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FCFI Helping Farmers Recover from Tornado Damage in Kentucky

Three young ladies from Martintown Community Church in Wisconsin untangling barbed wire

After the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, it was time to head back to western Kentucky to help farmers recover from the devastating tornadoes of December 10, 2021.  Our base camp was moved from Moors Resort on Kentucky Lake to Dexter-Hardin United Methodist Church.  Work continues on farms near the resort, where extensive tree damage downed fences that contain cattle, horses, goats, and other livestock.  The Fellowship of Christian Farmers Disaster Relief Operations assembles volunteer crews to clear trees and rebuild fence to help farmers maintain their livestock.

New barbed wire and T posts from the Marshall County Co-Op being assembled by our hard working crew.

Report from FCFI chaplain and pastor of Martintown Community Church Kevin Cernek:

Hello again,

“This is my promised daily Kentucky update. We had another good day. We had four crews working various jobs and meeting interesting people. It’s been pretty wonderful being able to help and encourage people facing devastating losses in their lives. We’ve been clearing up mangled trees, building fences and outbuildings, meeting people and even praying with them. We’ve had to time build relationships during the day and reminisce in the evenings. Last night we even had an impromptu music concert in the lobby. The girls sang a couple of beautiful hymns to the accompaniment of a guitar player in our group. Tonight, the hotel staff were asking for another concert. We will have a full report on everything when we get back. I know it’s cold up there, but here, God blessed us with a beautiful day of sunshine and mid 40’s temps.

Thanks for praying.

Pastor Kevin”

New horse and goat barn rebuilt at the farm where we worked two weeks ago.  We had an opportunity to visit and see the progress there.

Much progress has been made to the farm we worked at just before Christmas.  A small horse barn is taking shape, and most of the debris from the destroyed house, garage, and barns has been moved out to the road for pick-up.

Here is the second update from Kevin Cernek:

Dear Martintown Church,

“We wrapped up Day 3 today. The Construction crew finished building two sheds. They used the materials available.  Bought some of their own and salvaged what they couldn’t buy. They did great work. The owner commented that he had never had such well built sheds on his property. (I think he’s right).

The skid loader and chainsaw crew spent 3 days cleaning up downed trees and debris. They cut and cut and moved huge trees with their grapples and made huge piles to be burned later. After a day and half on one farm, they moved to another about 20 miles away. This man had lost his expectant wife and child last June. Later he lost his job, started a greenhouse business, and then the tornado hit. The skid loader and chainsaw crew cleaned up his property over the last day and a half. He was beyond grateful.

The fencing crew fenced what seemed like 100 miles of fence on one farm, (probably more like two) then moved to the above mentioned farm this afternoon where we patched and replaced the fence around a five acre pasture.  When we pulled out of there at sunset, his property was in tip top shape. His mule, Steve, will be happy to be back home tomorrow.

Cindy Cernek and  Heide Kuhlemeier made our noon meal each day, (then joined our fencing team in the afternoon until sundown.) We ate really well. The hotel provided breakfast and dinner. Nobody went hungry unless they preferred sleep over food (there were a couple of them).

Working together as a team from MCC has been a great experience for all of us. We did in three days what would take these individual landowners 2 or 3 years to complete on their own. There is a lot of satisfaction in that. All glory and honor to God.

Tomorrow morning we head north to home, hoping to arrive about 3:00 p.m. or so. We plan to be at Bible study and prayer meeting at 6:00. Hope to see you then. Please pray for safe travel. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to serve in this way.

God’s best to you.
See you soon.

Pastor Kevin”

Beautiful new barbed wire weaving its way through the tree damage.  

Fence building is the immediate need in western Kentucky’s rural areas, to keep livestock in place.  Several miles have been completed by FCFI volunteers.  At the current site, the land owners have cleared most of the trees thus far, although the Fellowship of Christian Farmers Area Leader Mike Weaver is always armed and ready with a chain saw and uses it frequently on the worksite.

Kevin Cernek with volunteers from Martintown Community Church tightening barbed wire before fastening

Kevin Cernek’s third and final report from this week’s trip:

“Greetings from Pastor Kevin!

This will be a quick note as I have been writing to you all week. Our trip home from Kentucky went well. We had an engine start to sputter about an hour outside of Paducah, but because of the prayers of God’s people, in His sovereign grace, He took care of the problem. We had balmy 50 degree weather to work in on Wednesday, but by Thursday morning it was snowing and cold. The first couple hours heading north we drove through heavy snow and slippery roads, but then everything cleared up and we had no issues. (It’s not very often one drives out
of snow by going north – but it wasn’t long until the sun was shining brightly).We arrived home about 3:45. The mud in the tracks on the track loaders froze nice and tight on the ride home so they had to be parked in heated shops for clean up this morning.

We had an enjoyable evening at church last night reminiscing about the trip. We were able to help four families in their recovery efforts. Our goal was to leave them in a good place – a place where they could finish what we started. Some of us were able to
pray with the landowners on whose property we were working. We worked hard. Time was short. God blessed the work of our hands and now we pick up at home where we left off a few days ago. Thanks to everyone who went and to those at home who took care of business so we could go. We couldn’t have done it without your support. Thank you for the prayers and the notes along the way. It was truly a team effort. We might even do it again sometime.

Thanks for your prayers.
See you on Sunday.
God’s best to you in every way,

Pastor Kevin”

If you have been to the FCFI Home Office in Lexington, IL, then you most likely have been greeted by Pako.  Here he is supervising the disaster relief project in Kentucky.

New Video of Disaster Relief in Kentucky!

Thank you to all who volunteered to help with disaster relief in Kentucky.  There is much to do to restore the people of western Kentucky to a position of peace and security.  Area Leader Mike Weaver is heading to Louisiana this week to continue the clean up from Hurricane Ida, but he will return to Kentucky soon to continue the good work there.  Thanks for your support!