Chris Burch has been involved with Third Lens Ministries from nearly the beginning of the organization. College friends with Third Lens’ founder, Lee Carol, Burch jumped on board with the new organization relatively quickly.
“Lee founded Third Lens in 2009, and then he told me what he was doing,” Burch said. “When I heard about it, I told him I wanted to be involved. He knew that I was in construction, and he knew that I had also had a passion for serving the Lord however I could with my time and expertise.”
The first trip Burch took with Third Lens was to Honduras in October of 2010. The project was to help Predisan Health Ministries build a clinic in the community of Wasparani, located in an isolated mountain region.
“We came in and told them that we were there to help him,” Burch said. “That we were going to be coming back in a few months, and we were going to start construction on this building for them to build a medical clinic. So we called a meeting with all the members of the town. Then, while we were there, we went around to various different people and kind of figured out where we would get the materials from. It wasn’t easy for us. We were very far from a big city.”
One thing they did was have the townspeople help make the concrete blocks, which would be used to build the walls. There is a creek that runs through the town, so they used the water, sand and rocks from the creek mixed with cement to create the blocks using a block machine that was provided. Burch returned in March 2011, and all of the walls were built. The team then added the metal roof, electrical and other final pieces of the building.
Since 2010, Burch has helped with Third Lens’ projects in Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Uganda and another project in Honduras. These projects range from orphanages to visitation areas at a rehab center to churches to training facilities.
After working with so many people all over the world, a lot of moments have stuck with Burch over the years, including one from that very first trip to Honduras.
“There was this one guy that came down with us that week,” Burch said. “During the whole week we were always getting together as a team, we were doing devotionals. I’m not really gifted in that area. So I sort of said does anybody else want to do this besides me, I’d love to kind of divide it up so it’s not just me talking. There was one guy in particular that wouldn’t. We’d sit out for meals and stuff too, he wouldn’t. He never wanted to pray. If someone were to say does anybody want to say the blessing, he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t do any of that. But throughout the week, I started seeing this transformation. By the end of the week, this guy came to me and said that he wanted to lead sort of the closing. So that was really special.”
Burch ended up asking that same man for help with another project in Uganda. Burch wanted someone to stay there for a length of time to help oversee the construction and make sure there was no corruption or issues with the law. The man agreed to go and spent six months living there and helping with the project.
Burch serves as the treasurer for Third Lens and also owns his own construction company, Grand Bay Construction. He attended Auburn University and graduated with a Building Science degree. He also has a MBA and a minor in economic development from Auburn.