Romanian Ministries Update

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Dear Philippian Fellowship,

50 YEARS OLD!  How in the world did that happen???  As I sit here and reflect on the thought that I just turned 50 years old yesterday, and to think that half of those 50 have been spent here in Romania, I am overwhelmed by the love and encouragement that so many have been to us to allow us the privilege to serve the Lord here for that length of time.  God continues to guide us and direct our steps.

We are very thankful for your faithful prayers and support in August and September. We had the privilege to host approximately 1,000 people at Camp Eli this summer, and over 100 accepted Christ as Savior.  Thanks again for your investment!

I was able to travel to the states for a short time in September to take Zach and Ionut to the Word of Life Bible Institute in Hudson, FL.  What a joy to visit with a few friends and supporting churches during this brief visit!  They are doing well and adjusting to life in America.  They are living with my parents (Ziemers) and keeping them on their toes I am sure!  Notice their two pictures taken a couple years apart!!!

The Sunday before I left, I had the opportunity to baptize Vali and Madalin.  Vali got saved within the last couple years and has been very encouraged by the others in our young families small group to follow Christ!  We led Madalin’s parents to Christ a few years ago, and he has grown up in our church.  Upon returning from the states we baptized Dary, Traian, Gina, and Flory.  Dary is from Fundulea and was raised by his grandparents.  He was part of our children and youth programs growing up but had strayed far from the Lord.  God used some extremely difficult physical ailments to get ahold of him this year.  His wife Valentina is now in our new believer’s class preparing for baptism.  Traian and Gina accepted Christ earlier this year, and along with their niece Flory, are from our church plant in Florica.  They have been a huge source of encouragement for brother Lucian and the team that is ministering in this town and neighboring villages!

October 5 also brought the arrival of our first grandson into the world.  Joshua Matthew Ziemer made his arrival and we praise the Lord for a healthy baby and a safe delivery.  Alina and Joshua are doing great, it is awesome to watch Michael as a father to his young son!  We are planning furlough this winter, so it will be hard to be apart as he makes those first little growth spurts!  We will be greatly anticipating May 22 to see them again, as they are remaining here in Romania.

We are planning a trip to South Africa in November as I have been asked to speak at the Word of Life summer camp there for children and teens.  Obviously, it will delight our hearts to minister alongside Corina, but also the directors there, John and Christy Page.  They are great friends from college, and I was actually in their wedding years ago!

Mid December we return to the states for five months and look forward to time with family, friends, and faithful partners in the ministry.  Pray with us also as we once again need to make some new contacts to raise our support level to the needed amount.  God continues to expand the ministry and along with this comes the need for new resources.  He has been faithful for 25 years, and I believe will remain faithful!

Gerald and Kristin Ziemer


Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

November, 2019

Dear Friends,

Romania is in the middle of elections for a new president. We had the privilege along with some of our teenagers to meet the existing President and shake his hand. He came to a rally in Lugoj. Our teenagers were so excited to be there. It will be something they will remember for a long time. Please pray for the people of Romania that they will go out and vote. The elections are on Sunday, November 24.

One Saturday we went for a very strenuous hike to the top of one of the mountains close by. We took all the children and teenagers with us. Everyone started out so excited but about halfway to the top, we started to get complaints. It was the most challenging hike most of them had been on in their lives. The view at the top was beautiful. And, we found a one room shelter built into the side of the mountain. Someone had made it for those who needed a place to stay for a night. It had firewood, a table and a chair and a bed. There was even a guest book to write in. Everyone thought it was neat. After resting for a while and eating, we started to hike down. It was almost harder than the way up because of the steep terrain. Oh, the knees were feeling it by the time we got home. Once we conquered the mountain, then the children and teenagers were proud. They forgot about how tough it had really been.

Fall marks the time when the churches have Harvest Sunday. People bring produce from their gardens and all kinds of other food items. Then, the churches bless people by giving it to them. We have been blessed to receive food from two different churches. Our storeroom is full. God is so good and faithful.

Last week at the food bank, a gentleman 80 years old came. He had ridden his bicycle 9 miles to get there. He was so humble and only wanted a few things. This was humbling for us but also rewarding to be able to help him. We blessed him with a full sack of food. He was so thankful.

Our boiler that is responsible to provide heat and hot water for the orphanage and our home is 15 years old. It needs to be replaced. We have looked around for the one that would best meet our needs here. The one that we found costs around $7000. If anyone would like to participate in helping us to meet this need, it would be a blessing for us.

We are very thankful for all of you who pray for us and who give to us financially. During this Thanksgiving season, we pray all of you can enjoy family and friends and reflect on all the blessings in your lives.

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

October, 2019

Dear Friends,

We have been taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather with cookouts and bicycle rides. One Sunday afternoon, we took all the children and teenagers for a two-hour bike ride. The younger ones were amazing. They kept up with everyone. They would see a hill and say that they couldn’t do it. But we would ride beside them and encourage them. Before they knew it, they were at the top. This is a life lesson, too. We shouldn’t focus on the hills/problems before us but keep going step by step. With others’ encouragement, we become overcomers and make it to the top of the hill.

We received another shipment of food and clothes from Lidl Discount supermarket. Each donation helps to supplement the cost of food that we need to buy every week for the food bank. And what is amazing, some of the food given to us is very expensive. No one would be able to purchase it. And the needy people are getting it free. God is so good. The new place is working out well. It is big enough to have the shelves with food as well as tables for clothes. We have had some new people come. One father came who has 15 children. He was thankful for the help. Another girl was in her late twenties and already had 8 children.  Another lady had just lost her job and needed help until she could find another job. Seeing the joy and thankfulness on these faces brings joy to us as well.

We took everyone to church in Timisoara this month. A man was there who leads worship and worship seminars all over Romania. He led us in some worship songs. The anointing of God was so strong. The music touched our teenagers, too. When we were leaving, someone gave us some money to spend on the children. That week we weren’t going to have a cook on Friday. So, we used the money to buy pizza for everyone. It was delicious. Again, God provided for our needs.

School is going fine. It keeps everyone busy most of the week. The children and teenagers look forward to a break on Saturday and Sunday. Please continue to lift all the children and teenagers in prayer as they are in school. They face a lot of challenges. Our prayer for them is that they will all be overcomers.

We really do appreciate and thank you for your prayers and financial gifts. They continue to keep God’s ministry going here in Romania. May you all enjoy this fall.

Again, we want to say thank you for all your prayers and finances. They encourage us and keep us going. With God as our source, we can continue in peace, knowing it is His work and He is in control.

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

September, 2019

Dear Friends,

We arrived safely back in Romania. God blessed us in a special way on our trip. We didn’t have our seats assigned before we got to the airport. They gave us random ones in Springfield. They told us the flights were full. When we boarded the plane in Chicago to go to Frankfurt (an 8-hour flight), every seat was taken. When we finally found our seats, Karen was so excited. The seats were on the front row with lots of leg room! Amazing. Plus, one of the movie selections was “Breakthrough”, a great Christian film. God is always full of surprises.

Another example of God’s faithfulness happened with the clothes that our children and teenagers needed for school. A church from the USA had sent clothes for everyone to start school with. But the boxes hadn’t come yet. They arrived the weekend before school was going to start. So, everyone could go to school with a new outfit. We want to thank all of you who sent the clothes. They were great. School finally started this week. We will have lots of meetings to go to as we have children and teenagers in every grade except for seventh and ninth grade. Please pray for our children that they have a good school year.

We went to visit the children in Pesac. We had backpacks to give them to start school with. They were so excited to see us. It is always fun to bless them and see the smiles on their faces. Education is one tool that can help them to better their lives. We encourage them to stay in school for as long as they can. We tell our children the same thing. Some of them are beginning to see it.

We have found a more permanent place for the food bank. The rooms are bigger. It is free for us to use. God is good. It needs some work done to it, but we can at least start there for now. We plan to move by the end of this month. We still have a crowd every Wednesday when we open the doors. We are thankful that we can help meet this need.

 Again, we want to say thank you for all your prayers and finances. They encourage us and keep us going. With God as our source, we can continue in peace, knowing it is His work and He is in control.

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

August, 2019

Dear Friends,

This summer has been extremely hot in Romania. Our children have been swimming almost every day. Since we don’t have air conditioning anywhere to cool off, the river is the best place. The older children have cleared an area on one of the banks of the river and made it look like a beach. They bring down towels and umbrellas and stay all afternoon. We were given several rafts and a big unicorn that they love to float on. So, the days go by rather quickly.

We had a busy couple of weeks with a group who came from Illinois. Some of the group has been so faithful to come year after year to bless not only our children but the children of Pesac and many others, including us. Thank you so much for your sacrifices. We weren’t able to rent a camp to take the children of Pesac to so we did a day camp for two days instead. We went to a park in a nearby town. We played games and did some crafts and singing. The part they loved the most was pizza for lunch. Wow, could they eat pizza. It was fun to watch. Since we were about two and a half hours away, we took all of our children and teenagers with us and stayed all night in Timisoara. We were right across the street from the mall. After serving others all day, we treated our children to a night at the mall. Everyone had a great time.

Another fun day we had with the group was going to the waterpark. With so many smaller children, we needed everyone’s help to keep track of them. There were several slides which we all went up and down many times. Once again, it was really hot so the water felt great. We did another cook-out for the village. This time we had a lot more children. We had games and crafts for them. We also cooked 200 little chicken legs plus hot dogs. Everything was gone in a very short time.

With everyone’s help, we finished cleaning out the attic. We had accumulated a lot of things in the garage, too. So, the extra beds and furniture we had, we gave to another ministry which does camps for children. They were so excited. Then, we had a garage sale with the rest of the things. We sold almost everything but the skis. We weren’t surprised since it was almost 100 degrees that day. Snow was the last thing on people’s minds.

Our children and teenagers still have almost a month left of vacation. Everyone is thankful for that. We are thankful for each of you who pray for us. Prayer is so vital to our ministry. Also, thank you for your financial gifts which are so important. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

July, 2019

Dear Friends,

Summer is moving along. Our children have been swimming a lot, riding bikes and playing soccer. The eight younger ones went to camp for a week. They had a great time. They met new friends and did lots of activities. Everyone was so excited when they got home. We also took all the children and teenagers to Timisoara one Sunday. After church, we went to the mall for lunch. The teenagers enjoyed walking around the mall. Then, we went to the children’s park. There are many fun things for the children to play on. We ended the day with pizza in the park in Lugoj before heading home. It was a long but fun day.

A friend of ours from Germany and her friend came to stay with us for a week. They were a big help playing with the children and keeping them busy. They also took them swimming every day and out for ice cream. We want to thank them for all they did for us. We had another friend of ours also come this month. He calls himself Dimples. He dresses up as a clown. He did a program for our children and those in the village. Everyone loved it. He made all of them a balloon shaped like something at the end. He was a blessing for us.

We went to four villages near Sibiu with Dimples, too. He did his program for around 300 children. The expressions on the children’s faces was priceless. At the end, he prayed with them. We also gave food and clothing to one of the villages where the people are extremely poor. It was a joy to be able to bless these people and see them laughing and enjoying themselves. A little bit of laughter can go a long way.

The owner of the place where we have the food bank has agreed to let us stay there for now. Thank you for your prayers. We continue to have around 40 people come each week for food. Some of them walk a mile to get the food. We know there are more people who need help. We are praying for God’s plan on how to expand.

Esmi turned 18 in June. She has decided not to go to school any more. She wants to be on her own without our help. So, she is living in Lugoj now and working on and off. Please pray for her as she struggles to find her way. We are praying for her salvation and that she will let God direct her path.

Thank you for all your prayers and financial support. They are a such a big help. We wanted to let you know that we will be in America from July 29-September 5. We would enjoy hearing from you while we are there. Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

June, 2019

Dear Friends,

Summer is officially here. The rain has stopped. The temperatures are very hot. The children and teenagers are finished with school. Cosmin, who is in fourth grade, finished first in his class. From first to fourth grade, the children are graded with a very good, good, satisfactory and unsatisfactory. Cosmin is our first child to get only very good, every year in every class. We are very proud of him. Our prayer for him is that he continues to work hard in his schoolwork.

Last week a group of Americans were here. They blessed the children and teenagers, the village and us abundantly. The fire department told us that we were not allowed to have anything in our attic above the orphanage. So, the group helped us to clear it out and put it all away. They sorted through bags and boxes of clothes. It was a huge job, but it is all done now. The storeroom looks great. They also did songs, Bible study and prayer with everyone in the evening. The young children loved learning the new songs.

We visited our widows again and blessed them with a box of food and gifts from the group. They love to have visitors. The group was able to pray with many of them, too. On one evening, we invited the people of the village to come to our park for games, etc. for the children and for a barbeque. It had been raining all week, but God held off the rain that evening so we could have the party. It only rained about five minutes when we were singing some songs. Around 100 children and adults came. It was amazing. Everyone loved it. It was a great time of fellowship. Most of the people there were not Christians, so it was wonderful to be able to bless them.

The group also invited all our children and teenagers to go out to dinner in Lugoj at a very nice restaurant. Everyone got dressed up. They all loved it. It was special for them. We took pictures out by the pool. The highlight of the week was when all the children and teenagers received a new bicycle. The looks on their faces were priceless. They have been riding them non-stop since then. We want to thank the group so much for their generosity and planting many seeds about Jesus and family.

The food bank is going great. The word got out in Lugoj about us. The next week we had over 50 people come. It is fun to help those in need. Unfortunately, we may have to change locations. Please agree with us in prayer that we can get just the right place that God wants us to have. The need to assist families with food is there. We are excited that through God’s help, we can fulfill that need.

Thank you for your generous gifts which help us to continue the ministry that God has called us to. Your prayers are so important, too. We pray you have a wonderful summer.

 

With our love,

Ruben, Karen and Bianca

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Monday, May 20th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

May, 2019

Dear Friends,

Many things have been going on this past month. The children and teenagers were off school for a couple of weeks. We took the seven younger children to Timisoara for the day. We all had so much fun. We started out at the children’s park where everyone played on the equipment there and rented special bikes to ride. Then we took a boat ride down the Bega river which is right by the park. Some of the children had not been on a boat before so that was an adventure for them. We then walked to the center and saw the beautiful decorations and booths before we headed to the mall. After they ate at the mall, all of them played in the play area for an hour and a half. Even after that, they still had energy. So, we stopped for ice cream in the center again before coming home. It was a quiet ride home as most of them were asleep.

Another day of vacation, we took a few of the boys to the last volleyball game in Lugoj. Our team won so that was fun. One Saturday, we had a cook-out at the orphanage. Whenever food is involved, our children and teenagers enjoy themselves. We also made food baskets for our widows. It is always such a joy to see the gratitude on their faces as we hand them the food. It helps to make their life a little easier which is rewarding for us.

This past weekend our special friend, Pastor Gaylon, came. He brought us four suitcases full of medicine for our medical clinic. The medicine is such a blessing for our village and for us. It helps us financially since we don’t have to buy the medicine here. Plus, the quality and quantity are much better in the USA. Besides bringing the medicine, Pastor Gaylon is such an encouragement to us. It is so refreshing to spend time with him sharing about many different things. He has been with us from the beginning of Beraca. That means a lot. Another orphanage from Timisoara which has only boys came to visit for a few hours this weekend, too. Our boys had a great time playing soccer with them, roller blading and bike riding. We cooked out for them as well.

We wanted to share that Mihaela, our oldest girl who turned 18, is branching out on her own now and will no longer be with Beraca. We are still paying for her to stay in the dorm until she finishes school. Then she has the opportunity to go to Italy and work for the summer. When she comes back, she will continue with school for the next year. She is excited about this new opportunity. She is in Lugoj, so we are close by to help if she needs something.

It is exciting for us how God continues to provide each month for our financial needs through all of you. Thank you for being so faithful with your gifts and your prayers. We truly are blessed by them.

 

With our love,

Ruben, Karen and Bianca

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

March, 2019

Dear Friends,

Spring is arriving early here in Jdioara. We have had many warm days and lots of sunshine. The children love playing outside. The new asphalt road in front of the orphanage makes an ideal place for roller blading and bike riding. Robi and Nicu, our two youngest, have learned to ride bikes now. They are so excited. It is a blessing that we live at the end of the village because very few cars come up our hill, so it makes it safe for our children.

March 8 was Women’s Day in Romania. Andrada and Robi invited Karen to their school program as their “mother”. Andrada wrote a little notebook with so many nice things about her. It made her tear up. Andrada had everything set up on her desk. They made necklaces together and had tea. It was very special. Karen also glued together a picture with Robi’s class and had pizza. It was a wonderful evening. Earlier in the day, we took all the women workers out for lunch. They enjoyed getting away and having fellowship.  

Three people got baptized at our church in Lugoj this past Sunday. One of them was a young adult who just finished university. Her face was glowing all morning. She was so excited when she came up out of the water. It was neat. The other two people were an older married couple. They, too, were so happy all morning. All three of them are new believers in the Lord. Heaven was rejoicing Sunday morning with them.

We have looked at several places for the food bank but none of them will really work out. Please continue to pray with us for God’s place. We would like to be able to increase the people that we help in Lugoj and provide for their needs better.

Five of our teenagers are staying in the dorm during the week where they go to high school. It has been good for them to get a little independent in their decision making and become more responsible for their choices. They leave on Monday morning and come home on Friday afternoon. During the week, it is so much quieter here at the orphanage without them. The younger ones are enjoying being the “big kids”. They play together so well. It is a pleasure to watch them.

God continues to provide for all our needs each month through all of you who are so faithful to give financially. We really appreciate it. We also covet your prayers and want you to know how necessary they are for us. Thank you for partnering with us in these ways.

With our love,

Ruben, Karen and Bianca

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Friday, March 1st, 2019

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.   James 1:27

February, 2019

Dear Friends,

Our trip back to Romania was uneventful and easy. Our plane was only half-full. Karen was able to stretch out on three seats and sleep. We were so thankful to the Lord for the stress-free travel back. The children and teenagers were all here waiting for us when we arrived. Many of them have gotten a lot taller. It was good to see everyone again.

The second semester of school started this week. It was a little difficult for the children and teenagers to get back into the swing of school. Bianca is also adjusting to her new high school here. The schools in Romania and in America are very different. Please pray for her as she goes through this time of settling back in to the Romanian system.

We have found someone who is interested in helping us carry out the vision of enlarging the food bank. She is looking for locations for us to use. We have also been given a truckload of clothes, food and other items that we need to sort through. We want to put some of these things in our new place where we can start blessing people. We are excited to see all that God has in store for this new opportunity.

The Van Horns, who are missionaries from America, have been coming every Saturday to do a Bible lesson and play with our children. We are thankful for their heart to invest the Word of God in our children. One of the smaller boys who has trouble speaking clearly has been learning the songs that they are teaching them. He sings all the time, speaking his words clearly and is on tune. It touches your heart to listen to him.

Another one of our little boys who has trouble speaking and is a little behind in things has started to go to a special school in Lugoj. The teachers there spend one on one time with him. He is beginning to speak much clearer. Plus, he also has started to speak simple English phrases like “Thank You” or answer other simple questions in English. We believe that God can do wonderful things with these children who started out life in a difficult way. He can heal their tongues and their minds.

Our village looks so different now that we have asphalt on all the roads. It was such an easy drive to the orphanage. Those of you who have been to visit us understand what that means! We are very thankful for everyone who has come to visit plus those of you who have given to our work here financially and with your prayers. You are a blessing.

With our love,

Ruben, Karen and Bianca

Beraca Foundation, P.O. Box 674, Jacksonville, IL 62651; karenpopet@gmail.com