Fellowship of Christian Farmers
By Kevin Cernek
April 19, 2020
Following are my journal entries from March 23-26.
Day 1: For the next three days I’m on a reconnaissance mission to get my wife and mother in law out of Florida. They won’t fly because of the coronavirus so it’s gotta be a ground attack. We’re avoiding any human contact on this trip, since said mother in law is in the high risk category should she catch the virus.
I preached a sermon today on why we need to pray and I gave the congregation an assignment and a prayer. I asked them to set a reminder on their phones to go off every day at 12 noon and pray this prayer together with all the others from Martintown Community Church:
Dear God, I come before you with a humble heart, I confess my waywardness to you, my God and Savior, cleanse me with the blood of Christ, I pray. Please dear God, may this pandemic reveal to the entire world your greatness and your Almighty power. Bring us to our knees before You, and Lord, bring relief I pray. In Jesus Name, Amen.
(P.S. You can pray it too. Imagine what God will do when He hears this prayer from His people every day at noon).
It’s 12:45 p.m. My trip begins now. I’ve asked the Lord to get me safely to Nashville before I rest.
Day two: I arrived in Nashville last night just after sunset. I made camp at Fort Katie (our daughter and son in law’s home). The trip from Martintown to Nashville was a mix of all kinds of weather. The sun was out when I left. Just south of Rockford I ran into snow which slowed me down a little. Then the snow turned to sleet and eventually rain. I motored on undeterred. Although I had vowed not to gas up in Illinois due to my dislike for the 19 cent gas tax the politicians added on last summer, nonetheless, I stopped at a Love’s truck stop in Effingham when I saw 1.64 flashing on their neon sign. (I was also down to a quarter of a tank – so I had to get gas anyway). From there I drove non-stop to Nashville. After friendly hellos and two delicious bowls of homemade chicken soup, it was goodnight and I hit the hay. I slept well and headed out at first light.
I didn’t pay close attention to my GPS programming when I left and I found myself driving the back roads of Tennessee on my way to Florida. It was a good mistake on my part. The scenery was beautiful – small farmsteads with green pastures dotted with black angus cows and their new baby calves lying beside them. “I could live here,” I said out loud to no one. After a little more than an hour of meandering through the winding roads of the Tennessee countryside, I found my way back to the Interstate and it was pedal to the metal – Fort Myers or bust. I figured it would take about 13 hours.
Day three: Made it to my destination last night in exactly twelve hours real time. The roads had very little traffic due to the pandemic. Travel was easy. I drove through downtown Atlanta, Georgia at high noon yesterday – never even had to slow down. That’s a first. Once in Florida I enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by my wife. My food the previous day was cheese and water, by choice. I slept well and was up at first light this morning and loaded the truck. By sunrise we were on the trail again. Destination: Nashville.
The food supply has been replenished. Today I’ve got sandwiches, roast beef, nuts and cheese. The food ran out yesterday. I came in empty. There’s no chance of that happening today. The restaurants are all closed. We stopped along the way and filled up at Love’s truck stops. I discovered that Love’s are always out in the country and it was easy to find a back road to tailgate on.
About an hour south of Nashville somewhere in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, just after dark and in a driving rain, all three of our cell phones suddenly began to sound a weather warning. It was quite disquieting to say the least. “TORNADO WARNING! A TORNADO HAS BEEN SPOTTED IN YOUR AREA. FIND SHELTER IMMEDIATELY! Well, it just “so happened” there was an exit right there, so I took it. Turns out it was a rest area. We pulled in and waited out the storm along with several dozen other travelers. There wasn’t much else we could do. Thankfully, it missed us and we were soon back on the road. Turns out it missed everybody and never touched down – PTL! We pulled into Fort Katie’s about 9 o’clock. After a delicious meal we turned in, slept well, and were up at the crack of dawn for our final day on the road.
Day four: After belated goodbyes and a couple extra cups of coffee, we were back on the trail heading north. The drive from Nashville to Wisconsin went without a hitch. We made it home before sunset.
Next day reflections: this was a great week. There were hardly any cars on the road and gas was a buck sixty a gallon. That will never happen again. The tailgating and picnicking was great. We pulled off the Interstate and down a country road and tailgated in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I still have red Georgia clay on my truck tires and I don’t want to wash it off. I hate the way the country is shut down, but if it wasn’t for the shutdown we would not have made this trip. That’s my silver lining. I’ll be telling this story to my grandkids someday.
God is good. “If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways,” (Psalms 91:9-11).
P.S.S. We’re still praying at noon everyday.