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The Pastor’s Piece – March 20, 2022

The Pastor’s Piece

FCFI

March 20, 2022

Lately I’ve been reporting on the story of a ministry in Romania that has been taking in Ukrainian refugees as they flee their war-torn country. The work of this mission has been on-going. The pastor in Romania, who is a personal friend of ours, opened his campus to receive these refugees. A group of 70 children were first to come. A few days later they moved on to a safe home in Germany. Within hours, another group of children, moms and grandmothers arrived totaling about 50 people.  Some of the children in this group are special needs kids. It is exhausting work for our pastor friend and his volunteer staff to meet the demands of this ministry. But God is good, and with His help and provision, they have risen to the challenge.

It’s miraculous the way God brought it all together and allowed us to be involved. I give a shout out to each of you who have responded to these reports and sent money to help in this cause. When we see the pictures and videos of what is taking place over there, every decent, kind, and caring person wants to help those in such desperate need in some way, but how? Well, we pray for them and for the world leaders that this war will end. Praying is important, but many of us want to be hands on with our help, but going to Ukraine or Romania is not really in the equation. The next best thing we can do is offer assistance to those on the ground doing the work. And that is what we are doing. We’ve never asked for money, but out of compassionate hearts people have given anyway. And for those who gave, we offer a huge thank you. Every penny of your gift goes to the mission where little children, moms, and widows have warm clothes, comfortable beds, and full stomachs thanks to your generosity.  And to everyone else – thank you for your prayers. God in His grace, has provided abundantly. We are thankful. 

On the other side of the world, in the South American Amazon jungle another similar ministry is taking place. Before I get to the main story, you need to know the backstory … 

About ten years ago three missionary kids who grew up in Brazil came back to the United States to further their education after they graduated from high school. The three girls who are close in age, went to nurses school in Milwaukee where one became a Registered Nurse, another a Midwife, and another an EMT. While living here and attending school they got involved in foster care. Over a ten year period, four little girls were entrusted to their care. As they sought God’s direction for their lives, all three of them felt led to return to the Amazon Jungle to serve as teachers and house parents in the school they grew up in as missionary kids. Not wanting to turn their daughters back into the foster care system, they adopted them – all four – and took them to Brazil. It’s a fascinating story.  We got involved in their ministry through a short series of events that God made happen and we’re just excited to be involved.  

Following are excerpts from the latest email we received from them:

Dear Pastor Cernek and Martintown Community Church,

Just wanted to write and say thank you so much (for your involvement in the work here). We are grateful for your prayers, and for the privilege of joining you from afar with our prayers as you work alongside those in Ukraine and Romania. If we ever forget to pray about Ukraine, our girls remind us right away. They have been diligently praying about the whole situation every night when we have family devotions. 

A very quick update from us – We were able to spend the weekend in the city with our parents, at the mission base there. We had such a wonderful time catching up with them and the other mission workers currently at the base. Katelyn (one of the sisters) was able to reconnect with a Brazilian friend she went to Bible School with. She and her husband now work with the tribal group where we grew up. Her husband had just come back from a trip into the tribe and caught malaria while there. Please keep him in your prayers as he recovers–his name is Vitor.

Katelyn’s chickens are growing and being tended by her Animal Husbandry class. There are 26 of them and they will hopefully begin laying eggs in the next 2-3 months to help supplement the eggs we have to buy from town. Her gardening class has worked hard and planted a patch of vegetables and herbs behind the kitchen. We can use the food from that to help bring down the costs of feeding the students. They are all amazed to see their soil mixing techniques working so well. The soil here is terrible but they spent a lot of time building their dirt and the plants are quite vivacious as a result.

The high school students left early this morning for this semester’s camping trip. We had a time of prayer and worship on the dock before they left. I looked at their excited faces, the vast blue of the river, a hawk diving for a fish, and my girls examining a new bug. I heard the orioles singing and the water slapping the tree trunks of the flooded jungle. I was reminded that in the midst of war, rumors of war, famine, plague, and violence, our faith holds true. God is still Master of all. He is good and will fulfill His promises. He is the hope of all our longing hearts.

Praying for all of you and the situation in Ukraine. We are blessed and encouraged by you. 

God is good!

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