Gerald and Barbara Krosnowski, both 70 years old, work full time as volunteers to help raise money to feed starving children in developing countries. Currently members of Risen Savior in Burnsville, the two started their lay missionary work in 1968, developing a program for the homeless in Detroit, and have partnered with domestic and foreign missions for more than 40 years. In 2000, they established the Sonshine Foundation to support mission work and with the foundation in 2006 formed Risen Savior Missions, a charitable non-profit that serves starving children in the Philippines. RSM is an international charity that is not affiliated with or funded by Risen Savior parish.
Who or what inspired you to start doing missionary work?
Vatican II: In 1967, our pastor at St. Gerard Parish in Detroit asked my wife and I as a young married couple in our early 20s to host missionary meetings at our home for small numbers from our parish to explore how we could help and learn more about mission work and missionaries.
Tell us a story about how a person in your mission experience has made a difference in your faith journey.
After working with the poor and thousands of starving children and many orphan children at hundreds of our Risen Savior Missions feeding sites, you begin to realize and encounter the reality of God and see him firsthand in the eyes and smiles of poor innocent children. Jesus is truly on the front lines of Catholic missionary work and living daily with the poor.
We have seen the behavior of many desperately starving 5- to 9-year-old Filipino children who had not eaten for a couple of days when they smelled the aroma of our vitamin-packed Feed My Starving Children food as it was being cooked and distributed by Risen Savior Missions in cooperation with the Philippine national Catholic Church. We brought the food into destitute villages to reverse malnutrition in the very young and poverty stricken families.
We have witnessed the desperately starving 5- to 9-year-old Filipino children first feed the younger children, regardless of whether there is enough or any food leftover for them to eat! When I asked them why they didn’t leave a little bit of food for themselves, these innocent children looked puzzled at me and seemed to answer in their silent stare, “Don’t you know and see how these little 2- to 4-year-old children and infants are starving? And because they are younger they should have any available food first even if there is not enough to go around?”
That is when I decided and realized in my heart that we must do everything within our power and by the grace of God to save a generation of children this loving!
What have you learned from the people you work with or serve?
To enjoy each moment of the day you are living because life and new friendships are a treasure and a marvelous grace; each are a precious gift from God.
What do you believe they have learned from you?
As lay missionaries, somehow with our hands and feet we bring the gift of God’s personal love for them and his life-changing, inspiring, heavenly hope.
Florinda Lacanlalay is the program manager for HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program/Assisi Development Foundation in the Philippines.
What work do you do together with a missionary?
The HAPAG-ASA Integrated Nutrition Program was launched by the Pondo ng Pinoy Community Foundation under the leadership of Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, Assisi Development Foundation and Feed the Children Philippines in 2005 as a Christian response to the problem of hunger, starvation and malnutrition in the Philippines in the spirit of the multiplication of loaves and fish.
In 2009, we met Gerald Krosnowski of the Risen Savior Missions, who informed us of the availability of food supplements from Feed My Starving Children. Cardinal Rosales, whom Jerry met earlier, gave instruction to explore the possibility of a partnership. Since then, Risen Savior Missions’ food donations to the HAPAG-ASA program has helped thousands of hungry and undernourished children. In 2011 alone, more than 20,000 of these children and orphans will have benefited from Feed My Starving Children’s food.
Talk about about how you have helped missionaries serving in your country.
Doing missionary work in the Philippines is not very difficult if the mission objective of the organization or person corresponds to an identified need.
In the case of the Risen Savior Missions, it matches perfectly with the objectives of the HAPAG-ASA in its intention to help the Catholic Church in responding to God’s call to feed the hungry. The church, as HAPAG-ASA partner, has always been welcoming of this kind of initiative.
Category: World Mission Sunday