Mary Fisher, 31
A tribute by Ruth Ann Rees, Mary’s sister
Mary was intelligent, musical, and friendly. She used to tell me stories and teach me tongue twisters. She taught me to read music, to play the piano and guitar. I couldn’t get the hang of maths in school, but with her help I passed my O-level.
She was committed to the Lord, intent on doing what she believed he had called her to – telling others about him. She knew that the Lord had called her to Rhodesia and was determined to go in spite of the dangers and our father pleading with her not to. She understood the possible consequences but trusted God and obeyed him.
My father had died in 1976. My sister, Joy, was an Elim missionary with her husband and two young sons in Accra, Ghana. She was expecting to go to the airport very soon to collect Mary, who intended to visit them on her way back to the UK on furlough.
The head of the mission station there informed her of the massacre and that Mary had been found still alive but in a coma. They were told they could not come home, but her husband insisted and they flew home to the UK, where they waited to hear what was happening.
I lived with my mother who had a speech impediment and was very nervous of being with people. She had nursed my grandmother after a stroke, staying up through to the early hours every night and although my grandmother had died almost three years earlier, this was still her sleep pattern. When the doorbell rang on the morning of June 24, 1978, I was there to answer it but my mother was not dressed. I was surprised to find the pastor of the Pontypridd Elim Church, Pastor Vidamour, standing there. He told me that he had to see my mother before 1pm.
When he returned he explained that Elim HQ had tried to contact our pastor, but could not contact him – it was the day of our Sunday school and church outing. I had not gone because I happened to have a heavy cold. He had come to break the news to us before the news blackout came to a close at 1pm. He told us that the missionaries and their young children on the mission station had been killed, but that Mary had been found a few yards away in the bush. She was in a coma in hospital in the capital, Salisbury, and seriously ill.
Seven days after the attack in the Vumba mountains, Mary Fisher passed away in hospital on the 30th June.