Students take their own unique paths to get to campus. However, it would be hard to find a path with more twists and turns than the one of sophomore elementary education major Falyn Fletcher.
Fletcher was born in Houston and homeschooled by her parents. After returning from a mission trip to Scotland, her father, Doyle Fletcher, felt moved to uproot his family to serve God.
“Whenever I was 11, my parents sat me and my brothers down, and they simply told us that God was calling them to the mission field,” Fletcher said. “They just told us that they didn’t know where we were going, but that’s what they felt God was calling them to do.”
Fletcher’s mother, Karen Fletcher, admitted that she wasn’t on board at first, but her husband’s enthusiasm allowed her to consider the idea of leaving everything behind.
“I completely disregarded the idea and moved on, but over time, I realized that Doyle was passionate about this, so I began to pray about it, and God did confirm that he was calling us to go,” she said.
The family took a leap of faith, joined the Southern Baptist International Mission Board and prepared to go wherever God sent them.
“Within a year, my family sold our house and our cars and gave away all our pets, and my parents were appointed missionaries to Moscow, Russia,” Fletcher said. “We served there for two years. I went to a private school there and made a lot of friends, and I really loved living there.”
Just when the family seemed to have settled in, their lives hit a snag.
After they had been in the country for two years, the Russian government passed a new visa law which prevented foreigners from staying in the country for more than 90 days. This forced them to find a new place to serve and gave them little time to do so.
“My parents just prayed about it and a position opened up in Poland. We had some missionary friends who were living in the same city and so my parents took that as a sign from God that that’s where he wanted them to be,” Fletcher said. “My family picked up and moved our 12 footlocker boxes and that’s where they’re still serving right now.”
Fletcher’s parents spend their time growing churches and spreading awareness of the gospel.
“They’re job is to be church planters. Their goal is to make relationships with people and then start home bible studies,” she said.
Fletcher said that it was by faith and through the grace of God that she ended up on campus.
“Whenever I was looking to apply for colleges … I started looking at schools in Texas and read about UMHB online. I found it on a list of schools that would give scholarships to missionary kids and did some research on it. Now I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
Falyn’s roommate, Lauren Ribera, said that Falyn found difficulty getting reacquainted to life in the states.
“Falyn has had a pretty tough time adapting to the American culture because she is in love with the people and culture of Poland,” Ribera said. “She has had to adapt by opening up her mind to new and different things.”
After graduation, Falyn hopes to live in England where she wants to teach first grade, but she said she’ll go wherever she’s needed.
“I love mission work. I want to be serving the Lord wherever he calls me.”