Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Learning About Roma (Gypsies)

My husband, Ralph, and I serve among the Romany of Hungary. However for the last nine months we have been in the USA on off-field assignment. During this time we have had a number of goals to accomplish. One of our primary activities has been to speak to churches and groups about the way the Lord is moving among the Roma. We tell the stories of life and God's love.

This past weekend, I, Tammy, was privileged to be apart of the Women's Missionary Union of Virginia's (WMU) Mom and Me weekend. Nearly 1000 1st-5th grade girls and their mothers gathered at the Eagle Eyrie Baptist Conference Center in Lynchburg, VA to learn about missions and have a good time together. The theme of the weekend was "Magnificent Moldova" and the offering the girls gave will be sent to the Ruth School for Romany children in Bucharest, Romania.

I enjoyed being with the young girls and helping to plant seeds that they too might one day be called to be the presence of Christ somewhere in the world. I was once in their shoes, having learned about missions as a young girl growing up in a Baptist church. It was an opportunity for me to give back and I was grateful. And it was a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

From the Gandhi School in Pecs, Hungary

Hello. We’re Glen and Clista Adkins, CBF Field Personnel (missionaries) in southern Hungary working with Roma teens and adults at the Gandhi School, a residential high-school for Roma students in Pecs. I, Clista, teach and tutor English and Glen leads a choir and works with musical students in different ways. Along with Hungarian friends from our local Hungarian Baptist Church, Glen and I lead a Bible Club on Monday nights and do lots of other activities at the school.
We’ve been here 20 months. After serving as ministers in Baptist churches for over 30 years, we felt God guide us to service with these folks while we were here at Gandhi with a mission team from First Baptist Greenville, SC. [Lesson: Be careful when you are with a short-term mission team! God might use it to change your life.] So, after a long process, we sold our house, gave away lots of “stuff”, placed the remaining things with our daughter in Dallas, and moved to Pecs. Now we live in a flat on the main walking street in Pecs (Kiraly Utca, means “King Street”) and spend most of our time at the Gandhi School with many delightful Roma (Gypsy) teenagers.
On this blog, we will include stories and pictures of our work and of the many churches and mission teams who come to work in this ministry. Recently, Glen recorded a CD with the 16-month-old Gandhi choir.

Choir Makes a CD!
March was the red-letter month for the Gandhi Korus (Choir). On Tuesday, March 10th, after weeks and weeks of preparation by Glen, we—Glen, Tamas, Jozsef Orsos (Roma teacher), and I—ferried the students from the school to the Pecsi Baptista Templom (Pecs Baptist Church) to record 15 songs for a CD. The church graciously agreed to allow the group to record in the sanctuary, and Tamas Gobl, our friend there, helped us ferry the kids and manage the afternoon! (At our request, he also gave a little testimony about faith and the baptistery, which completely fascinated the students!)
Glen went early with Annamaria (translator and assistant), the musicians and instruments (Joshua, Sanyi, Szabi, Istvan, E.T.), and a few of the soloists (Klaudia, Peter, Laura, and Andi). They were met by a very nice recording engineer (Gabor) who worked with them to record solo parts and a number by the guys! When the rest of the choir arrived, the sanctuary really started rocking! The students were nervous and excited and ready to do their very best, and they did! Their irrepressible energy would explode after every number, as soon as Glen dropped his hands—guitars playing, kids laughing and singing, kannas (milkjugs) pounding . . . Then, as soon as Glen said, “CSENDES” (quiet), there was instant silence. They waited for the cue and started the music. It was amazing! We were so proud of their determination.
You can see video and pictures of the process. Glen asked two people (Almos, a teacher, and Ricsi, a student) to video and one (me) to photograph the process. The pictures and videos are as fun as the singing. The process really took over 5 hours to complete, so the students got tired, but they tried to maintain their high energy level to make it through 15 songs. Of course, we had to take the inevitable smoke breaks. (Tamas pointed them to a place in the parking lot for the smoking!) At the midpoint, we served them colas, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, rice crispy treats (actually corn flake treats), and jelly beans—good ol’ American kid treats—to give them a sugar high and get them going again. They seemed to like the eating as much as the singing.
At 5:30 they sang the final song. After one repeat, the CD was done! To celebrate, we ferried them to a local restaurant for a celebration meal. Glen had pre-arranged the meal with the owners and they were ready for the group. I’m not sure that many had ever eaten at a restaurant where they were served by waiters, but they did well and were on their best behavior. The waiters were cheerful and helpful, and the students left the restaurant tired but happy.
Now, Glen is spending hours with Gabor (sound engineer) editing the songs. You can hear a few of the results on youtube. Please continue to pray for Glen, the choir, and this process as this CD may open many doors for the students and the school.
Below is a video of the Gandhi School Choir singing "Gelem, gelem," (translated "We must go
on") the International Gypsy Hymn.