Listen: Sydney father-of-seven Christopher Welch chats with Clare Chate about his move to Peru to work among the poor.
Selling all your belongings and moving overseas to do unpaid volunteer work with the poor is a big step for anyone to take.
But what if you’re a husband and father of seven children – with one on the way?
Well, according to Christopher Welch, a broadcast engineer and father-of-seven from north-west Sydney, the idea couldn’t be more exciting. Early in 2016, he and his family will pack their bags and move to Peru, to work with the Diospi Suyana Hospital – high in the Andes, among the native Quechua people.
Chris will be using his skills as a broadcast engineer, to help set up a new media centre that will broadcast message of health, education and the gospel.
Their Move To Peru Inspired By A Kids’ Bedtime Story
Incredibly, this sea change began with a bedtime story that Chris and his wife Sandi were reading to their youngest kids.
“We read the stories from Geoff and Janet Benge, Christian Heroes, Then & Now, and we read the last one in the series, the book on Dr Klaus-Dieter John,” Chris explained.
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Dr Klaus-Dieter John is the founder of the miraculous Diospi Suyana Hospital, a world class hospital worth $10 million that he built on donations, to serve Peru’s poorest.
“We were so taken by it, and when we got to the last page there was a call for what was next, about [Dr Klaus’s] vision of transmitting radio over the Andes.”
Straight away Chris felt that he could use his skills to contribute. So he emailed his resume to Dr Klaus at the Diospi Suyana Hospital, and waited for a reply.
Before an answer even came, Chris saw his first miracle, in the form of an ad for some technical equipment.
“Some test equipment that was available online on a Gray’s Online auction, being sold off from a Commonwealth project that had finished,” he said.
“It was the equipment we would need to do this sort of a project. So my wife and I spoke and agreed in faith – having not yet heard back from Peru – that we would buy it.
“So we bought the gear, brought it home, put it on the floor of our house, went and got a cup of tea, sat down on our couch—and the phone rang. It was Klaus!”
“God Prepared Us” For The Adventure Of A Lifetime
Dr Klaus has welcomed Chris and his family to the hospital project with open arms, and has signed them up for a three-year commitment to the hospital’s work.
As broadcast manager, Chris will look after studio fit-outs, and planning and rollout of transmission sites.
“That’s towers, transmitters, generators, things that you need to retransmit broadcasting television and radio to communities,” he said.
Already he feels God has prepared them in many ways for their new adventure.
“We saw the poverty and the need that’s out there, and saw that we could so easily help.”
He and his eldest son Jake, 16, have been to places like Cambodia on short term mission trips, and have had a taste of humanitarian work.
“We saw the poverty and the need that’s out there, and saw that we could so easily help,” he said.
Not only that, but Chris’s second eldest son Sam (14) is a mountain biker and can’t wait to get to Peru to start his altitude training – over 2.6 km above sea level.
As for the rest of his seven children – (Isaac, 12, Sarah, 9, Georgia, 7, Solomon, 4 and Jessica, 2 – they’re all busy learning Spanish and are looking forward to the move.
“We’ve loved missions for a long time; we’ve got a heart to see the gospel get out to everybody without discrimination,” Chris said. “And here’s an opportunity to see the gospel delivered to all of Peru, which is 30 million people.”
To find out more or support the Welch family in their venture, see the Welch Family Mission page on the Lifesource Christian Church website.