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Dan & Mary Burt

Ministering to the Masses
(Southern Baptist Missionaries to Brazil - Retired)

Dan and Mary Burt

Dan and Mary Burt are both natives of Cleburne, Texas, and both went to Santa Fe
grade school, Fulton Junior High and Cleburne High School. Dan graduated
in 1943, joined the Navy and spent three years in service to his country.

After returning from service, Dan went back to school and earned a Bachelor
of Arts degree from Baylor University, and a Bachelor of Divinity and
Masters of Religious Education from Southwestern Baptist Seminary.

Mary went to Decator College and then to Howard Payne University where
she earned a Bachelor of Arts before entering the Seminary where she earned
a Masters of Religious Education

Dan and Mary now live in the Smith home-place where Mary was born in
1927. The Burt family and Smith Family had known each other since 1931.
Dan's dad put in service station on East Henderson in 1934 and Mary's dad
would drive up to the station and tell Dan's dad, "Fill it up with one," meaning
one gallon, which was about .07 cents.

Dan and Mary knew each other all through school, but only started dating
when Mary got out of Seminary, one month before they married. Dan was
almost 27 and was convinced that it wasn't good for man to live alone. Mary
was 26 and fearful that she was going to be an old maid. Dan proposed on
the night of her graduation from Seminary and they got married 30 days later.

Dan knew from first year of college that he wanted to prepare for the
ministry/mission work. Dan had accepted Christ as a youth at Henderson
Street Baptist Church. He was ordained as a minister at Field Street
Baptist Church.

Mary had also prepared for mission work and after graduation they married
and he pastored at Lone Willow some and then went on to pastor at Tolar,
Texas.

During Mary's last year at the Seminary, Dan would pick her up at 6:30 each
morning and take her to school. They were together every morning and Mary
said that she liked what she saw. During one of her devotionals in December
of that year, she heard the Lord telling her that Dan would be her husband.
She kept this her secret and told no one.

She had to take one more course to graduate and just before graduation, Dan
asked if he could come to her graduation. She said, "Sure," and the next night
he asked if she would be his wife, and she told him, "I've known it since
December."

At this point in Mary's story, Dan laughed and said, "The Lord hadn't said
anything to me about that. She had kept it a secret. I was fixing to go to
Washington and Oregon looking for a wife in a church and it ended up that
the wife was already here in Johnson County and the Church was too."

Dan made a commitment to missionary work in 1948 and in 1957 Dan and
Mary were appointed missionaries by the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission
Board.
Dan and Mary left New York City in December by ship headed to Brazil.
They left on one of the coldest days and arrived in Rio de Janeiro on
Christmas Eve, one of the hottest days of the year.

Dan Burt and family in Rio.

Looking up from the ship, Dan could see Sugar Loaf Mountain and he made
a commitment, saying, "Lord, just break my heart for Brazil."

"It seems like it was just yesterday we entered there and we spent 32 years there.
Mary was Church home missionary and I was the Field Missionary. Being
a field missionary was to evangelize wherever you had a chance, home, street,
local church, wherever it was. We have seen people come to know the Lord
on the football field, in the swimming pool and restaurants. It seems that God
gave us the talent and ability to reach out and touch people."

Dan with children at VBS.

Dan and Mary took 800 hours of language study in Campinas, Sao Paulo. After
language study, they went deep into the interior to the city of Goiania, not too
far from the new Capital of Brasilla. "They started in 1959 scratching out a
new city. We saw that city when it was just a dust bowl. The location was
geographically centered in Brazil. There were no paved roads, no airport and
no railroads serving the area. A lot of the construction material was flown in."

"The president knew that He had to finish the capitol, at least get the
government moved out there before his term of service was up, because in
Brazil, no man builds on another man's foundation. In 1962, they inaugurated
the city and people from all over Brazil began moving to the capitol-city. The
people cut family ties and church ties in order to move to the new city. We,
along with some other missionaries, had the privilege of planting God's word
in this new city."

The city was built in the shape of an airplane. The population today stands at
about 1,500,000.

Group working on new church.

From time to time, various groups from the states would come to Brazil to
spend a week and build a church. The cement slab would be poured before
they arrived and the pre-fab building could be erected in three days, then
they would have a two-day revival before returning to the states.

Brazil is a beautiful country, first with the rain forest where Dan thought they
were going first, the Amazon. Because of some health problems, the mission
board asked Dan and Mary to go to the southern part of Brazil, to the town
of Campinas, which had a population of 350,000 in 1967, and when they
left in '89, it was 1,200,000.

Dan's work area was approximately 250 miles long and 50 miles wide
containing six million people

Dan and Mary at their home in Campinas.

Dan and Mary lived in Goiania the first three years after finishing language
school and finally made it to Campinas in Sao Paulo and stayed there for 20
of the 32 years they were in Brazil. Dan calls Sao Paulo the Texas of Brazil.
Sao Paulo is the agriculture and cattle-raising center of Brazil.

Dan wasn't too sure about this animal.

In the 1960's there was very little manufacturing going on in Brazil and no
cars were being made. You were allowed to bring in one car per passport.
Today Brazil is very industrialized and has a large auto manufacturing industry.
The Japanese have come in and bought up mountains of iron ore. There are
also deposits of diamonds and silver making Brazil a very wealthy place. In
the 1980's, they started drilling for oil and today Brazil is a large oil
producing country.

The original natives of Brazil were nature worshipers. When the Portuguese
came in 1500 looking for riches, they soon became lonely and began to
interbreed with the native women. The Indians were what were called
red-skinned, the Portuguese were Caucasian, and that gave you just a little
different color. The Portuguese brought the Roman Catholic religion with
them and now that started to blend in with the native's nature worship.

During the slave trade days, 32% of the world's slave trade was in Brazil.
They would go into Africa and get the most robust, the strongest, with
good teeth, good structure and good health and bring them over and sell
as slaves. The Portuguese had already interbred with the Indians and now
the Portuguese and the Indians began to interbreed with the Africans. In
this mixture, we have what is called café con leche, or coffee with milk.
These were very smooth, olive skinned, intelligent people.

Here you have the mixture of Portuguese, Indian and African; you have
their religious beliefs, the nature worship, the Roman Catholicism and
the African Voo-Doo all combined into one religion. When you talk to
a Brazilian, they all believe in God, but they don't know the true living
God. When you approach them from the view that there is a loving God
and there is a living God and we are here to tell you about him, they just
open up. We saw a lot of growth, not only us, but other church groups
and other religions that had come over.

A good leader must be able to inspire others and Dan Burt is that type
person. One of the young men he mentored went on to enter the ministry
and then went to the mission field in Canada for several years before
returning to Brazil.

You could say that Dan and Mary Burt have had an influence on people
from one end of America to the other, both North America and South
America.

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