N.C. mission volunteer dies in Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (BP) -- Paul Fisher, the leader of a North Carolina Baptist mission team repairing roofs in Puerto Rico, died Feb. 28 in a swimming accident near San Juan. He was 36.

Paul Fisher (right in brown shirt), pictured here earlier this week after fixing a roof damaged by Hurricane Maria, died Feb. 28 while leading a mission team in Puerto Rico. He is survived by his wife Carrie (left in hat and neon shirt).
Submitted photo
Fisher and his wife Carrie were heading up a team assembled by North Carolina Baptists on Mission to fix homes damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. On Thursday, the team completed their work for the day early and went to the beach to swim. A riptide pulled Fisher underwater and he drowned despite the team's 30-minute effort to resuscitate him, according to an email from Richard Brunson, executive director of North Carolina Baptists on Mission.

The Fishers "were just a wonderful, amazing couple who were willing to go wherever God was leading them," Brunson told Baptist Press.

Paul and Carrie Fisher had opted not to buy a house in Charlotte, N.C., where they both worked -- Paul in construction and Carrie as an administrator for a mission organization -- so they could do missions fulltime, Brunson said. They both resigned their jobs earlier this year and moved at the beginning of February to New Bern, N.C., to serve for at least the next three years as assistant site coordinators for North Carolina Baptist rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Florence.

Carrie Fisher told Brunson in an email today (March 1), "The Lord is my strength and my portion and deliverer. His grace is sufficient. Paul loved Jesus more than anyone I ever met. I know where he is. I am positive he heard the Lord saying, 'Well done, my good and faithful servant.'"

Funeral arrangements are pending.

To date, North Carolina Baptists on Mission have repaired roofs on 225 Maria-damaged homes in Puerto Rico. Fisher's team decided to repair one more in his honor March 1 before traveling home March 2.

"They felt that would be what Paul would have wanted," Brunson said.

David Roach is chief national correspondent for Baptist Press, the Southern Baptist Convention's news service. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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