Shar’i was there in spirit when Catch members were dying. Shar’i would make remarks like, “She’s beautiful and way too young. Just to see her face is to see life and death hanging in the balance.” Now mind you, Shar’i never met or even spoke with this dying woman, but she knew her in prayer like no other.
Specifically, Shar’i served as witness to answered prayer including to an alcoholic struggling to stay sober, parents who lost their kids to drugs, a grandmother watching her three grandchildren go through messy divorces, a homeless son with health issues, a sweet couple struggling through a pain-filled incurable disease, a divorced father watching his two daughters get married and so much wanting for them a better marriage than their parents had, young people with eating disorders, a ruthless daughter who filled her mother with pain, someone receiving eviction papers after 12 years in the same place, young children who are cutting, a mother of three beautiful boys — two diagnosed with autism, parents dealing with bi-polar kids.
And then there is Hazel … dear Hazel, who after years of requesting prayer for her ailing husband, was indeed dying herself. Before shutting her computer down for the last time, she wrote to say’ good-bye.’ I was devastated. I knew Hazel and about the struggles she faced for a very long time. “Put your big girl panties on,” Shar’i commanded, “this is not a sad event; it is a joyous one.” When responding to say good bye, Shar’i added joyously, “You won’t need that old computer where you’re going!”
Even though the Prayer Ministry allows us to see prayer changing lives and hearts, Prayer Warrior Shar’i was becoming concerned, “What about the in-between times — the time between the request and His answer?”
A couple days later she answered her own question. Shar’i recommended a new program for the Prayer Ministry: Tangible Prayer — a Prayer Pillow.
“Our people who are requesting prayer need something they can embrace that reminds them someone is praying for them,” Shar’i remarked. “They need to know they are not alone.”
So out from nowhere came the Prayer Pillow ministry, with Shar’i taking the lead. She was the General. She called for troops and soldiers responded from all over the world. Their orders were to make the pillows according to her specific instructions, pray for the person while sowing, personalize the finished pillow with a scripture, and then package, and ship it — all funded by each soldier. Shar’i’s orders were concise and exacting. This ministry was going to be run her way or members were asked to leave. She was the General.
Her International ministry caused visible comfort to be delivered to many suffering Catch members worldwide.
From requesting prayer to prayers answered — those in-between times — members affected by pain for all kinds of reasons knew they were covered in prayer 24/7. They were never alone. Indeed, each pillow became a tangible act of love that was taking place through one-on-one relationships in prayer.
We know the Lord wants someone or a team of someones to be used by, in, and for this Catch Ministry and take what Shar’i pioneered. Someone who felt the tap on the shoulder months ago, and wants to make certain they were hearing what they thought they were hearing. Someone (Is it you?) is realizing it is a “go” and is ready to step up.
As Shari said herself, “I remember a man named Jonah, a town called Nineveh, and a BIG whale! We’ve learned not to tell God ‘No.’ I mean, do you know anyone who told God ’No’ and lived happily ever-after to tell about it? Well, do you?”
Shar’i was a significant influencer of the Catch. She cannot be replaced, but her story can inspire others to be creative and be involved in their own way with the ministry. Shar’i’s husband, JJ, continues to be a significant influencer as a Prayer Warrior and a financial contributor. We are forever indebted to this couple for the love, hard work, and personal support they continue to provide. And as for Shar’i, we miss the joy and vibrancy she provided us in spite of her physical pain. God got a good one there. Of course, we know it was her time; we just miss her deeply.
The Catch Ministry is looking to all of you to advance to the front lines, pick up the pace, and be a part of something far bigger than any one of us can imagine.
Make a difference — contribute today by making a one time gift to The Catch Ministry. Capture Shar’i’s vision. Be an influencer in the Ministry of the Catch. Make real what is yet to be done.
We salute the Prayer Warriors who continue on so faithfully in the spirit and the memory of Shar’i: JJ, Kimm, Donna, Heather, Grace, Brian, Cynthia, Kevin, Shelly, and serving as the pastor to the Prayer Warriors, Merv Keck.
Join our growing list of Responders.
Nancy, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota
Victor, New Castle, Pennsylvania
George, Barefoot Bay, Florida
Glenda, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Keith, Portland, Oregon
John, Chicago, Illinois
Mark, Raleigh, North Carolina
Daniel, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Lisa, Sunland, California
Richard, White Rock, British Columbia, Canada
Merlyn, Goodyear, Arizona
Steve, Nashville, Tennessee
John, Hampton, New Hampshire
Rebecca, Cullman, Alabama
Jimmy & Olivia, Hong Kong
Theresa, Gilbert, Arizona
Cynthia, Harlingen, Texas
John, Coralville, Iowa
Marge, Lansing, Michigan
Joe, Sugar Land, Texas
Darrell, Nevada, Iowa
Sara, Hopedale, Massachusetts
Darin, Cozad, Nebraska
John, Hawthorn, Australia
Michael, Dayton, Texas
David, Lakeville, Minnesota
Neil, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
David, Liberty Lake, Washington
Roger, Whittier, California
Michael, Sacramento, California
Keith, Berea, Kentucky
Ruth, Artesia, California
Sharon, Jackson, Mississippi
Robert, Nashville, Tennessee
Paul, Wayne, Pennsylvania
Kent, Bryan, Ohio
Drew, Vancouver, Canada
Keith, Portland, Oregon
John, Chicago, Illinois
George, Barefoot Bay, Florida
Markus, Köln, Germany
Christopher, Edwardsville, Illinois
Lynn, Duluth, Minnesota
Garry, Ozark, Arkansas