Monday, July 28, 2008


Today, our youngest son, Aaron Burns is starting his second week in helping with recovery efforts in one of the China cities hit by the earthquake back in May, 08. Below are some "answers" to some media questions a local newspaper reporter asked Aaron in an Email. Please notice some of Aaron's thoughts about this mission trip after his first week there with 18 other volunteers.

"We are in the city of Du Jiang Yan (about 45 minutes from Chengdu in the Sichuan province) and we are mainly working with a local school which is holding an English summer camp. They have brought in some students who have been affected by the earthquake. Through teaching, playing games, and spending time with the students we're able to encourage them and most importantly make them happy and see some smiles. We have been able to see a lot of the damage of the city and were told that 70-80% of the buildings within the city will have to be rebuilt. In the afternoons, we are able to go to a Styrofoam camp and tent city where the homeless will be living for the next 2-3 years as the city is cleaned up and rebuilt. Last week we experience 2 aftershocks and it really scared the locals as it brings back the memories of May 12 and the 10,000 people that died in this city alone. My personal prayer for this trip for me as well as the team that I am with is that we can simply "encourage."

"In the last 4 years that I've been in is very clear that not a lot of emotion is shown on the outside. I have seen many tears and know the people are hurting inside...I can't even imagine what all they've been going through and seen with their own eyes images that can never be erased. My heart definitely goes out to each person I have come in contact with here.

My favorite times have been teaching and getting to know the people in the tent city. We've been able to go there on occasion and eat supper with locals there and play games of simply talk to people. This is so important so they have somebody to share the things they are holding inside. These people are so precious and such a personal inspiration to me. It's been heartbreaking to see middle school and high school students with tears in their eyes. One night a new friend from the tent city camp to visit us at the school we are working at...I'll never forget walking him down this dark road and then to where all the tents are. I started to cry later on that evening thinking about him living in a tent or Styrofoam home for the next 3 years...I can't even imagine that...but daily as I am spending time hear I am starting to understand and realize what so many people here are going through."

Please pray for Aaron and his team's safety. I'm Jim Burns, Aaron's Dad. That's something to think about.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer School is Educating our Church!

Gail Alsteiter, a friend from Lima I went to college with stopped by back when snow was on the ground to see the school building our church bought the Saturday after Christmas. As we walked through the building, Gail said, "You're going to be real busy this summer!" I wanted to slap him, because me being the expert in commercial building and school remodelling, I knew he was so wrong. I said, "Nope. We're going to have our first service here Easter!" I didn't tell Gail I meant Easter 2009.
Pictured above is a corner inside the Preschool room at our new building. This is where my wife, Coletta will teach children (Lord willing). Since April 3, the day our church took possesion of the Horace Mann School Building we haven't stopped. We have work nights every night but Fridays, and a workday every Saturday. Today, I walked through the building and across most of the property with Pat Ryan, President of Citizen's National Bank here in Van Wert. He came to give me a $45,000.00 check for the fire/water sprinkler contractor, and to get some "updated pictures." Pat said, "James, this place doesn't look any different than the last time I was here!" I said, "Thanks Pat. But, the sprinklers, fire alarms and burlgar alarms are now completed, and the Fire Marshel and State Inspector will check all that and the electric work next Monday. Once those items are approved, you're going to see some major changes!" Within two weeks, we should have all the ceiling tile back in all the hallways, and most of the classrooms. However, our giants before us are turning the gym into a church santuary, the stage, the nursery, and installing air conditioners. I was a bit discouraged with the project yesterday, just like most of our volunteers. So, I got out of town for the afternoon and evening,and it helped! I feel better today. I am NOT discouraged with our church volunteers! The ones that come work, work hard and tirelessly, and Coletta and I deeply appreciate your labors of love!

This project will be completed and a building dedication ceremony will be scheduled exactly according to God's timing! We are running thin in the finance department, so, we are down to faith and prayer. Please pray that our old building will sell soon, and that the needed funds will come in to complete this project. God has given us a beautiful 4 acre campus, a 40 place parking lot, a playground, a ball diamond, a front yard with trees, 11 large classrooms, offices and an auditorium. All of this is easily 4 times bigger than where we are now and we are so thrilled with what the Lord has given us at 501 E. Third Street here in Van Wert.

And about the "Summer School" educating our church? This too shall come to pass!

I'm Jim Burns, and that's something to think about!