Artist, Preacher, Substitute Teacher. Tim uses his talents as an artist to encourage and challenge listeners to follow an incredible God to anywhere He will take them. Tim has an art ministry called “God’s Graffiti” where he travels everywhere proclaiming Jesus through word and art and encouraging the Body to use their gift. He has worked in student ministry for over 20 years, pastors camps, speaks at schools and in his free time substitute teaches. Tim and his wife Sherry, just became empty nesters! Their two children, Victoria and Tanner attend Murray State University. Victoria has served as a CentriKid staffer and will serve with MFuge this coming summer. The Bertram’s are a FUGE family. They live and serve in Paducah, Kentucky. You can find out more about Tim and God’s Graffiti Ministry at www.godsgraffiti.org
I remember the first year I stopped taking students to Centrifuge and started taking them to MFuge. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Centrifuge, but I was looking for something that would push my students to the next level in their spiritual growth and MFuge was just the place! Many of the students shared their displeasure with me changing their camp experience. Several thought that I had lost my mind!
Summer came. We arrived on campus at Belmont University and camp began. The students were excited, but a few were still unsure of the change in venue. After the first full day of being on site, three of my freshmen boys found me and said, “We need to talk to you”. My heart sank and my thoughts immediately ran to something going terribly wrong. I just knew they were going to tell me that we should have never changed camps.
We sat down together in the dorm room and they began to share with me about their day. All three boys were in the same track. They went to a Metro Nashville Parks facility where they were playing basketball with the children who hang out at the center. While playing basketball, they noticed a young boy named Cheico. Cheico was around nine years old and wore glasses. They told me that the lenses from his glasses kept falling out of the frames when he played. The glasses were taped together and fragile. Because the lenses kept falling out, Cheico had to quit playing basketball for the day because that was his only pair and his mother could not afford to buy him a new pair. This broke my student’s hearts. They thought no one should have to quit playing basketball because of broken glasses. What they shared with me next brought me to tears. “Bro. Tim, we want to buy him a new pair!” I have to admit, I have never been more proud of my students than at that time.
We managed to get the prescription from Cheico’s mother by working with our MFuge staff and a Metro Parks Coordinator. When we returned home from camp, the boys brought me money they had collected…what a humbling experience! With their money and the help from a church member (who was more than happy to help after he heard the story), we hooked Cheico up with a brand new pair of really cool “X-Games” glasses. We packed them. Prayed over them. Then mailed them out.
That day these students saw a need. Their hearts were moved with compassion and, they acted to meet the need. James chapter 2 in action!
I will never forget that story. It is one of my favorite camp stories to date. I have been involved in student ministry for many years. I have often wondered, “do they get it?” That summer, I got to witness first hand God working through three teenage boys to meet the need of a young boy. They definitely got it! [Read more…]