Saturday, July 14, 2018

What I Saw in Moldova--Families!

Families sometimes include several generations . . . 
. . . as well as pets . . .

. . . or neighbors . . .

Families may live in their own home . . .

. . .  or be invited to share the home of a friend . . . 

And some families delight in one another!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Different Kind of Food

Remember this lady (Every Mother's Child, post in May)? I visited her last October. Pastor Petru Ciochina and I brought her a food packet. (Thanks to all of you who contribute to the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering.) Her roof leaked.
Last month I was in the Republic of Moldova again. Before we could bring around food packets again, we were asked to come and pray with this lady. Her family expected her to die. She hadn't eaten anything for a month, they told us. She lay curled up on a couch and periodically asked for a drink of water. In her own Romani language.
We talked with her about the home God had prepared for her, and that He invited everyone to go there. We don't have to do anything but put our trust in Jesus. We prayed for her.
Then, when we brought around food packets, we came by  again. Since we knew she couldn't eat anything, we brought her a small gift and prayed for her again. A number of you also prayed for her. Later, Roma Christians from the church came, too. The pastor and his wife brought her some geranium plants, to replace the ones that had frozen (in her kitchen windowsill!) during the cold snap in January.
A couple of days ago, when I called the pastor and his wife, I asked about this aged lady. Was she still alive?
Oh, yes. She was up, eating again, and moving around her house. Her family, who had all been pretty sure she was about to die, asked the pastor what happened. Well, it certainly wasn't any food packet that made the difference!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

What I Saw in Moldova: Romany interested in Scripture Media

Pastor Petru & Olesea Ciochina had driven me an hour north to the town of Calarasi to visit a children's home. The team of German Romany who are going with me to Moldova in September want to connect with an orphanage. We had a nice tour, but concluded this was not the place for them to work.
Then we tried to visit a Romany girl from Vulcanesti who had married someone in Calarasi. She was in Vulcanesti! But another Romany woman turned up in front of her home. And become some of the Romany in Calarasi recognized Petru (white pants; right), they invited us to their house.

 After tea and general conversation, we started talking about faith. Most of the people in Calarasi had originally come from Vulcanesti. Some of their parents had become Christians there. Sometimes someone came by with a guitar to sing songs and read the Bible with them.
Ah, did they know that the New Testament was online in several Romani dialects? No, but they wanted to see and hear it.
The young man quickly got me online through his cell phone. We moved from the Scripture website (Bible.Is) to various Romani versions of the Jesus film on YouTube to the Facebook page of Scripture in a dialect very similar to their own.
This Facebook page also had video versions of each chapter in Galatians. This would not be the most fascinating material to me, but I have read and heard Scripture in my heart language all of my life. These folks had not. The lady on my right listened to one chapter after another.
Then she made sure that the young man copied all of these links for her. She wanted to be sure to find them all again!

The Cost of Corruption

You may be wondering why there are book bags hanging on the flagpoles of these Dutch homes. Like many European countries, the Netherlands has standardized exams that all students must pass to receive their (high school) diploma. Kids in each of these houses passed. And it is an achievement everyone on the street may know about! 
What has that got to do with corruption? A friend in a former East-block country asked us to pray for the young (Roma) Christian leader there who had gone back to take their country's version of these exams. The young man really wanted to pass so that he could go to Bible school. The legislator from his district approached him. The young man could be assured of receiving a diploma. Cost in cash:  a little over $200; cost in character . . . ?
Another friend in the same country, a talented school teacher, was willing to teach in predominantly Roma villages. She met with good success. But even though her placement test scores were higher than any other candidates', her contract was not renewed. Instead, it went to the niece of one of the local V.I.P.s.--who was far more interested in employment than actually in teaching. What did that cost, in terms of the students' future?
And why is there so little work in the Republic of Moldova. A third of the working population has gone abroad ( Often leaving children behind with grandparents, neighbors, or no one. 
Labor would be available in Moldova, and relatively cheap. And it is possible to do business there--if, as a Moldovan friend pointed out--you are willing to "share." 
On my recent visit there, I met a different Roma young man. He had legitimately earned his high school diploma and was studying further. He was also connected with the Centrul National Anticoruptie (National Anti-corruption Center).  Let us pray for those who fight corruption, those who suffer from it, and those who are tempted by it. And let us be willing to pay the cost of countering it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

DAVAR: Bridging to Literacy - Also in Romanian

DAVAR Start Games provide a fun bridge to literacy programs. The Start Games  had been posted on the DAVAR website pretty much in the order that they had been written. Our colleague Alina Ivan Molla recently put these in a better sequence from a learning/teaching point of view.

She drew on years of teaching experience in Romania in both Roma villages, experimental schools, and her own highly praised kindergarten. (In fact, even a year after she has married and moved to Sweden, the parents of her former pupils are still begging her to reopen!)

I drew on days of patient, cautious cutting and pasting to rearrange first the English, and now finally the Romanian Start Games into this new, improved order. The PDF downloads are not yet there, but the text is. This blog post celebrates that milestone!

Now for the MATH GAMES and PARENT-CHILD CLUB in English . . . and Romanian . . . .

Copii sau adulți, indiferent de vârstă, învățământ și practică abilitățile necesare însușirii cititului și scrisului.

Oferă o punte spre cunoaștere, prin programe, o activitate și jocuri care vor asigura asimilarea cunoștințelor necesare în învățarea cititului, scrisului și gândirii matematice. Să atrag pe copii în procesul de învățare prin aceste activități și jocuri și să-i ajute să descoperim că învățarea academică este mult mai ușoară și mai distractivă decât au experimentat ei (probabil) anterior.

Este eficient și bine cunoscut principiul didactic, de a folosi ceea ce se cunoaște, pentru a explica necunoscutul. Atunci când elevii folosesc limbajul și mijloacele, pe care elevii le cunosc, în predarea temelor noi, elevii se vor simți respectați și în egală măsură motivați să învețe. Aceasta va crea mediul pozitiv necesar de capacitate de a acumula noi abilități și de a învăța noi concepte.
Chiar dacă au depășit vârsta preșcolară și anii de școală primară, oamenii încă pot învăța să citească și să scrie.Pentru ca persoana să deprindă cititul și scrisul mai întâi ar trebui să învețe anumite deprinderi; exercițiul este vital pentru a dezvolta partea secvențială a creierului, care este implicată și contribuie la procesul de învățare a materialelor școlare.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Language is Flowing III

Some claim that music is the universal language. In this case, it certainly was. None of the five people in this photo speak the same language at home. But they all sang together with gusto.
Left to right:  Romanian Romany; Bulgarian Romany; Romanian Moldovan; Moldovan Romany; English-speaking Australian.

Song:  tune known to many Christian Romany; Romani words close enough in all three dialects to sing along.

Location: recent Rroma Workers Network conference in Hungarian-speaking part of Romania. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Languages Are Flying II

This was the most complicated situation at the Rroma Workers conference this past week. The first man spoke in Hungarian. The second man translated into Romanian. The third man translated into English. We all understood.

Communication with a Romany brother from Bulgaria was actually more straight-forward. He spoke English to me; Russian/Bulgarian to Petru from Moldova; Russian and Romani to Eduard, a Romany brother from Moldova.

I made an instant connection with a lovely young woman from Romania when I asked for "pani" (water), one of the few words I know in Romani. Fortunately, it is the same in practically all Romani dialects.

And in the midst of all the Australians, British folks, and English-as-a-second-language speakers, it was a sheer delight to meet a man from the state in America where I was born. Someone who spoke my dialect!

Mary, born in Kalamazoo