Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"Coming & Going" Newsletter - May 2012

Coming & Going May 2012
Psalm 121:8
Steve & Alene Burgert Missionaries at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya
Jesus said to His disciples, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” - Mark 6:31 (NIV)
This simple message greeted us at the door of our mountain cabin as we arrived for a week of personal retreat time. But “REST” can be            a despicable 4-letter word in our production-driven American society -when it shouldn’t be, according to God’s economy. The two of us are so thankful for the chances we’ve had recently to be reminded of how important rest, refreshment, and renewal are in our lives. This is likely true for anyone whether or not they have been serving on the mission field. It is valuable for each of us to periodically pause and reflect on the pace and direction of our life.
We had an “official” time to do that during a week in early May at DAR or “Debriefing and Renewal” through the Mission Training International sessions held in Palmer Lake, CO. (Alene likes to refer to it as our time of “DEEP- BREATHING and renewal”!) Our mission-seasoned facilitators led us in helpful reflection as individuals, as a couple, and with other missionaries who also recently re- turned from the mission field. We were reminded of Jesus’ teaching to follow His Father’s design for rhythms of life, which will include times for rest and refreshment of body and spirit. It is part of God’s design for us to have a day each week for rest, which is traditionally called Sabbath. We have been reminded of our need to plan for this time and intentionally restructure our days to enjoy this gift from God. Those gaps in the schedule are vital, and HOW we spend them is just as important as obeying God’s command THAT we spend them. Isaiah 59 tells us that the Lord delights in and rewards God-honoring behavior on the Sabbath. These should not be wasted hours, but rather opportunities for regaining perspective - reminding our- selves that WE are not in charge nor are we indispensible to the fulfillment of God’s will. Extra time for worship and enjoyment of God’s creation, good fellowship, devotional readings and praise music - can eliminate an amazing amount of stress by re-aligning our minds to HIS sovereignty, purpose, and process.

Whether traveling across USA or back in Kenya, we have re-committed to setting aside some time each day as well as a day each week for a break from our other work responsibilities to allow time for rest and restoration. We encourage each of you to the same intentional Sabbath-keeping, with as much accountability to this commandment as to the rest of the Big Ten. We are all promised a blessing for this faithfulness: “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, ...then you will find your joy in the Lord.” Isaiah 59:13-14 (NIV) Let’s not miss the guaranteed blessings of keeping HIS designed rhythms!

                                                           At the DAR program in Palmer Lake, CO

In the US, but ministry in Kenya continues...
Even though we have been traveling many miles here in the USA, our ministry activities continue in Kenya. Steve is very grateful for the 12 physicians who are helping Tenwek Hospital continue to provide endoscopy coverage in Kenya while he is away. We have heard positive reports that patient care, teaching and research activities are continuing smoothly. Please pray with us that a physician will be identified soon to fill a short gap in coverage at the end of August and start of September.
By phone and email, Alene has been faithfully following and encouraging the start-up efforts of Africa Gospel Church to facilitate Correctional Ministry activities for Kenyan prisoners, ex-prisoners and their families. It is an item of thanksgiving to have 4 chaplains now serving full-time in AGC Correctional Ministries, and a joy to hear how the Lord is working through each of them!

It’s official! Most of you know, but we were confirmed by World Gospel Mission as Career Missionaries at Tenwek. That’s why we’re on the road trying to raise our support.

“Where are you guys NOW?”

Please check out our calendar to see where we’ve been lately and where we are heading. We were blessed to have time with Steve’s parents in Rochester, MN and to help his dad’s move into the same Supportive Care Unit where his mom is living.
Time in California with Alene’s parents and family was also a joy. Among the churches where we have shared are our home church in Loveland, CO and one of our former churches in Rochester, MN. We’ve enjoyed all our times shared with other friends, family, and churches on our way. We have been inspired by so many of you who are already reaching out to others in service and ministry, whether near your home or far away.

Thanks to SMS for repairing scopes!
On behalf of the Tenwek Endoscopy Unit we took thank-you’s to Specialty Medical Systems in Kansas City, MO for their faithful and generous provision of repair and shipment for the endoscopes we use to examine the digestive tract. The two of us enjoyed sharing time as well as delicious Kansas City BBQ with Mary and the great team there!

Again, at the risk of information overload, we are providing a copy of our schedule because we are eager to visit as many of you as possible. If you have ideas for visiting or speaking opportunities, we’d love an email! Email: wgm@wgm.org

Our Home Ministry Assignment Apr - Oct 2012
Apr 29 - May 4 Palmer Lk, CO - Debrief & Renewal
May 8 Hugoton, KS - Heritage Christian Academy & PEO
May 10 Kansas City, MO - Specialty Medical Systems
May 11 - 15 Cincinnati, OH & Northern KY area
May 13 Burlington, KY - First Church of Christ
May 15 - 17 Wilmore, KY area - Asbury University
May 18 - 22 Enid, OK area
May 19 Enid, OK - Mennonite Brethren Men’s Brkfst
May 20 Enid, OK - Bethany UMC
May 20 Covington, OK - First Baptist Church
May 24 - 30 Loveland, CO area
May 31 - Jun 11 Rochester, MN area
Jun 3 Rochester, MN - Salem Rd Covenant Church
Jul 10-19 Marion, IN (World Gospel Mission Hdqtrs)
Jul 20 - 23 Rochester, MN (time with Steve’s family)
Jul 25 - Aug 5 Spokane, WA & Wenatchee, WA area
Jul 29 Spokane, WA - First Presbyterian Church
Aug 7- 21 Seattle, WA area
Aug 9 -12 Alene’s parents’ 60th anniv in Seattle
Aug - Sep Oregon & California (then CO & MN)
Sep 21 - Oct 5 Philadelphia, PA & Maryland
Sep 23 Havertown, PA - Grace Chapel
Sep 29 - 30 visit Steve’s brother’s family in PA
Sep 30 Llanerch Presbyterian Church
Oct 6 - 10 Shelby, NC area
Oct 7 Shelby, NC - Shelby Presbyterian Church
Oct 11-14 Asheville, NC - medical mission meeting
Oct 15 - 23 Loveland, CO (final packing)
Oct 21 First United Methodist Church Send-Off Sunday!
Oct 24 Depart Denver for Kenya, Lord willing!

Please thank the Lord with us:
• For time in CO for refreshment of body & spirit
• For times of sharing & mutual encouragement as we meet with individuals and groups
• For new & continuing support in prayer & finances
• For answered prayers for housing, vehicle, cellphones, & gracious hospitality while in the US
Please pray with us:
• For balance between work & rest in our schedule
• For protection in our travels & unfamiliar lodgings
For Tenwek Endoscopy Unit coverage gaps to be filled
• For each physician covering for Steve at Tenwek – for protection over travels, work, and families
• For adequate financial pledges to allow our return to Kenya by the end of October
Contributions: World Gospel Mission, 3783 East State Road 18, PO Box 948, Marion IN 46952 (account 02273-Burgert) Steve & Alene Burgert, PO Box 948, Marion IN 46952 • Email: wgm@wgm.org • Website: www.wgm.org/burgert

April 30, 2012 - Confirmed as Career Missionaries

Steve & Alene Burgert's Ministry

We are so grateful for your interest and involvement in our mission service at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya. Many of you have partnered with us in generous, thoughtful and creative ways, and have truly empowered us for this calling. During this time in the U.S., we will be visiting as many of you as possible to share and celebrate what the Lord has done in our lives and yours these past months.
We are thrilled to let you know that on March 13th, we were confirmed by World Gospel Mission to continue to serve as career missionaries at Tenwek Hospital. We are eager to return to Kenya after our current Home Ministry Assignment.
Our return to service in Kenya will depend on new and renewed partnerships - both in prayer and finances. Our first 2½ years on the mission field have given us a good estimate for our future budget. With our transition to career status, the inflation in Kenya, and expanded field ministry activities, our budget requirements are now significantly increased by $2,435.00 per month - which is a 43% increase over what we needed before. We are obligated to demonstrate to our mission agency (World Gospel Mission) that we have commitments from our partners for this increased monthly support before we will be allowed to return to the mission field, which we pray will be in October 2012.
We are asking if you will consider a new level of partnership:  1) in prayer, which is crucial to us and this work; and 2) in a new or increased financial commitment. Attached you will find our new prayer card with updated information and current ministry-related prayer requests. You can print this up or let us know your US Mailing address and we will mail you the folded postcard. It has a convenient tear-off card for you to specify or re-commit your participation with our mission. Every contribution, whether small or large, is critical.
For those of you who have been faithful supporters, THANK YOU, and please let us hear from you again with your continuing commitment. For ALL of you, we are praying that you will consider a new level of partnership, as the Lord leads you.
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:4-5 NIV
Together with you in Christ’s service,
Steve & Alene Burgert

Prayers Needed - March 17, 2012

March 17, 2012  - PRAYERS NEEDED
Dear partners and friends,
We are writing to ask or your help.
As of Thursday, we have been back in the US for 3 weeks. It has been a big transition for us physically, emotionally, culturally, and spiritually. We are recognizing our need for extra prayer support as we adjust, and we are requesting some committed prayer partners to keep us covered during this time.
To our previous prayer team as well as new friends who may want to pray for us, we are very grateful. We would like to suggest a format, which we have found helpful in the past. If you are willing to be a committed prayer partner, please tell us a specific day of the week, on which you will promise to keep us in prayer - e.g. every Monday or every Thursday - and we will also commit to keep you and your prayer needs before the Lord on that same day. This way we will also have a chance to share with one another what the Lord is doing in each other's lives, and be encouraged by one another's prayers and the answers, which have come.
For those who want to participate in this way, we also commit to sending out a weekly email update with prayers, which have been answered and prayers, which are still needed.  
Thank you for considering supporting us in this way. We gladly acknowledge our specific need for this kind of help, as well as our deep conviction that no Kingdom work succeeds without prayer.
May the Lord bless you richly - Steve & Alene    wgm@wgm.org

"Coming & Going" Newsletter - February 2012

Coming & Going February 2012
Psalm 121:8
Steve & Alene Burgert Missionaries at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya
“Lord, through all the generations, You have been our home.” Psalm 90:1

Celebrating New Year’s Day with some of our Kenyan family and sharing a birthday cake for Jesus
“Are you looking forward to going home?”

The question always makes us pause. Like many other missionaries returning from service, we are facing the fact that “home” is now re-defined. Without a house any longer in the US, owning property there is no longer an appropriate qualifier. Certainly our families in the US will provide a base for re-connecting there, but now even “family” has new meaning. If we are talking about people with whom we have lived, worked, studied, celebrated, prayed, and yes, even grieved - then our definition must now also include the precious Kenyans with whom we have shared the last 2-plus years. The painful goodbyes of the last few weeks are evidence of the in- vestments made in each other’s lives, and the depth of feeling, which has come from that sharing.
We are thankful for the scripture quoted above: O Lord, You have been our home, and always will be - through every transition and every re-definition. Not a house, not a certain set of relatives, not even a country - but those who walk together, stop for each other, encourage each other, and who are willing (on the tough days) to hold each other up - who love one another for the sake of and in the name of Jesus. These are family, and we are at home with them.
So the answer is “yes” and “yes”!! We ARE looking for- ward to reconnecting with family, friends, and supporters in the US, but we will also look forward to returning to loved ones in Kenya when that time is completed.

Short notes and updates…
Packing and preparations for leaving Kenya are progressing, with frequent interruptions for goodbyes and administrative tasks. Visiting medical staff will stay in our place while we are in the US, so we need to pack up all personal belongings before leaving. We will also hand over the mission vehicle to another family to use. We are thankful for everyone’s help on this end, and have to-do lists posted everywhere! We plan to be in the US by late February. Please see the reverse for more information and ways you could help us during the time ahead...

It has been exciting to see area churches respond- ing to the call of Christ to visit prisons. In October, the Africa Gospel Church of Kenya launched its Correctional Ministry Department, under the leadership and priorities of newly-installed Bishop Langat. In December, because of great support for this ministry from Bomet and Tenwek church communities, we were able to have Christmas gift packages of sweets, Bibles, soap, and toilet tissue for every inmate and officer at Bomet men’s prison, complete with Christmas messages written by Sunday school children. We look forward to sharing these moving photos from the prisons as we make our visits in the US.

Steve and Timothy enjoying the view from the top of the safari vehicle during our outing with Pastor Wesley’s family in January

Please help, we are still missionaries!
Even though we will be in the US for the next 8 months, we are still missionaries living on support from our partners. In fact, our costs of living while we are in the US are even higher than when we are in Kenya! We will enjoy a few weeks of reunion with our families, but the majority of our time will be spent on the road visiting existing partners and developing new contacts and sources of support for our future service in Kenya. So please continue your faithful prayers and generous support as you are able for our “Home Ministry Assignment” - we are still “on duty” and will cherish your continuing partnership!

Endoscopy Department Graduation
One of our major goals is to empower others to carry on and produce a “ripple-effect” of service from the small pebble of effort we are each called to contribute. It was wonderful to celebrate Dr. Mike Mwachiro’s graduation as he completed his 2-year Endoscopy & Research Fellowship at Tenwek Hospital. May the Lord continue to empower him as he now starts his 5-year surgical residency at Tenwek.

Steve & Dr. Russ White present diploma to Dr. Mike Mwachiro

At the risk of information overload, we are providing a copy of our schedule because we are eager to visit as many of you as possible. If you have ideas for visiting or speaking opportunities, we’d love an email! Email: wgm@wgm.org
Our Home Ministry Assignment Mar - Oct 2012
Feb 23 - Mar 1 Loveland, CO
Mar 2 - 9 Rochester, MN (visit Steve’s parents)
Mar 4 - 9:45 am First Presbyterian Church
Mar 6 - 7:30 pm Edwards Hall at Charter House
Mar 10 - 11 Champaign, IL Mar 12 - 13 Marion, IN (World Gospel Mission Hdqtrs)
Mar 14 Iowa City, IA
Mar 16 - Apr 1 Mariposa, CA (visit Alene’s parents)
Mar 21 - 1 pm Methodist Women’s Meeting
Mar 22-25 Religious Ed. Congress - Anaheim, CA
Mar 30 - evening St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
Apr 2 - Apr 28 Loveland, CO and elsewhere in CO
Apr 22 5pm First United Methodist Church, Loveland
Apr 29 - May 4 Mission Debrief & Renewal, Palmer Lk, CO
May 15 - 21 Cincinnati, OH area
May 23 - 30 Oklahoma & Kansas
Jun (early) possible return to Rochester, MN
Jul 10-19 Marion, IN (World Gospel Mission Hdqtrs)
Jul 20 - 23 Rochester, MN (time with Steve’s family
Jul 26 - Aug 5 Spokane, WA & Wenatchee, WA
Aug 7- 21 Seattle, WA area
Aug 9 -12 Alene’s parents’ 60th anniv in Seattle
Aug - Sep Oregon & California (then CO & MN)
Sep (late) - Oct 5 Philadelphia, PA & Maryland
Sep 29 - 30 visit Steve’s brother’s family in PA
Oct 6 - 10 Shelby, NC Oct 11-14 Asheville, NC - medical mission meeting
Oct 15 - 23 Loveland, CO (final packing)
Oct 24 Depart Denver for Kenya, Lord willing!
US - for protection over travels, work, and families
Please thank the Lord with us:
Please pray with us:
• For time at the Brackenhurst Medical Mission Conference in Nairobi to help with continuing education and to begin our transition from Kenya
• For more partners in prayers & finances for our work, and planning for our Home Ministry in US in 2012
• For those physicians who have volunteered to help with coverage for Steve while we are in the US
• For each physician who is helping with Endoscopy coverage at Tenwek while Steve is in the

• For God’s provision & protection these past 2 years • For faithful partners in prayer, service, & finances
• For needed rest, reflection, and reunions in-between our many ministry commitments in the US
Contributions: World Gospel Mission, 3783 East State Road 18, PO Box 948, Marion IN 46952 (account 02273-Burgert) Steve & Alene Burgert, PO Box 948, Marion IN 46952 • Email: wgm@wgm.org • Website: www.wgm.org/burgert