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The Pastor’s Piece – June 12, 2022

The Pastor’s Piece


June 12, 2022

Our family has done a lot of grieving the last couple of weeks over the loss of our nephew’s little boy, but our faith is well-grounded and we are trusting God in all His Sovereignty to bring good out of this tragedy. I’d like to dedicate this column to reprinting my great nephew’s obituary:

Christian Joseph Cernek, 2, of Secor, passed away on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was born November 24, 2019 in Peoria to Jacob and Samantha (Zehr) Cernek). 

Surviving are his parents, Jacob and Samantha Cernek of Secor, two brothers Elias and Micah, two sisters Ember and Hannah; grandparents, Alan (Joan) Zehr of Graymont, IL, Dean (Kristine) Cernek of Peyton, CO; great-grandparents, Warren Joseph (Norma) Zehr of Normal, IL, Melvin (Glenna) Rocke of Lexington, IL, Dean (Jane) Cernek of Gratiot, WI, George (Vee) Miller of Mountain Home, AR; aunts and uncles, Aaron (Megan) Zehr of Eureka, IL, Jenny (Sean) Gilbert and Jesse (Todd) Wood both of Peyton, CO; and his cousins, Kaitlyn, Levi, Melanie, Thia and Timmy.

Christian was an energetic, charming little boy.  He had the most beautiful blue eyes and smile. He made friends everywhere he went.  If you came over to his home, he’d take your hand immediately and insist on showing you his bedroom. You couldn’t say no to his sweet smile. He was adored by his siblings and they loved to drag him along in their adventures.  Christian loved to be outside, either on the tractor with his daddy, playing in the dirt and rocks or just running around with his siblings. But, he also loved doing puzzles, which he was extremely good at for his age, and driving his trucks all over the house. 

Even with 4 siblings, Christian loved to share. He was always so kind to share his snacks, whether you wanted some or not. Christian’s final act was to share the gift of life with others through “Gift of Hope”. So, cover those families with your prayers as they receive the organs they so desperately needed. Even though we didn’t get our miracle, they are getting theirs. His body may be gone, but his soul is with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is through his death on the cross that we will see Christian again in eternal life. We aren’t sure why God took him, but we are trusting in God’s sovereignty. 

Christian’s passing leaves a hole in the heart of everyone who knew him.  We trust that Christian’s passing will reignite your passion for Christ and for your family.  We take comfort in Jesus and see his love for children in Matthew 19:14.  Jesus said to “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  May we all have faith like that of a child from this moment on.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, June 10, 2022 at Eureka Bible Church (1452 Church Rd, Eureka, IL 61530). A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, June 11, 2022 at Eureka Bible Church.  Pastor Aaron Zehr and Pastor Dean Cernek will officiate.   Burial will be in Waldo Cemetery in Flanagan, IL.  Memorials may be made to his family through Eureka Bible Church.

Online tributes and condolences may be made at

This bears repeating: Death is “the last enemy that Jesus will abolish,”  (1 Corinthians 15:26). In heaven there will be no accidents, no ambulances, no helicopters, no hospitals, and no organ donors. We will never have to say good-bye again – ever.  

All hope is not lost. As impossible as it seems now, there is hope in death. No one stays dead. “Death cannot hold its prey,” Peter said in Acts 2:24. Jesus said all those the Father has given Me, I will keep. No one can take them away from Me,” (John 10:28-29). “Sorrow lasts for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Psalms 30:5).  

I can’t wait for that eternal morning!

(Kevin Cernek is Lead Pastor of Martintown Community Church in Martintown, Wisconsin)