by Pastor Tim Burt
Reaching the World for Jesus
Renee and I just recently returned home from Lima, Peru. My daughter Stephanie, her husband Daniel, and their two daughters Madeline and Macy are missionaries there. They originally went down to help Daniel's dad and mom - amazing missionary pastors who've been in Peru for 30 plus years. His parents have retired, and Daniel and Stephanie are now working with two of the most respected missionary pastors in the world - Pastor Robert and Karyn Barriger at a church called Camino de Vida.
In the past few years, Renee has brought missions teams down to Peru. Prior to this trip, I had not been able to fit the time in my schedule to get down there. I can confidently say I am a good dad but was starting to feel like a bad dad for not having been down there yet. Since my daughter and her family come to Minnesota to stay with us for a month each summer to itinerate at multiple churches, I was pacified with seeing them then. But last Fall, I felt the Lord dealing with me to get down there and be with them. So, Renee and I decided to make a circle tour. We went to Texas, California, and then to Peru to visit each of our out-of-state children and families, along with two conferences in between. Needless to say, trying to keep up with our responsibilities here, by phone and Internet while traveling was a challenge. But, by the grace of God, it was more than wonderful at the same time.
Lima, Peru, is the 19th largest city in the world with 8.7 million people in a relatively small land mass. It is a developing third world nation. The average income is about $500 a month, although I think there are a great many people that live in tattered environments and make less. They work long hours, six days a week. We noticed that gas, clothing, furniture and many other products are more expensive than here. That makes their monthly average income seem less. This kind of poverty is difficult to comprehend until you see it up close. And yet the people are kind, hardworking, and wonderful!
The church they work with has five campuses that have 20 weekly services, with 16,000 people in the church. Now having said that, imagine this! They don't have a permanent church building. Land and real estate is so scarce in Lima that it's expensive. Combine that with a large congregation that lives on small wages and you begin to understand their challenge. They rent buildings that they hold their services in throughout the week. Over 1,000 volunteers make this possible. Volunteers go in at midnight and work all night setting up for the services for Sunday morning. And then they stay and pack everything up and do it again week after week. Most pastors could not comprehend how this could be possible, but they do it week after week. And they provide amazing and outstanding ministry! Some of the volunteers are only 11 to 13 year-old children who have become skilled at doing lighting, working with sound, editing videos and more. To these children, they are learning skills they could never have learned any other way! And they are learning the love of God in the process. To watch all this often brought me to tears!
I was able to minister to a group of 18 young men who are budding leaders. My son-in-law has a weekly breakfast for them. They are so grateful to have someone mentor and teach them how to develop in godly character and mature into a leader. The father of one of them brought a cooked pig for breakfast. Only three of these men came by cars. They don't have cars. The rest took buses to get there, and two men took a series of buses from an hour and a half away!
We also went with our children to an orphanage they help with. Though it was intended to be an orphanage, they have started to call it a Children's Home because no one really gets adopted from it. No one wants these children. It was started by a wonderful Catholic priest years ago. He took in an abandoned child and it evolved from there. These children have been abandoned because they were born with debilitating health issues and their parents couldn't afford to take care of them. I will post more information and pictures about all this soon on the How Your Donations Are Used page.
In this home that needs so incredibly much work, there are 26 children. Just a few can talk. Only a few can walk. With the exception of a few who have HIV, the rest have to be diapered, (most are older than 16 years old), fed every meal, washed, and taken care of 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are usually about 5 full-time volunteers around do to all this which seems overwhelming. And yes I did say, full-time volunteers!
I held and fed a three month old little girl. She had been found abandoned in an open sewer and taken in by this orphanage. She has a shrunken head and will most likely be there until she eventually dies, which is the case with most of these children. She was crying loudly while we were there. They couldn't get to her right away because they can only do what they can do. I asked if I could pick her up and they let me. I was able to feed her a bottle, and I held her for a long time until she fell asleep.
My daughter's family brings so much joy to these children that the children light up when they come. My son-in-law told me that when they had returned for a second time, the director asked them, Why are you here? No one comes back here a second time! They told him, We've returned to help and we are going to keep coming! And so they have... and we were able to experience this portion of their life. I cannot begin to tell you how much my granddaughters love going there and ministering to these children. And that thrills my heart more than I can say.
I will get back to my devotional writing next time I write. I just wanted to share a little about this trip and remind you that if you live in a the United States or a country where you have a good life, then count your blessings! But more than that, no matter what state of life you live in, look to help others. When you do, your own problems will become smaller. And always remember, as you refresh others, God will find ways to refresh you! P.S. And for those of you who have donated to this ministry, your funds did not go toward our travel. We pay that ourselves. This wonderful work in Peru and spreading the gospel is where the funds went! Thank you for that!
Proverbs 11:25 (NLT) "The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed"
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt