In 2016 God brought three refugee families to Calvary – two from Ethiopia and one Haitian couple. Calvary began a ministry last fall to help meet the needs of these brothers and sisters in Christ. Contact Sharon Bjerkaas at or 507-282-9850 if you have questions or to share in this ministry

It is time now for an update on these families.

Current Needs for the refugee families

Cash Donations and Gift Cards

  • Cash donations and gift cards may be left at the church office, placed in the office mail slot or given to Sharon Bjerkaas.
  • Cash donations and gift cards may also be given directly to the families in need.
  • Please note:  According to IRS regulations for charitable contributions, gifts of items, gift cards, or money specifically directed to an individual or family are not deductible for tax purposes. Those wishing to give funds that are tax deductible should address your check to Cavlary with "Benevolent Fund" on the memo line; staff will distribute funds received according to the needs they deem most pressing, which may include those outside of this ministry.

Contact Sharon Bjerkaas at or 507-282-9850 to be part of this ministry or if you have questions.

 Peter Ojullu and family

Peter Ojullu familyPeter Ojullu immigrated to Rochester in June 2016, along with his three children: Piemah, age 7, Gwith, age 5, and Unapai, age 3 after needing to leave Ethiopia and spending 11 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Peter has adapted very well to life in Rochester. He works at Wal-Mart North, recently passed the test for his driver’s license; and now is the recipient of a donated vehicle. Peter is becoming a member of Calvary EFC and had his children dedicated at Calvary in September.

Peter is overwhelmed with gratitude for all the ways the people of Calvary have helped him and wants to be sure we express his great appreciation: “Be sure to tell everyone thank you and God bless you!” Peter has recently announced his engagement to a lady he knew in Kenya! She is moving from Colorado to Minnesota. We are so happy for both of them.

As spring and summer approach, there will be need for warm weather clothing for Peter’s children. We will update the needs more specifically as warm weather arrives. There are ongoing needs for daily living and now the costs of operating a vehicle. Also, there is a need for backup childcare for the kids. Peter has regular daycare, but we are looking for people willing to occasionally fill in when needed.


  • Cash donations
  • Gift cards for Fareway Foods or Wal-Mart
  • Backup daycare. Contact Chris or Caroline Church at

Okoth Ojwak KonyOjwak Okoth and family

Ojwak Okoth, his wife, Kony Omot and their two sons, Chaedago (age 9) and Chipdeel (age 4½) are from Ethiopia and due to genocide there, they fled many years ago to a refugee camp in Kenya. They immigrated to Rochester in 2014 and started attending Calvary in the fall of 2016.

Both OJ and Kony are employed and OJ is attending college, working toward a Civil Engineering degree. Calvary people have assisted with some clothing and home furnishing needs. Now OJ is saving toward a second vehicle which would greatly help with transportation in their varied schedules. If you have or know of a reliable vehicle for sale, or to donate, contact the Refugee Care Ministry at


Clauvis and Wisline

Wisline and son

Clauvis Duverna and Wisline Oreus are Haitians who immigrated to Brazil following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Last spring they needed to leave Brazil due to political and economic conditions and walked through 11 South and Central American countries, arriving in California via Mexico. They came to Rochester in July 2016. They have not yet been given legal refugee status by Immigration Services, so are not eligible for any support, benefits or employment. Clauvis traveled to Florida in November to hopefully obtain documentation and employment. Wisline gave birth to their son, James Kevin, on December 31, 2016 here in Rochester.

All the living costs for this family are being provided by Dessalines Similhomme, a long-time Haitian friend of Calvary’s, and his wife Somanie, with whom they are living. They were willing to assume responsibility for this couple whom they didn’t know previously. It would be very helpful for Dessalines and Somanie to receive cash and grocery store gift cards for the ongoing living costs. Dessalines also needs to drive Wisline to Immigration Services in Minneapolis every two weeks, so gas cards would be very helpful.

Ongoing needs for the baby are disposable diapers. Calvary people responded so generously to the clothing and supply needs last fall, that little James doesn’t need those items now. As he grows, there will be clothing needs,

Wisline would appreciate cash or gift cards to purchase clothing and personal items for herself. We’re not listing sizes or specific items here, as it would be best for her to select items that she prefers. She will enjoy shopping as do the rest of “us ladies!”

Each of them expresses great appreciation for all the donations from Calvary people and the many ways care and support have been provided. Thank you and God bless you!


  • Disposable diapers for baby James – size 1
  • Cash donations for Wisline for clothing and personal items
  • Gifts cards at Target, Wal-Mart, HyVee or Fareway Foods
  • Gasoline gift cards
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