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Steve and Alene Burgert

Retired Missionaries to Kenya
"Faithful Stewards of God's Grace"
By Beth Muehleisen, Director of Human Resources, June 2022

After serving in Kenya at Tenwek Hospital and in field leadership since 2009, Steve and Alene Burgert retired on June 30, 2022. 

For Steve and Alene, the call to become involved in international missions came after they served twice for four-week stints at Tenwek Hospital in 2006 and 2008, utilizing Steve's skills as a gastroenterologist/endoscopist. Alene’s call was to serve with him, and she cultivated many meaningful connections along the way. 

During their first years as missionaries, Steve and Alene were involved with ministries at and through the hospital that included medical and spiritual care. While Steve worked at the hospital, Alene taught in the chaplaincy program and facilitated prison ministry. Eventually, they both were asked to serve in leadership roles—Alene serving as the Kenya Area Team Leader and Steve as Tenwek Hospital’s Medical Superintendent. 

They found that the greatest blessings of their time in Kenya were the close relationships that developed between national Kenyans and themselves. These relationships became valuable cross-cultural bridges especially during the challenges that they faced—seasons of civil unrest, the Sue Steury Building fire at Tenwek, and the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few. 

While Steve and Alene went to Kenya to “do” for the Lord, they look back now and see that God used their service to conform them more closely to the image of His Son. In Alene’s words, “My mission service impacted me much more than I impacted others. It was more about God transforming me through the relationships and circumstances encountered than about my influence on any project or ministry I became part of.” 

Steve said that an important lesson he learned was that his investment in equipping and empowering Africans superseded anything that he personally did, since those individuals will provide growth and sustainability into the future, and they will become a greater long-term legacy to the glory of God. 

In retirement, they do not plan to just sit on the sidelines. They want to be active participants in what God is doing where He has now called them. Steve plans on making annual trips back to Tenwek Hospital to provide medical care and training, as well as working one or two days a week at a local hospital near their home in California. He will continue serving on the board of the Friends of Tenwek charitable organization.  

Alene is currently caring for her elderly parents and is considering an invitation to join a local hospice team as a chaplain. Meanwhile, she will be pursuing online studies in Biblical Hebrew.

Steve and Alene would like to express their deep gratitude to WGM for the excellent leadership, support, facilitation, and member care that they received during their years of service.

First Peter 4:10 conveys their hearts’ desire for themselves and for each follower of Christ: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms” (NIV). This is how Steve and Alene have sought to live and hope to continue living—serving their Lord and those around them.
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