Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

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, 2020

Dear Friends,

We pray this finds all of you safe and healthy during these uncertain times. The children, teenagers, workers and Ruben and our girls are all healthy and adjusting to the new lifestyle. The schools will not be opening for the rest of this school year. The teachers are finishing up the classwork through zoom and other online methods. That has been a challenge for Ruben as we have children in 10 different grades. It takes both laptops and sometimes his phone to keep everyone in class online. The schools will still hold the year-end exams for the eighth and twelfth grades. These exams determine what high school the eighth graders will be in and if the twelfth graders can go on to college. So, they are very important. Manu will finish eighth grade and Bogdan will finish twelfth grade. They have been doing extra work to prepare for the exams.

We have put in a garden at the farm this year. We haven’t done one for a few years. Everyone helped and had fun doing it. The younger children like to go to the farm every day now and water the garden. They then stay for a couple of hours and play. There are many places to go for hikes around our village. So, Ruben has taken everyone on several hikes. They even found a small waterfall on one of their excursions. The children and teenagers always seem to find things to keep them busy. Besides school, they have a basketball court, a soccer field, and a rollerskating park in their backyard as well as a playground with swings, a slide, a sandbox and a playhouse. For them, the stay at home order hasn’t been very difficult except for missing their friends at school.

The older boys have been helping to fix the walls and to paint their rooms and the younger boys’ rooms. Every few years they need a fresh look. It has been a good project to do since everyone has to stay home. We are also going to replace the floors with new laminated flooring. The existing floors are very worn.  

Every week, we buy food for the people of the food bank. Then we divide it up into bags and deliver the bags to the people who regularly come to our food bank. They are so appreciative of the food. They really need the help. We have also received two shipments of food items from Lidl in the last couple of weeks which has been a blessing. God is an amazing provider for us.

We are so thankful for God’s watchful care of our work in Romania. Things are going well. We are thankful for all of you who continue to support our work through your finances and your prayers. May we all keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

 

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

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

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

April, 2020

Happy Easter!

As we celebrate Easter in a different way this year, we are still focusing on the fact that Jesus is alive. He conquered sin and death for all of us. He is our hope and salvation. With Jesus, we will all go through this time and be victors at the end.

We wanted to give you an update on what is going on in Romania. The government has issued a stay at home policy until May 15. Therefore, the schools will be closed at least until then. The Minister of Education is working on plans so everyone can finish this school year. People are allowed to leave their homes only if they have a paper stating where they are going and their purpose. The police and army have been out checking on people. A limited amount of people are allowed in the stores and banks at one time. So, Ruben is the only one who goes out and gets things that are needed. There are cases of the virus in Lugoj, which is the town where we do our shopping, banking and etc. But, there are no cases in our village of Jdioara.

At Christmas time, we were blessed with more food than we have ever received before. We thought that it was going to take months for us to eat everything. But this was the perfect year for it to come. During this time when access to food and things is limited, we have an abundance at the orphanage. God knew ahead of time and took great care of us. We have been able to give food to our widows and some people in our village. We also got a shipment from Lidl with extra food and puzzles and games and things. We made up bags for our food bank people who are struggling now. The puzzles and games kept our kids and teenagers busy for several days   It is so neat to watch how God provides.

We delivered firewood to several of our widows this month. They were thankful for it. We want to thank the church who provided the money for us to do this. You are a blessing. Our farm is looking good now that the teenagers have been off of school for so long. They go each morning with Dani, Ruben’s brother, and Ruben to clean branches and things and to fix the fences. They have a great appetite for lunch afterwards. Everyone also does about one hour of school work a day. Most of the teachers have sent assignments for them to do. They play a lot of soccer and basketball, too. They seem to always find things to do. It is good to see them all playing together.

We had plans for Ruben, Bianca and Marta to come and visit Karen in America but unfortunately those were canceled. We will be celebrating Easter separately and even on different weekends as the Romanian Easter is a week later. Karen is getting stronger each day. Please pray for all of us as this has been a trying time being separated for so long.

Thank you so much for all of you who faithfully support our ministry through financial gifts and prayers. They keep the work going in Romania. We pray God’s protection over all of you during this time and always. God is on the throne and in control.

 

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

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

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, 2020

Dear Friends,

     Life in Romania continues to have interesting turns and twists. Ruben is doing a great job at keeping things going there. But now, he has all of the children and teenagers home for at least twelve days because the government has decided to close all of the schools for precautionary measures with the virus. So, with spring rains and mud everywhere, inside activities are a must. There are some projects that need to be done including spring cleaning in the children’s rooms.

     Cosmin attended a Christian camp a couple of weekends ago. He really enjoyed it. He invited one of his friends from school who has a rough home life. The boy had a great time. We were glad that we could help him to go. Nicu had his first program for women’s day at his school. He was so excited and proud to be able to be a part of it. Bogdan was in another chess tournament for the high schools in Lugoj. He got first place. He was very excited.

     Last weekend, Ruben took all of the children and teenagers to Timisoara to church. They had been invited by a family in the church to come to their house for lunch and the afternoon. They enjoyed an American style lunch with hamburgers on the grill and soda. Our children loved it. They also played games all afternoon with the family’s teenagers. No one wanted to go home. This family had only met Ruben once but they were willing to open their home to him and all of our children and teenagers. That is truly Christian hospitality.

     Our medical clinic continues to serve the people of our village. Our doctor has been so faithful for so many years. We are very thankful for her. Also, our church in Lugoj came out one Saturday to serve us at the orphanage. They cleaned everything spotless. These are two great examples of putting our faith into action. And our ministry has been really blessed by it.

     Karen continues her recovery in America. She is getting stronger each day. Her return date to Romania is still not known. Thank you for praying for her. Thank you for praying for our ministry in Romania, too. God continues to provide for all of our needs there through your generous financial gifts. Enjoy this Spring!    

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 4th, 2020

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, 2020

Dear Friends,

Life can be very unpredictable at times but we always have the assurance that God already knows and He has us protected in the palm of His hands. Karen is still in the USA. She ended up having a nine hour very extensive surgery. She is home from the hospital now and feeling better. At this point, we don’t know what her recovery time will be and how long she will be in the USA. But it will be at least a couple of months. We want to thank all of you who have been praying for her and who have reached out to her. It has really touched her heart to see and experience the love of so many people during this time. Thank you for being there for her.

Things in Romania have kept Ruben very busy. It has been a mild winter so the children and teenagers have been able to do outside activities. Ruben took everyone on a bike ride to the next village to spend their money at the store there and play in the park. They also went for a hike up to the fortress in our village and spent the afternoon exploring, eating and having fun. Plus, they have gone ice skating several times. Please pray for Ruben as he is taking on many roles, not only at the orphanage but also with his own family.

Maria, one of our teenagers, is in Spain right now. Her school chose 14 students to go and experience and work in another culture. She works every day at a local store. She is participating in many “firsts” in her life like riding on an airplane. She is having a great time. We are glad that she was able to go and see another country.

A friend of ours from Germany is helping us with the food bank now. He is going to help us finish off the two extra rooms that we have there for a clothing give-away room and a waiting room. He is donating carpets for the main room where the food is distributed. It has been really cold in the building this winter so that will help to warm things up a bit. He has blessed us with more table and chairs, too. Thank you so much for all of your help. Lidl grocery store gave us a whole shipment of chocolate after Christmas for the food bank. Everyone is having their sweet tooth satisfied. New families continue to come. We are glad we can help them.

We want to thank all of you who helped to give money towards the boiler. We have reached our goal. Praise the Lord! Thank you for your generosity and for your faithful support throughout the year. God is good and everything is being taken care of. If any of you would like to contact Karen while she is in the USA, her cell phone number is 217-408-8380. Please continue to pray for her, the Popet family, the children and teenagers at Beraca and the continuing work in Romania.

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

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

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

January, 2020

Happy New Year!

Last year ended with a flurry of activities and the new year started with many more adventures. Before Christmas, we delivered the presents to the children of Pesac. We also had a box of clothes to give to each family. A crowd was waiting for us when we drove up. Watching the faces of the children as they received their gifts was such a blessing. They were so excited. We had the teenagers with us so we stopped at the mall to spend some time there with them after they helped us at Pesac. The next couple of days, we had our staff Christmas dinner and a dinner at church. Both included great food and times of sharing together. On Christmas Eve, we had a service at the church. Then we went caroling to many of our friends. Each home gave the children and teenagers candy, cakes and food. By the time we went to the last place, everyone was very full and very tired. But it was a fun evening. Christmas was quiet for a change. We gave gifts to the children and had a nice meal. The next day, we took everyone to Timisoara to go ice skating. They loved it.

The following day, we went to Germany with the teenagers who had turned fourteen in the last year or two. Unfortunately, we only made it past Budapest when the van broke down. We had it towed to a nearby town. God’s hand was upon us as the owner of the garage spoke a little English. We had to leave the van there. The owner took us to a hotel for the night. The next day Ruben’s nephews brought us our other van so we could continue on. We had a great time with our friends in Germany. They blessed us all so much while we were there. We went sledding, ice skating, swimming at thermal baths, walking to a tower for a great view, shopping, attending a New Year’s Eve party at their church which included fireworks at midnight and visiting other friends in the evening for great food and fellowship. All the teenagers and we would like to say thank you so much for the wonderful time that we had.

After returning from Germany, there was still a week before school started. So, we went ice skating in Lugoj again. The owners let our children and teenagers skate for an hour and a half for free.   Another day, we went to the nearby mountains for sledding. Some of the older boys tried skiing, too. It was a beautiful day with an awesome view. Now the vacation is winding down and school starts on Monday. We are praying for everyone to have a successful second semester.

As we head into this new year, we pray each one of you has a freshness of vision and hope. We are so thankful for your faithfulness in giving of your finances and time in prayer for our ministry. We would ask for some special prayer for Karen. She is in the USA now having some medical tests done. Please stand with us in faith for a supernatural healing to her body. Thank you so much.

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

Karen & Ruben Popet – Beraca Orphanage in Jdioara, Romania

Wednesday, December 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

December, 2019

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We hope you are enjoying this time of preparation for our Savior’s birth. Here is an update from last month’s newsletter. The President of Romania got re-elected by a large margin. So, a new political party is in charge. Hopefully, we will see some positive changes soon. Also, our Thanksgiving dinner was great. We had a challenge finding turkeys but finally did succeed. There were 35 people who came. The food was delicious. The children wrote five things that they were thankful for. Some were very encouraging. A Bible trivia was enjoyed by everyone, too. The night turned out great.

Gabi and Ionela went to a competition in Timisoara with other children from all around the county. It was called “You can do it”. Gabi had to shot baskets, his favorite thing to do. There were other contests and a meal for all the children. They both received medals and diplomas. They were so excited when they got home. Cosmin started in a new school for fifth grade. He had to take final exams this year. He got a 10 (the best grade possible) on both his Math exam and Romanian one. He is the first child in Beraca to ever get such high grades. We are proud of him and the effort he puts forth for school.

We had another interesting situation at the food bank this past week. A family came to get food in a horse-drawn wagon. They came from the next village which is 7 miles. Wow! We are thankful that we can help to meet the needs of the people of Lugoj and now the surrounding area. The new building is working out great. It is free which is such a blessing for us.

A group of Germans came this week. Their churches put together the presents for the Pesac children. This year 140 children are on the list but more always show up when we arrive. Their sacrifice not only to do the gifts but to bring them to Romania is a huge blessing for us. They also brought our children gifts. And, they brought computers for the orphanage. A Christian school in Germany donated them. Our children and teenagers are so blessed. We are going to go and take food to the widows with them, too. We want to say thank you so much for all you do for Beraca.

Money has started coming in for the boiler. We are thankful to those who have helped us with this project. We are believing that we will reach the goal. We have many things planned for before Christmas, Christmas and New Year’s. We will give you an update on all the festivities in next month’s newsletter. Thank you all for your generosity to us throughout this past year. Your gifts and prayers helped us to have a wonderful year. We pray you all have a blessed Christmas, enjoying family and friends, and celebrating Jesus.

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

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