partners for life
not every college romance grows into a long marriage, but roger (‘77) and joey fletcher’s college romance grew into a long marriage and a lifelong ministry partnership. the fletchers met at nebraska christian college, sang in the choir together, and married in 1973. after roger graduated from ncc, he earned his master of divinity degree from lincoln christian seminary, and joey completed her degree in speech therapy at the university of nebraska.
roger and joey felt god’s call to the mission field while attending the national missionary convention (now international conference on missions – icom) in louisville, kentucky. they had never even seen an ocean before embarking on their mission to the philippines, where they served at the manila bible seminary from 1983–2013.
the fletchers and another couple, bill and verna weber, served at a time when local church missions experienced a shift in methodology. capitol city christian church became one of the first “sending churches” in nebraska when they sent roger and joey to manila, and first christian church in norfolk sent the webers to south africa.
while in the philippines, the fletchers were witnesses to, and
participants in, many life-changing experiences. one of their favorites is the story of ronald, a young man whose village was buried when mt. pinatubo erupted (an eruption 10 times larger than the eruption of mt. st. helens, which erupted in the state of washington a number of years ago). ronald’s family was living in a refugee camp near clark air force base when he heard about manila bible seminary, where roger was teaching. ronald, now a graduate, serves as a preacher and educator on the island of mindoro, one of the more than 7,000 philippine islands.
later, as roger served as mission pastor at capitol city christian church, he continued to do missions work through a number of short- term efforts. he also taught missions at ncc and served on the boards of ncc and christian student fellowship.
since june, 2010, roger has served with livingstone international university in mbale, uganda, which is dedicated to preparing students, from 10 nations in east africa to help transform africa through their ministries (see photo below). his positions at the institution have included acting vice chancellor, professor, curriculum writer, and fundraiser. he is now the regional director of development. he travels to uganda twice a year to help with the beginning of each new semester, and joey often travels with him.
the relationships they have developed include their friendship with lauren zumbrun, who was a high school teacher in south sudan, until it became apparent that her situation had become too dangerous to continue her work in that location. she moved to uganda, accepted a teaching position at livingstone university and, now, more than 20 students from south sudan have followed her to uganda.
“joey and i have had the privilege of serving in churches and mission organizations that have been very supportive and encouraging, and we have undertaken each ministry together,” said roger. “when relationships are built on christ — and not just personalities — that makes for a healthy ministry over the long haul.”
joey has been an active partner in every endeavor. she taught their children while the family lived in aparri, philippines and was very active in the missionary school while living in manila. she also taught english classes at manila bible seminary and worked with special needs children in the lincoln public schools for 10 years. roger is quick to give credit to the couple’s supporting churches and to the educational experience at ncc for the fulfilling ministry he and joey have experienced.
“it has been humbling to see how god has used so many situations to prepare us for what was ahead, even though we did not have a clue at the time,” he said. “churches where we served have been faithful supporters for years, and even music ministry from childhood helped build relationships for support and encouragement later. god was in control, shaping and molding us for what he had in mind.”
roger remembered that nebraska christian college helped him see ministry first hand and provided a biblical foundation to continue education and ministry.
“professors invested in me and put me in situations so i could grow in my service to christ,” he commented. “thank you to ncc for lifetime friends, solid bible teaching, opportunities to serve, mentors to follow, spiritual guidance in ministry, and a place to look for encouragement. i honestly don’t know where we would be now if we had not chosen nebraska christian college.”