As they commit their trust, hope, resources and willingness to grow, CFCA sponsors find pathways into solidarity with families living in poverty. Jack and Martha Kern are two sponsors who exemplify this relationship of solidarity. CFCA Communications Intern Marie Biggs had an opportunity to speak with the Kerns about their commitment to help young people achieve their potential through education.
Martha and Jack Kern
Jack Kern’s Catholic faith, interest in studying Spanish and time spent in Latin America made sponsoring through CFCA a natural choice for him and his wife, Martha.
With some inspiration from their experiences as CFCA sponsors, the Austin, Texas, couple later helped found a nonprofit organization that provides support to a small village in central Mexico.
Jack and Martha began sponsoring through CFCA more than 10 years ago after seeing a sponsorship table at their church.
In 2002, Jack went on a mission awareness trip to El Salvador to visit their sponsored child, Marta.
“The desire to make more of a personal connection with Marta was one of the things that prompted me to sign up to visit her in El Salvador,” Jack said in his recently published book, “Weavers of Hope ñ Una Familia Humana ñ One Human Family.” “I wanted to learn more about her life and how she and her family lived.”
In the book, Jack describes his experiences founding the nonprofit and the people that encouraged him.
Jack wrote that he felt inspired by the joy and happiness he saw in the midst of difficult living situations in El Salvador.
He was also impressed by the CFCA staff members he met and their focus on education as a tool for overcoming poverty.
On the flight home, Jack sat next to CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen.
As they spoke about CFCA’s work and relationships with people in different countries, Jack thought about the organization’s accomplishments.
“I felt a premonition that my life was going to be shaped in some way by these events, but how it would play out was unclear,” Jack wrote.
Back in Austin, the Kerns joined a JustFaith class, a program that promotes commitment to social ministry.
Through this program, they learned of a devastating flood in Villa Garcia, a village in Zacatecas, Mexico, and knew it was the call they had been waiting for.
A small delegation from their JustFaith class decided to visit the village, and it was there that they saw opportunities to help.
“We unanimously agreed that we wanted to follow the advice of the people of Villa Garcia and provide educational sponsorships for their children,” Jack wrote.
Hentzen encouraged Jack and the group to learn from CFCA as they continued their ministry in Villa Garcia.
The nurturing and moral support they received helped them get the nonprofit organization, Weavers of Hope, off the ground, Martha said.
“I think we still would have gotten there through trial and error,” she said, “but with CFCA we bypassed the stumbling.”
The Kerns remain faithful CFCA sponsors as they continue their work in the village.
“Weavers of Hope is still a relatively small organization,” Jack said, “but who knows where the Spirit will take this work in the future.”
Jack said that his experience with CFCA and founding Weavers of Hope has been joyous.
“I’ve had fun doing it and felt good about it,” he said.