Alumni of the Year 2023: Mike and Jennifer Fiocchi
Maranatha Baptist University takes immense pride in celebrating the accomplishments and dedication of its alumni, and the year 2023 brings to the forefront an exceptional couple – Mike (’95) and Jennifer (’89) Fiocchi. Their journey post-graduation has been one of unwavering commitment to faith and service, as they embarked on a remarkable path of missionary work in Albania.
After Mike’s graduation in May 1995, he and Jennifer took on the challenging yet fulfilling endeavor of deputation. In February 1998, their journey led them to the captivating landscape of Albania. The Fiocchis were fortunate to receive the guidance and mentorship of Dave and Faye Young, a couple whose support and influence proved instrumental in shaping their mission.
In the heart of Tirana, Albania, the Fiocchis started as youth workers, contributing their time and dedication to the New Hope Baptist Church. Following the retirement of the Youngs, Mike and Jennifer stepped into leadership roles, taking on the positions of head missionary and pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church. Their leadership marked a turning point for the church, propelling it toward growth and impact.
The New Hope Baptist Church in Tirana established a Bible Institute, a testament to the Fiocchis’ commitment to nurturing spiritual growth. With their guidance, four individuals successfully graduated from the institute, and three of them were ordained by a council comprising supportive pastors and BWM (Baptist World Mission) board members. These ordained graduates are now actively serving as pastors, exemplifying the enduring legacy of the Fiocchis’ work.
In 2016, a significant transition occurred as Arjan “Ari” Abdi assumed the pastoral role at New Hope Baptist Church in Tirana, supported by assistant pastor Kleant “Andi” Hodaj. Simultaneously, the Fiocchis expanded their mission by planting a new church in Marikaj, on the grounds of the “Hope for the World” orphanage. The orphanage and church plant played pivotal roles in reaching out to the local community, resulting in numerous conversions and baptisms.
Even in a region with a predominantly Muslim population, the Fiocchis’ commitment and compassion have yielded tangible results. Their work extended to the New Hope Baptist Church in Laknas, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in October 2022. With Mike serving as the senior missionary and pastor and Andi as the youth pastor, the church has grown remarkably, attracting new families and fostering an atmosphere of inclusivity.
The Fiocchis’ reach extends further, as they have contributed to a mission church in Kucove, where they have partnered with national leadership to make a positive impact. Furthermore, their association with Operation Renewed Hope, an evangelistic medical mission, has yielded hundreds of professions of faith and the spread of the Gospel to thousands of patients.
Mike and Jennifer Fiocchi stand as a testament to the power of faith, dedication, and service. Their journey exemplifies the university’s mission of producing graduates who not only excel in their careers but also make significant contributions to their communities and the world at large. The Fiocchis’ story is one that will inspire current and future Maranatha students to pursue lives of purpose and impact.
The Fiocchis and alumnus Mike High were honored at the Alumni Dinner on August 25, 2023.