Lincoln & Win Burrow

Lincoln and Win Burrow served in Bolivia from 1939 to 1968 with The Bolivian Indian Mission, renamed the Andes Evangelical Mission in 1965 and now taken over by SIM.

Lincoln Burrow grew up in Greenhill Rd, Burnside. His mother Agnes Slape was married to Cecil Burrow, brother of Reg Burrow, which made him Rockie’s cousin. Lincoln was a singer and musician, who trained as a teacher and taught for 2 years on Eyre Peninsula, before going to Sydney Missionary Bible College and then on to Bolivia aged about 25 in 1939.

Lincoln taught in the Mission School for a couple of years and then met Walter Herron, a missionary pilot, who was described in his biography as Condor of the Jungle. Lincoln used his mechanical and innovative skills to help Wally develop the Missionary Aviation program for the Bolivian Mission, in the lowlands of the Beni district in the north of Bolivia (see blue map area).

Prior to that, only 2 other missions elsewhere in the world had begun to use a plane to get to distant places.

In 1941 Lincoln and Wally worked for a month to assemble the small new Piper Cub plane, shipped from USA in a gigantic crate, then by train to Cochabamba.                                                                   

Successful flight tests, were followed by an amazing journey to fly it out over the high mountains and down to the Beni lowlands.  After frustrating, daunting events, God worked miracles to get them a much needed, valuable supply of fuel and vital finance, from a grateful Bolivian Senator.

Wally and Lincoln visited towns in the Beni lowlands where Lincoln attracted a crowd by playing his concertina, while Wally preached the Gospel and sold Bibles.

They discovered isolated people with leprosy, shared the Gospel and brought them much needed medical supplies.

After 3 or 4 years of invaluable mechanical help with this first BIM plane, Lincoln felt a call to the Quechua people in the highlands, so he studied the language with his cousin Rockie and Irene at their little school in Cochabamba and this began a very strong bond between the cousins.

Being in Bolivia during the 1940’s war, Lincoln was able to make ends meet by repairing and cleaning watches, a skill learnt from his father.

With the war over he returned to Australia for his first furlough and married Win from Tumby Bay, Eyre Peninsula in 1946.  They went to Bolivia early in the next year and while Win learnt Spanish, Lincoln continued to study Quechua and ministered in San Pedro, (the original HQ of the mission, where his Uncle Reg and Aunt Hettie had served in the 1920s).

During this time two sons were born, Paul in 1947 and John in 1949. Lincoln also taught in and helped build the expanding Missionary Children’s School, located over the road from the Quechua Bible Institute and after a year’s furlough in 1952 they returned to Bolivia where Lincoln again taught in the same School in Cochabamba (now known as the Carachipampa Christian School with over 200 students from Missionary and Bolivian families). Their calling continued to be to the Quechua people, so they began an itinerant ministry to the small groups of Christians scattered around the city of Potosi, the tin mining ‘capital’ of South America. Finally they settled in the market town of Betanzos, partway between Sucre and Potosi, where Lincoln built a house and church complex and a strong and independent church and outreach ministry developed.  Betanzos became the centre of about 50 smaller house churches. During this term, Jim was born in 1956.

Back: Paul (eldest), John and Jim. Front: Lincoln, David and Win    
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Back: Paul (eldest), John and Jim. Front: Lincoln, David and Win

Their next furlough was extended, due to the surprise arrival of David (1961),

Lincoln, Win and the two youngest boys returned to Betanzos, but Paul and John needed to complete their secondary schooling, so they remained in Adelaide with their grandmother Agnes Burrow, widow of Cecil, (who had died in 1941, a few years after an amazing effort supervising the building of the new red brick church in 1939 and sanding the floor).

Lincoln and Win were good singers and musicians, so a key part of their open air evangelism was singing, accompanied by concertina. Lincoln prepared many music masters for the first Quecha hymn book, a laborious, manual process, working with Irene, wife of cousin Rockie and one other, resulting in many well-known hymns being translated and some of these were set to traditional Quechua tunes.

Eventually Jim also returned to Adelaide for his schooling, while Lincoln, Win and young David continued their main ministry building up the local church. A significant amount of time was spent on the road in a campervan, with David. This enabled them to minister for extended periods without imposing on the very poor villagers.  During this time Lincoln suffered from a duodenal ulcer requiring surgery and a lengthy period of recuperation.

After nearly 30 years’ service from 1939 to 1968, they returned to Win’s hometown of Tumby Bay, where Lincoln taught in the local school. On retirement they bought an old campervan and toured Australia visiting friends and relatives.

Eldest son Paul and wife Linda moved to Tumby Bay many years ago to keep a caring eye on Lincoln, who died in 2005, aged 91 and Win, who died a few years later. Youngest son David died a few years ago after battling cancer in his jaw, but never lost his faith.

Paul and Linda, who have been involved in church activities and Beach Missions, spent a few months in Bolivia several years ago and visited the church built by Lincoln back in the 1950s