I had the opportunity to talk to author Erica Fye about her book and her life as a missionary in Uganda. When I think of the logistical problems of writing a book, and maintaining a website and Facebook page in a place where electricity is scarce, I know that from now on I will never ever complain about MY internet problems! I am both amazed and humbled.
Erica’s book, For the Joy Set Before Us is a inspirational, and a compelling story without any hype or sugar coating.
Melanie Rockett: You are a missionary living and working in Northern Uganda. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to establish your own mission?
Erica Fye: I’m an American, from New York State. I first realized my love for missionary work in 2005, when I went with a team of people for a short trip to Kenya. It was there that I realized Africa is where I was born to be. I ended up in Uganda the next year and then after going through training I moved full-time to the field. I worked under a great organization, but their main focus was working with soldiers and training men. My vision was always to reach out to the children who were affected by the war, and also the women who were treated as second-class citizens and seemed to have no voice in society. Because of the difference of visions, we eventually went our separate ways. I started “Africa4God” so that I could focus on those things that were really on my heart.
Melanie Rockett: “For the Joy Set Before Us” is your first book, can you tell us what inspired you to write it?
Erica Fye: When I was planning to come to the mission field, I really didn’t know what to expect. I had visited several times but I was pretty “green” about what was going to happen once I got to Uganda fulltime. I learned a lot of things the hard way, and made many mistakes along the way. I wrote this book primarily with others in mind who may feel the same way that I did. I’m hoping they can learn from my “trial by fire.” Secondly, I wrote it to help missionaries who are already on the field, battling through culture shock, loneliness, burnout, etc. Finally, my hope was to raise awareness about what life is like in Northern Uganda, to hopefully open up people’s worldviews and give them compassion for global issues. God has not forsaken the people here, and He is reaching them with His great love. People are people, regardless of where we came from. We are all equally valuable to God. I truly hope this book conveys that important truth.
Melanie Rockett: What is your book about?
Erica Fye: My book is about my journey to the mission field, the challenges I have faced, and the joys and rewards of a life of lived to the fullest in surrender to God.
I weave in some of my personal stories from the field, both heartbreaking and funny, to demonstrate and address real and practical topics. This is missionary life, un-sugarcoated.
Melanie Rockett: I am curious to know how you wrote your book and got it onto Amazon. For some reason, I have the impression that Northern Uganda is devoid of electricity and Internet connections. LOL I am sure I am not the only one who is wondering about the logistics.
Erica Fye: That’s a good question. A lot of people have that idea of this place, and to some degree it is true. Compared to other parts of Uganda and East Africa, Kitgum is not developed. Compared to the US and other developed countries, we are so far behind. However, there is power here, occasionally. We have a small solar setup for the computer and charging the phone. (It’s strange in our western understand, but people here live in mud huts and everyone has a cell phone.) We use the local phone networks for internet access. You buy a sim card to put in a modem that attaches to your USB drive and just buy airtime, as you need it.
A small Christian publishing company, CrossLink Publishing, published my book. They are the ones who had the book printed as well as distributed to online vendors in e-book format.
Melanie Rockett: Do you have any other book projects on the go or on the back burner? ( I will include links to your blogs at the end of the interview, but you might want to mention them as “ongoing” writing projects.
Erica Fye: I have a blog that I work on regularly. I recently published a series of articles with the Community of Christian Service Workers, and they have asked me for more. I am currently working on a series about how to endure when we go through our darkest times.
On the back burner at the moment, I’m considering writing some articles and excerpts for various magazines and publications that could benefit from my understanding of cross-cultural ministry, culture shock, and things like that.
Here is a link for those who feel inspired to support or to find out more about the Africa 4 God Ministry
Follow Erica Fye on her website, EricaFye.com and on Facebook