Today is International Women’s Day 2021. In honoring many women today, I’m going to focus on one truly excellent representative — my wife, Marti.
Most of you don’t have a clue what Marti has done, what she does and what she is bound to do in the future. That’s because a lot of that is hidden by her current work with the Catch Ministry. Most of the Catch Community will be unaware that Marti is known in entirely different circles than John is.
Marti is a woman who was born into east coast wealth, and left it behind to find her life in Christ and marry a penniless and somewhat radical and long-haired musician and preacher. She is a woman particularly arrested by her encounter with Christ as an adult, fixated from the beginning on everyone meeting Him one way or another. Culturally she is a sharp contrast to John’s southern California evangelical roots, and a foil to his easy west coast ways. Missing in her makeup are the mainstream evangelical ways and means and cultural cues, while a starched puritan social duty and personal propriety startles and then (if you give it a moment) disarms. But for most middle-class white people, encountering her is like docking your fishing punt next to a newly-minted battleship-cum-ocean liner. One rocks in the wake a bit.
The heart that beats beneath this (to most of us) glamorous carriage is one of utter and simple and heart-wrenching devotion to Christ, and the cultured surface dutifully hides a life pocked with painful sacrifice, a tender humility, a self-brutalizing honesty and a furnace of undying, insistent and selfless zeal. There is also a mind which, alternately addled or enhanced by severe dyslexia and ADD, memorizes everything it sees, hears or reads, and somewhat helplessly zeroes in on the point of it all, which to Marti is, how can God’s love be realized here? The results are as follows.
Marti has three careers which each receive 110 percent of her energy, being exempt via dyslexia from the limitations of conventional math. The easiest trajectory to trace in her life is the ministries and services she has launched as a by-product of wondering why not. Finding herself in a career as a flight attendant and before she worked her way up to a management desk in San Francisco, launched the Fellowship of Christian Airline Personnel, and oversaw its growth to become an international organization with chapters in every airline domicile in the world.
Also, embracing the challenge from the World Vision then President to identify philanthropic women for World Vision’s Board of Director positions, frame a model fundraising-partnership program for women of wealth to provide critical financial support to women and their families living in extreme poverty. What began as a grass root movement led by fourteen Orange County women is today a nationally recognized organization with 41 chapters throughout the US, raising together millions of dollars for World Vision’s development projects worldwide as well as for those living in our own backyards.
Also “Touchdown for Youth,” arising out of a conversation with NFL great and sportscaster Terry Bradshaw while overseeing the Super Bowl XXVII halftime show featuring Michael Jackson on January 31, 1993, at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena, half time show with Michael Jackson, a mentoring program for at-risk LA youth, now replicated in major cities around the country. Also “Mission Tuition,” which delivers two years of college education to foster children, and combining her marketing talents with an outreach program for single moms resulted in the establishment of The Caring People; a national organization that identifies and trains Christian women to mentor single mothers. As President of a regional YWCA, Marti represented its constituency internationally. The YWCA awarded her Woman of the Year.
Look in vain among these and other established undertakings for “Marti Fischer Ministries, Inc.” You will not find it. But the people – often industrialists, government officials and celebrities who still wonder how it happened – remember her, and comprise a network of hard-to-reach people whose offices are open to Marti at will.
A second career is Marti’s marketing, launch and rescue career, which can more easily be obtained by her resume. Marti has a string of successes, some of which were failures when she started with them, and has elicited tens of millions of dollars to capitalize successful non- and for-profit undertakings, often by creating surprising partnerships between the unlikeliest of bedfellows of power and wealth. Those people remember her too, and many of their names are household words.
A third career, though this one might have gone first, I mention in the interest of grasping Marti’s character. This third career is that of mother and wife, which she pursues with a passion for God’s intent to bless women, children and men each and severally that I have witnessed nowhere else. Extend this passionate maternal instinct to hundreds of callers responding to Grace Turned Outward, people who feel barred from legitimate entry to the church, calling at all hours and for all reasons. Think of this when rocking in the wake of that prodigious craft beside you in the dock.
While Executive Director of the five city Essex North Chamber of Commerce in Newburyport, Massachusetts, Marti organized an awards program to honor women in business and community life. She called it the Vanguard Award and is still alive today. For that first inaugural event, John wrote a song “Vanguard” to celebrate the moment. On this International Women’s Day 2021, we celebrate the accomplishments all women inspired by this new look into Ruth Martin Fischer.
Click on the title to hear the song and celebrate the women you know:
by John Fischer
She’s a rebel
She’s a lady
She’s a ticket to a Broadway show
There’s no doubt that she’s a winner
No beginner, you have got to know that
She is walking into all situations
She is working hard
She’s a leader in a new generation
She’s a servant of the people
She’s a sentry of the human soul
She’s a heart of compassion
She can see the highest goal
Keeping all her fears down under
Against the flow
The price she pays is high no wonder
Only a few will know
There’s a purpose in her posture
There’s a wisdom in her widening eyes
She makes a pathway with her footsteps
With her hand she takes the prize