Friday, December 24, 2010

Wishing You...

Veselé Vánoce!
Gelukkig Kerstfeest!
Veselé Vianoce!
Crăciun Fericit!
Merry Christmas!
The Gypsy Team wishes you a joyful celebration of our Lord's birth!

**Santa hands out gifts to the Ruth School students and they present a program for their parents and the staff.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


My friends often ask me why I want to work with Roma and I tell them, "Because of Natalka. . . " Natalka is Roma girl who at the age of two suffered severe burns when far-right extremists threw a Molotov cocktail into her home. She lost 80 percent of her skin, and spent months lying in an induced coma following the attack. Here is a link to a CNN article about the attack: In October, those responsible were sentenced to 22 years in a high-security prison. Although this is a severe sentence in the Czech Republic, it doesn’t seem so harsh when compared to Natalka’s life sentence.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Missional moments

During the holidays, most of us are frantically trying to finish our shopping and prepare for parties and get-togethers as we celebrate Christmas. Some folks are just trying to make it from day to day. We had the privilege of sharing with others over the past few weeks.

Partnering with the Baptist mission in Presov and new ministry volunteer Pavel, we delivered Mikulas (St. Nicholas) gift bags to 30 children and food boxes to 12 families in Kapušany, SK. The cold wind and blowing snow could not compete with the warm welcome we received. The broad smiles on the children’s faces brightened the day.

The International School in Kosice had a food drive to emphasize the importance of concern for others. They asked us if we knew of a good place to donate the food. Immediately, we thought of our friends the Horvaths in Jasov, SK. Though we had already provided food for 15 families in Jasov, the gift from the International School provided food for at least an additional 10 families. We thank the International School families and staff for their generosity. We are especially glad that the secondary and 12/13 year old students were able to deliver the food. The visit to a Roma settlement was a first for most of them.

Providing food for families in need through our partners in Vazec, SK and Devleskero Kher church in Kosice will impact an additional 50 families during the harsh winter. This year's winter has arrived with a vengeance.  Being the presence of Christ includes giving food to those who are hungry (Matt. 25: 35, 40).

For a heart warming story about sharing what you have with those in need, don't miss reading about the recent experience of Heritage Baptist Fellowship in Canton, GA.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Italy, England, Romanian Romany

Why do Romany sometimes roam? Because they want to survive. Though we live in the Netherlands, we get requests for Romany-related resources from all over. Keith has had an extensive e-mail correspondence with a Baptist pastor in England who is starting a ministry among Romanian Romany there. The pastor received the Jesus DVD and copies of the New Testament in Kalderash with thankfulness. He was also keenly interested in Romany Christian music.
The two women working with Romanian Romany in Italy also want a bunch of Jesus DVD's, though the Romany they are reaching out to have no way of viewing them. These folks live in make-shift houses under bridges and highway overpasses. When the police chase them away, the two women hunt around until they find the Romany again. They hoped we could send them 50 DVD's, at cost because they want to use most of their financial resources to help the children stay clothed and fed. We are sending them one, free of charge, to check out first, along with a lot of prayer!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hear Your CBF Field Personnel Live From Slovakia

You and your church have three opportunities to hear about the work of CBF field personnel Dianne and Shane McNary among the Roma people of Slovakia. The McNarys are the featured story for the international emphasis of the CBF Offering for Global Missions. This is an easy way to have them speak to your church without the expense of travel. Last month, more than 20 churches participated in a live meeting on a Wednesday and were amazed at how the technology allowed them to interact with their field personnel who were thousands of miles away.

To learn more about the McNarys' ministry before the event, visit this website.

To participate, simple click on the link that corresponds with your schedule up to 30 minutes before the presentation is scheduled to start:
7:30 pm, Eastern, Wednesday, December 1 (ideal for churches in Central time zone)
10 am, Eastern, Sunday, December 5 (ideal for churches in Eastern time zone)
11 am, Eastern, Sunday, December 5 (ideal for churches in Central time zone)
To conduct a test of your church's connectivity and audio feed, e-mail Lance Wallace, CBF director of communications.
**A special thank you to CBF NC for this article.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sharing Hope Through Christ...

You can help share the hope of Christ in Slovakia

Through your gifts, Dianne and Shane McNary are able to minister in Slovakia.

The Roma Gypsies have been in Slovakia for more than 600 years, but even with this history, many Roma still don't feel at home. Discrimination is widespread – in the workplace, on city streets and even in some churches. This is why CBF field personnel Dianne and Shane McNary have made Slovakia home. This is where God’s mission and their passion meet. Read more Your gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions make a difference in the lives of Roma living in Slovakia. Give online now

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ideas for That Hard-to-Buy-For Person on Your Christmas List

This Christmas your holiday shopping can change lives

Simple gifts. That’s what the gifts in the CBF Gift Catalog are. But these simple gifts — clean water, a book, a meal, a warm blanket — can change the lives of people around the world. Each gift in the CBF Gift Catalog represents a contribution to the life-changing ministries of the Fellowship. When you give, you are helping meet physical and spiritual needs in the name of Jesus Christ. Like most people, you probably purchase gifts for loved ones during the year. This year, let some of those gifts change lives by giving through the CBF Gift Catalog. Your loved ones will know you care about them and about people in need around the world. Order online now!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


CBF's Offering for Global Missions (OGM), is traditionally, in Baptist churches, encouraged during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. This year's offering material features our Gypsy Team members, Dianne and Shane McNary. Tonight, Wednesday, November 3, at 6:30PM EST, Dianne and Shane will present a web cast with updates on the Roma ministry in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Gather your church members around the computer, beam the picture on the wall, or listen through the speakers to the wonderful things God is doing among the Roma through the McNary's ministry.

Would you like to have more resources on the Offering for Global Missions? Here you will find ways to access materials with leadership guides, clip art, posters, and bulletin inserts. These are all great ways to make your congregations aware of how the love of Christ is being shared and ways you can help through praying, giving, and serving.

The offering is a large part of what enables the McNarys, our team, and other CBF field personnel to live and minister among the most neglected of this world. Thank you for considering a gift.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Gypsy Smith Leadership Training - October Session

Romanian, Dutch, English, Romani (Gypsy), a bit of German, and Hungarian - what a mixture of languages! At times during this week of the October session at the Gypsy Smith Leadership Training all could be heard. Seventeen Roma leaders gathered to learn about Baptist History and the Holy Spirit in Scripture. Our instructors for the week were from The Netherlands where Baptists just celebrated 400 years of history from their beginnings in Amsterdam. Teun van der Leer is the Rector at the Baptist Seminary and Anne de Vries is a staff member of the Baptist Union. The teachers had this to say about their week with the Roma leaders:

Anne de Vries: "It's great to teach these brothers. They are highly motivated to receive, know their Bible well and demonstrate a strong interest in theology and church history. Their singing is very impressive, as are the moments of prayer that we may experience together. It is a great privilege to work here. "

Teun van der Leer: "Wednesday we spent a short visit to the Baptist Seminary here in Bucharest (more than 200 students) and Thursday night we visited, along with the students, a service in Biserica Baptista Christina Provindentia in Bucharest, where we of course had to preach ourselves and share greetings from the Netherlands."

Join us in praising God and thanking Him for this opportunity to teach and learn. Thank Him for the dedicated leaders that made the journey and took the time to be in Bucharest this week. Thank Him for calling our two teachers to come as well. Praise God for this week of blessing.

quotes from Baptist Union website:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Action--via AI

I ahve been a member of Amnesty International for a couple of decades now. We are also members of Open Doors, a Christian organization that advocates for the persecuted church. The positive thing about both is that you and I can make a direct, positive difference in the world, simply by sending a letter, card, or e-mail. Amnesty International currently has several involving Roma:
Germany Must Stop Forcible Returns of Roma to Kosovo;
Stop Forced Eviction of Roma in Serbia.
You may add your voice by going to, appeals for action, and scrolling down to the related article. At the end of the article is an opportunity to send an e-mail or letter. This has proven effective for many years, in many countries, and many causes.
Note that we do not blanketly endorse all actions of Amnesty International, but we can recommend these.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweatshirts for Everyone!

The air has a definite chill, the clouds hang low in the sky, and the leaves are falling off the trees. Fall is here! Can winter be far behind? With that in mind the Ruth School staff distributed new sweatshirts to all the students. Thanks to a generous donation from supporters in the United Kingdom, boxes of school shirts were hauled into each room. The warm, cozy sweatshirts will help on those blustery, cold days yet to come.

Jesus said, "...I need clothes and you clothed me."

**Ruth School is located in Bucharest, Romania and provides education of grades 1-8 for Roma students.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bloom where you are planted

Greetings from the Czech Republic! My name is Rachel (some of you remember me as Stephen) Brunclikova and I’m the newest (re)addition to the Roma Team. Many of you have been praying for me over the last few months and I want you to know that those prayers have been felt every day! I continue to recover from my second surgery and am gaining strength daily. I’ve decided to get myself started blogging – we’ll see how it goes. Those of you who know me know that I have felt a call to missions since a young age. As I look back over my journey, I see how God’s work tends to be cyclical and that these last few years when I’ve been “out of missions”, I’ve actually been going through a very important time of preparation for this new work. I also got some time to just be a wife and a mom – both answers to years of prayer. Since I have been living as a “real Czech” for the last seven years, I see how God has uniquely prepared me to work with the Roma and the Baptist churches here and hopeful stand in the gap to foster cooperation and understanding. I remember when I was young hearing in Sunday school that we should “bloom where we are planted”. There was always this voice inside of me that said “No!! I’ve got to GO somewhere”. Well, I went. . . . and now I’m planted here. . . and guess what God is asking me to do – BLOOM WHERE I’M PLANTED!! Of course, making something bloom takes good soil, the proper amount of water and often a little fertilization – and all of that means work. I ask for your continued prayer as I “bloom” and start working with the ongoing projects here in the Czech Republic and look for other projects to support.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Good find online

I stumbled across a website which has some of the best documentary material from the Roma I have ever seen.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:

"fellowship!" features Roma Ministry

The current issue (Oct/Nov) of CBF's publication "fellowship!" is on-line. Take a look at! The feature article is on the ministry of Dianne and Shane McNary in Slovakia. It is very informative of the wonderful things God is doing through them among the Romany. There are also two other articles on the Dom Gypsies located in the Middle East and the Banjara Gypsies located in India.

Read the articles and please consider how you might be a part of God's mission among the Roma through praying, giving, and volunteering.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ruth School - Preschool Class Begins

Project Ruth was founded to serve the needs of the Roma neighborhood called Ferentari in Bucharest, Romania. This year they took a new step in their quest to break the cycles of poverty through education by beginning a preschool class. Tuesday morning 11 shiny, newly scrubbed faces made their way to the original Ruth School building to be in the first class. They were accompanied by mothers and younger siblings eager to meet the teacher and see the classroom. After words of welcome, snacks of cookies, a look at their brand new coloring books, and picture taking, the little students walked home with smiles in anticipation of what the next day would bring.
This class is designed to prepare these 5-6 year old children for 1st grade. Please pray for their teacher as she prepares and teaches. Pray for the students to have open minds and be eager to learn. Pray for the needed funds to have the preschool as a continual program - to purchase supplies, food, and provide for the teacher. Pray for the safety of the children. Pray for the mission of Project Ruth, making a difference in the lives of Roma children. Pray that through education the cycles of poverty can be broken and that Christ will be seen.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Roma in the News

The deportation of Roma from France has been making the news headlines around the world. Roma rights groups are speaking out against it. Protests have been organized. The European Union has asked France to reconsider the solution. Opinions are being voiced on both sides by many. While this is international news, there are many other similar situations that are not making the headlines.

In Hungary the Jobbik (far-right political party) won 17% of the vote in April's general election. One of the campaign promises was to stamp out "Gypsy crime". They have proposed strict jail sentences for those ignoring this problem - 3-5 years. They have also recommended legislation that repeat Gypsy offenders be placed in internment camps and stripped of their Hungarian citizenship. So far these are just proposals. Please pray that the discrimination and prejudice will decrease. Pray for wisdom and guidance for those of seeking to help with reconciliation.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The faces of Summer

The weather has turned cold.  And though it is supposed to be sunny tomorrow in Kosice, the temperatures will be a mere reminder of the warmer days of summer.

Summer was a busy time of ministry in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  Earlier blogs mentioned the student.go group, TeamTAG who served along with the Stocks and us for six weeks.  The final camp of the summer was in late August when Shane encouraged forty Roma from six different communities in Slovakia to make a decision to follow Christ.  The theme of the camp was on Making Good Decisions.  Of course there is no better decision a person can make than to become a Christ-follower. 
We celebrate what God has done this summer!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cards for Moldova

A typical hobby for Dutch women is making greeting cards. A friend who attends the same church as we do has been selling hers for several years, with the profit going towards this or that church-related ministry. This year, she is focusing on the outreach to Roma in Moldova. She estimates that card sales would be enough to pay one student to attend the Moldovan Bible College for one year + assist with an outreach for Romany women. If you want to take a look at her work, go to If you want to order any, ask me for a translation!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Roma in the European News

**Background: France began last week sending home Roma (Gypsies) that had overstayed their 90 day allowance and had not found employment or started school. The French government is flying the Roma to their home countries and giving them 300 Euro per adult and 100 Euro per child. It has been very controversial. Below is the latest:

EUobserver: Paris has invited a handful of member states to an 'immigration' summit next month, amid strong controversy stirred by its high-profile deportation of scores of Roma back to Romania and Bulgaria. The meeting is to take place in Paris on 6 September and is supposed to deal with the "general topic of immigration". The list of invitees includes interior ministers from Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Greece. The Canadians have also been invited, while the Belgian EU presidency was added to the list as an afterthought. But the list is notable for who is not on it. Neither Romania or Bulgaria have been invited - the destination for Roma currently being deported from France.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Faithful...Meet Laszlo Antal

Meet our friend and ministry partner, Laszlo Antal (on the right in the picture). Laszlo is a retired Hungarian businessman living with his wife in the town of Szentendre. He is a layleader in the local Baptist church there. Laszlo has a heart for the Roma people. This is seen through his deep commitement to the Roma Baptist Church in Csobanka. Sunday after Sunday, despite the ups and downs of membership, the weather conditions, often the lack of a musician, Laszlo comes faithfully to support the church through teaching, preaching, praying, and serving as treasurer. This love for the Roma is seen in his steady voice and calm attitude toward whatever may happen. Laszlo has been making his way on Sunday afternoons to Csobanka for several years now. Please join us in praising God for those He has called out and their commitment to be faithful to that calling. Pray asking God to call more workers and that those He calls will say yes.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Partnership . . . connections that work

Partnering with local churches and organization multiplies the impact of our ministry and leverages local assets as they transform their own communities.  Below is a letter from one of our special local partner organizations, Heifer Slovakia. In addition to our work with them, we've also been able to connect them with other local donors to support their goal of eliminating extreme poverty.
On behalf of Heifer Slovakia I would like to thank you for your generous gift . . . which was directed towards support of the project “The Fowl House in Toporec”. Your commitment to helping fight hunger and poverty in our community is sincerely appreciated.
Each year Heifer Slovakia continues to advance its mission of working with communities to end hunger and poverty with respect to environmental protection. Through our projects we have seen many lives changed for the better.
In particular, “The Fowl House in Toporec” project is focused on improvement of financial and social situation of 15 families. In addition, they develop deeper knowledge and practical skills in hen breeding. The goal of the Heifer Slovakia is to continue to make a difference in the world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing sources of the healthy planet.
The aim of the Heifer Slovakia is to continue to make a difference in the world of communities living together in peace and equitably sharing sources of the healthy planet. With the help of donations from supporters such as you we will continue to see improvements in the standard of living of many families in Slovakia. In addition, we co-operate and support other not-for-profit organizations active in the field of social sphere (e.g. Centre for drug addicts, homeless people, disabled people, single mothers, abused women, etc)
Thanks again for your generous support of our efforts to respond to the constant changes in the needs of families suffering from hunger and poverty and at the same time keep peace, justice and unity.
Kind regards
 Join us in prayer for Heifer Slovakia, all their client families/communities, and for the transforming work they do.  Praise God for good partners and for donors who fund these connections that work!

"Till We Meet Again..." Good Bye Camp Tag

It was a marvelous summer! Our three college students gave of themselves over and over with servant attitudes, flexibility, and lots of laughter. Caitlin, Kolby, and Nina served for six weeks with the McNarys in The Czech Republic and Slovakia and with the Stocks in Hungary. They immersed themselves in Roma culture and eagerly learned a few words of language. They gave out lots of hugs, acted out Bible stories, sang silly songs, made many friends, and cheerfully did whatever was needed. Our Gypsy Ministries Team appreciates their willingness to be the hands and feet of Christ among the Roma of eastern Europe. Thank you!

Student.GO is a CBF program for college and seminary students to spend summers or school semesters serving among the most neglected peoples. We recommend it to students feeling a call to serve. It will change your world! Want to know more? Check out:

Monday, July 26, 2010

God Calls Anytime, Anywhere... (Adkins Complete 3 Years)

Ask Glen and Clista Adkins, CBF Global Service Corps, about their call to Hungary. They were empty nesters ministering in a local church in the USA where Glen worked as the music minister and Clista taught Sunday School, one of several volunteer ministries for her. They came twice to Pecs, Hungary with a volunteer team to teach English at the Gandhi Roma High School. The details are a beautiful picture of how God calls us to minister on His timetable. They answered yes to His call and soon found themselves completely changing their lives to live among the Roma students.

That was three years ago. Their term of service has been completed and they have returned to the USA. Words seem inadequate to describe the impact they have had on the students of Gandhi. Glen built a very talented choir and more importantly built relationships through the universal language of music. He encouraged the students to express themselves and to teach him about their style of music. Clista taught English and served as a resource/tutor for many of the students and staff. She loved the students and was known for always being ready with hugs for all! Both Glen and Clista accepted these students for who they were and constantly reminded them through their actions that they were important and valued. They arranged choir tours (the most recent being an ensemble to the US this summer), helped open doors for advance education, bought school supplies and clothing, secured volunteer teams for fun weeks at school, continually offered words of encouragement, and so many other things. Their ministry was to love these students and if this can be measured by the tears shed as the Adkins said their good-byes, they were very successful.

The Gypsy Team of CBF would like to say thank you to Clista and Glen for being open to God’s leading to serve for three years among the Roma of the Gandhi School. We will miss you and pray for God’s continued leading as you transition back to the USA.

God calls anytime, anywhere. Could He be calling you?

For a more comprehensive look at the life of the Gandhi students go to: - a DVD ministry of FBC, Greenville, SC

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Let There Be Light!

Why is Pastor Petru Ciochina so proud of this electrical connection? Because Bethlehem Baptist Church in Vulcanesti, Moldova, tried for more than 6 years to get electricity. It would cost them $300 for the paperwork--a month's wages for some people. The whole church dedicated themselves to two days of prayer and fasting. "God did a miracle," Petru said. The whole sum was provided. It was an important experience for the church--not just so that they could have power for lights and microphones. It also demonstrated God's power and care. Many in the church in Vulcanesti were surprised that God actually listened to their prayer--and their faith was encouraged.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Vivi is one of triplets born to Roma parents in the village of Pocsaj. Sadly, she has been nearly blind since birth. Vivi does not let her blindness hold her back. She is very smart, in fact, Vivi now attends a special school in the nearby city of Debrecen. During the week the Student.GO team was in Pocsaj, Vivi and Nina developed a special bond. Vivi was eager to learn English and Nina patiently helped her. At the end of the week Nina “drew” Vivi a picture using aluminum foil, feathers, textile paint, glitter, beads, and various other things. Vivi could “read” this picture with her fingers. It was a wonderful scene as Nina traced Vivi’s fingers over the items, explaining what they were. Vivi’s mom had tears in her eyes and said most people over look her daughter because of her handicap. But Nina looked past her blindness and saw the 10 year old girl with a big heart and a clever mind.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

English Teaching in Vacegras

"Be Flexible, go with the flow, adaptability" all terms our Student.GO team heard over and over during their orientation and from us. This week they put it all into practice and smiled through it all!

We understood the camp would be ESL (English as a Second Language) for middle school and high school students and prepared lessons for that level. Surprise! The camp was attended by mostly elementary age children. No problem! With a little re-planning and re-vamping, our team stepped up and provided a great week of English learning, games, and crafts.

Most of this children had never experienced anything like this. They do not regularly attend church so the Bible stories were new to them. They basked in the attention and enjoyed the crafts. By the end of the week they were able to ask and answer simple questions such as "How are you?" or "What is your name?"

We ended the week with an Independence Day USA party and a hot dog cookout. We used this as an opportunity for the students to talk about their culture. The biggest laugh came when they asked us to sing the US national anthem! We muddled through, high notes and all. They sang the Hungarian national anthem and three of the girls sang the Roma anthem.

Truly a good time was had by all and we pray the seeds that were planted will take root.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Moldovan Mission Trip

I've often thought that missionaries need to be able to sit in a room full of people speaking a language they don't understand--and still feel comfortable. Erika Oosterkamp and I often found ourselves in this situation on our recent trip to Moldova. Our friend, Alina Ivan, came, too. From Romania. So she spoke Romanian with the Moldovans, while we smiled and nodded.

We did discover, though, that string games do not require verbal communication. And we had a lot of communication with the Romany children and the Romany women in the village of Vulcanesti--with and without string; with and without translation.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gandhi Ensemble Mid-Tour Update

The Gandhi Ensemble has taken the USA by storm. They've only been in the States for a week and a half but they have been singing their hearts out with eight concerts! The venues have been packed with supporters eager to hear this talented group. The standing ovations have been a great encouragement to these seven young people. The group not only sings, they also teach about the Gandhi School and their Roma culture. They've been reunited with many friends that have visited their school over the last 10 years. At FBC, Greensboro they sang with their new friends from the youth choir that visited this past spring. In Virginia they were reacquainted with the Latino friends they went with to the Baptist World Alliance Youth Meeting in Germany two years ago. Don't worry though, they are having fun too. Among several things, they've enjoyed the theme park, Carowinds, and touring Washington DC. Please continue to pray for them as they travel, sing, and teach others about their unique culture. Check out for information on the rest of the tour and the new DVD just released about Roma culture in southeast Hungary. Thanks for your support!
(Thank you Elaine Sarratt, FBC, Greenville, SC for the photo)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

WOW! What a Week

It's been a busy time for the CBF Gypsy Ministries team with nearly all of us on the road. Shane and Dianne are representing our team at CBF's General Assembly (they are being featured in our Global Missions Offering material this fall - get on the list for it by calling the CBF office in Atlanta) and Shane is meeting with others to help plan strategy for Global Missions. Clista and Glen are touring the USA with a Gandhi High School student ensemble. They need your prayers! Mary Van Rheenen is in Moldova with two other partners providing a kids' camp and various other ministry opportunities. (Keith is at home because their girls are still in school but you can be sure he is busy doing something with video) Ralph and Tammy were in Szatmarcseke, Hungary with a Student.GO team doing kids' camp. And the summer has just begun...

Please continue to pray for our team and the ministries among the Roma. Check back often because we will have lots of stories to tell!

Student.GO Team TAG in Szatmarcseke

"Peel Banana, peel peel Banana..." was the favorite song of the week and "Praise Ye The Lord" was riotous as the girls tried to outdo the boys in volume. The weather was perfect and the kids soaked up the attention as we spent a week in the little village of Szatmarcseke. Each morning we were greeted by smiling faces ready to help act out the Bible story and eager to see what the craft of the day was. The boys were thrilled when our Hungarian translator got out his bow and arrows (practice arrows that are blunt on the end - safety first always!) to teach them archery. Life can be difficult for these Roma kids and they often grow up quickly. For this week they could relax and just have fun. I think I can truly say a good time was certainly had by all!
Thank you for your prayers. Now we are off to Vacegrasz for a week of English-As-A-Second-Language camp for middle school and high school age kids. Please continue to pray for safety and opportunities to share Christ.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gandhi Ensemble Meets Student.GO Team TAG

It was hard to tell which group was more excited - the Americans just arrived in Hungary to spend six weeks among the Roma or the Roma heading to the USA tomorrow to spend three weeks among the Americans! The Student.GO team went over to the hotel to meet the Gandhi School Ensemble for pizza and a little jam session. It was a perfect evening to sit outside, enjoy the cool weather, and watch Joshua, lead musician for the ensemble, try to teach, Kolby, uncoordinated American (his own words), to play the kanna (metal jug). The Roma students gave us a mini concert that had hotel guests coming out of their rooms to listen. Your prayers are needed for tomorrow, please. It is a big day for all. The Roma students fly out for Atlanta and their first night in Greenville, SC. The three American students load up the van and head for the village of Szakmarcseke to do their first week of kids' camp. It's likely there will be little sleeping among any of them tonight!

Friday, June 18, 2010

CBF's Silent Auction & Missions Marketplace

The Silent Auction and Missions Marketplace are just two of the fun events being held next week in Charlotte, NC at CBF's General Assembly. The Silent Auction has unique, often one-of-a-kind works of art from around the world. The Missions Marketplace has a variety of items, also from around the world, that offer opportunities to support people groups, mission efforts, and field personnel projects.

Our team has three items in the Silent Auction: ceramic and uniquely Hungarian - a nativity scene, a colorful vase, and a black clay candle holder & basket. Have some fun by bidding on these beautiful hand-crafted pieces. You assist in our ministry and you get a little something to remind you to pray for the Roma (Gypsies).

In the Missions Marketplace you will find items from Slovakia: metal bottle holders & candle holders, wire work, Christmas dough ornaments, and handmade cards. You can also purchase the Gandhi Roma High School music CD and the brand new DVD, "I Am Roma." As with the auction, the proceeds from all of these items benefit the Roma and ministries for them.

Drop by the resource fair and see what's there. If you can't stand the suspense of the auction pick up a few items at the Missions Marketplace. It's a great way to help with CBF's Global Missions efforts!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010


This is the year of the student in Roma ministries in Slovakia and the Czech Republic!  Kendall Ratliffe began her ministry in Litoměřice, the Czech Republic on 1 June.  Kendall will serve along side the Czech ministry team to support the Litoměřice Baptist Church's English ministry, minister with the Oasis Club (mostly Roma), and will be involved in the life of the local church.  

Kendall was greeted at the airport by Shane and Rachel.  After a circuitous route planned out by the GPS, everyone arrived in Litoměřice to get Kendall settled.  It did not take long for Kendall to demonstrate that she had done a lot of personal preparation for this ministry assignment. Not only had she mastered a few phrases before arriving (she can request a towel wherever she travels in the Czech Republic now!), she was quick to share greetings in Czech.

She will serve in Litoměřice for several weeks and will conduct a week of intensive English with a group of Roma in Košice in late July. Pray for Kendall as she begins her summer of ministry.  You can follow Kendall's adventures at her blog:  Kendall Ratliffe.  If you send her an encouraging letter or care package quickly, she will be sure to receive it at:  

Kendall Ratliffe
DKP Bethel o.s.
Pražská 992/14
41201  Czech Republic

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gandhi Ensemble to tour USA!

The Gandhi Roma High School Ensemble under the direction of Glen Adkins, assisted by Clista Adkins, will tour the USA this summer. This very talented group sing traditional Roma (Gypsy) music as well as Hungarian and American. Make plans to attend one of the concerts listed below - load up the church bus, invite your friends - all concerts are free! See you there!

June 23, 6:45pm, CBF Commissioning Service, Pritchard Memorial Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC

June 24, 9:00pm, CBF General Assembly, Resource Fair, Charlotte Convention Center, Hall B, Charlotte, NC

June 27, 8:45am, 11:00am, 6:30pm, First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC

June 28, 7:00pm, First Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC

June 29, 7:00pm, Fort Trial Baptist Church, Bassett, VA

June 30, 6:15pm, University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA

July 4, 9:40am, 11:00am First Baptist Church, Augusta, GA

July 6, Time TBA, Northminster Baptist Church, Jackson, MS

July 7, 6:00pm, First Baptist Church, Shreveport, LA

July 8, 8:00pm, Montego Plaza, Dallas, TX

July 9, The Hartford Insurance, Frisco TX; Hotchkiss Insurance, Carrollton, TX

July 11, 8:15am, 10:30am, 5:00pm, First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL

July 12, 4:30pm Hymn Society for the United States and Canada Conference, Sanford University, Birmingham, AL (Conference registrants only)

Monday, June 7, 2010

CBF Commissioning Service - June 23

The CBF Gypsy Ministries team would like to invite you to join us at the CBF Missionary Commissioning Service on June 23rd at 6:45PM. Rachel (Stephen) Brunclikova will be commissioned as an Affiliate field personnel ministering among the Roma of the Czech Republic. The service will be held at Pritchard Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC. Because of medical treatments after an operation, Rachel will be commissioned in absentia.

Rachel is already known to people who are familiar with CBF Global Missions with the Roma. She began her service years ago as a Global Service Corp missionary when she served in Litomerice, Czech Republic. After graduating from Truett Seminary in Waco, TX, Rachel returned to Global Missions, this time as field personnel serving in Kosice, Slovakia. Rachel left CBF to marry Vlada, a Czech national. Ask her about the story that has brought her back to Roma missions.

Join us in praise for Rachel, Vlada and their son Michal Patrik (who will be four years old in July). Pray for Rachel as she continues to heal and as she begins her ministry. As an Affiliate, Rachel must raise 100% of her financial support – she is not funded through the Offering for Global Missions. Pray that God will lay a burden for all the people of the Czech Republic – Roma and non-Roma – and that God will lead individuals and churches to invest in the ministry of Rachel Brunclikova.

If you or your church feel lead to give to Rachel's support, please contact us and we'll provide the information needed. Thank you.

See you at the Commissioning and the General Assembly!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Pocsaj Celebrates!

Their first meeting place after they outgrew their living rooms was a room at the local police station. The local villagers thought this was a hoot because stereotypically Roma (Gypsies) and jail go hand in hand. This group was different though. They were meeting to worship the God that loves and cares for them because they ARE Roma. From this location they moved to an abandoned movie theater and from there they relocated to their very own place of refuge, a house renovated into a church. This journey is only a portion of what the Pocsaj Roma Baptist Church celebrated this past weekend.

It has been a history of highs and lows but one to be celebrated nevertheless. They remembered the outdoor baptism, not a big deal until you realize it was in December and there was snow on the ground. Fondly they recalled the birth of triplets to a faithful couple struggling with infertility and seeing those three babies dedicated to the Lord. There were remarks of various revivals, worship leaders, volunteers from Hungary and from the USA, and so many other wonderful memories. The congregation gave thanks to God for leading them this far and asked his blessing on their future. Join us in praying for the Pocsaj Roma Baptist Church and for God's leading...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Scenes from France

Saint Sara, patron saint of Romany

Galit sharing Jesus DVD with pilgrim

Sinti media materials available at tent meeting

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Planning a short-term mission trip?

A colleague shared an interesting article about the "Ten Worst Practices" of short-term mission trips.  It is a brief article and well worth the read.  Scott Kirby's Equipped for Adventure: A Practical Guide to ShortTerm Mission Trips is a practical resource for any short-term mission trip leader/organizer.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gandhi & Campbell - Day 3, The Last One

"Rain, rain go away..." so the old children's song goes. Unfortunately the rain was accompanied by gail force winds and very cool temperatures. The day started with a warm breakfast of sausages and pancakes with gallons of hot chocolate. We crowded into the common room for English lessons and play time, only venturing out for bathrooms (in another building) or a hot drink (also in another building). During the last devotion time Jonathan shared about the greatest hero of all: Jesus Christ. Then as is our tradition, we held a talent show, took a group picture, and finished up with S'mores. Who knew you could make S'mores in the oven?? The talent show was fun with lots of lively music and the students went wild when Glen and Clista sang an old bluegrass song. Tears flowed as we reminded the students they are loved by God, they are loved by us, and they can do ANYTHING they put their hearts, minds, and energies into. Gandhi students are the best!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gandhi & Campbell - Day 2

Today could have been titled: How to Entertain Teenagers on a Rainy Day in a Small Space. The weather did not cooperate. It was rainy and cold with a a gusty breeze. This did not dampen the enthusiasm of the Gandhi nor the Campbell students. The Super Hero English lessons went smoother with more participation as the leaders grew more comfortable and the students grew bolder. The normal outdoor activities gave way to bracelet making, Wii playing, cards, folk dancing, assembling a puzzle, purse making from bandannas (the genius idea of Shirley Womble), movie watching, and of course, lots and lots of English conversation. We kept the food coming and the hot water pot full for tea and hot chocolate. The day ended with devotions led by Savi on the Bible Hero, Moses. Savi began his story time by saying, "Jo Estet!" which means good evening in Hungarian. The kids broke out in cheers and clapping. A great moment was watching the girls, eager to share their culture, teach Anna how to do a Roma dance. Despite the rain and gloomy skies, the day was filled with fun.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gandhi Gimnaszium & Campbell University - Day 1

With the beginning of English camp today we marked the 5th anniversary of providing a fun-filled English-learning experience for Roma students at the Gandhi High School in Pecs. This is the 3rd year the student ministries of Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC, has partnered with the Stocks and Adkins to lead the camp. The excitement was so high and the reputation of fun so well known that there was a waiting list of teenagers that wanted to attend this year.

Today centered on getting to know one another, eating good food, practicing English, and playing games. The Gandhi students had barely gotten into the camp before a quick game of 'Round the World started at the ping pong table and the chalk lines were being drawn for 4 Square. The English lessons this week center on Super Heroes. Tonight during the devotional time, Campbell Divinity student, Shirley Womble, told the story of a real hero from the Bible, Queen Esther. Two girls called out because they are named Esther but were not familiar with their namesake.

Tomorrow promises more fun, story telling, games, and of course, lots of food (what else can one expect when 29 teenagers are hanging around?). Please pray as the Campbell team builds relationships that they will be the hands, feet, and mouthpieces of Christ. Please pray for the rain to hold off and the temperatures to be warm.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Web Design for Project Ruth

Project Ruth, a ministry located in the Ferentari neighborhood of Bucharest, is making a difference in the lives of Roma (Gypsy) children. Through education they are helping to break the cycles of poverty so prevalent among the Roma. Project Ruth was one of CBF's first mission partners and one that our Gypsy Ministry Team works closely with.

Check out their new web site and consider how you might help through prayer, giving, or volunteering.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Devouring--Roma Holocaust . . . not remembered

Exactly 65 years have now passed since the end of the Second World War. The war left its mark on the lives of millions of people, and millions more were the victims of mass murder. Certain groups of citizens were even singled out for annihilation; among these were the Jews and the Roma. The Jewish people chose a descriptive word for the greatest trauma in their history -- the burning, or the Shoah. The Roma use a metaphorical expression -- the Devouring -- that is, Porajmos, or Samudaripen.

At the Roma and Travellers - Victims of the Holocaust Conference in the European Parliament,
Mrs. Ágnes Daróczi testified, "The memory of up to half a million Romani victims of the Holocaust dictates that we cannot forget the lessons to be learnt from this tragedy. We have to join forces with all those whose aims are respectable, with all humanist people, organisations and states so that the Nazi crimes of our history cannot be repeated. For this, we have to make our own sorrow a part of Europe’s common sorrow. We cannot remain on our own." Brussels, 11 May 2010

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Introducing Rachel

Rachel (Stephen) Brunclikova is already known to people who are familiar with CBF Global Missions with the Roma. Rachel began her service years ago as a Global Service Corp missionary when she served in Litomerice, Czech Republic. After graduating from Truett Seminary in Waco, TX, Rachel returned to Global Missions, this time as field personnel serving in Kosice, Slovakia. Rachel left CBF to marry Vlada, a Czech national.

A couple of years ago discussions of whether Rachel was interested in returning to missionary service were a mere curiosity. But over the next year, many things happened in Rachel and Vlada’s life which prepared Rachel to return to her calling to serve among the Roma.

Because of follow up medical treatments after an operation, Rachel will be commissioned in absentia during the General Assembly, 23-26 June, in Charlotte, NC.

Join us in praise for Rachel, Vlada and their son Michal Patrik (who will be four years old in July). Pray for Rachel as she continues to heal and as she begins her ministry. As an Affiliate, Rachel must raise 100% of her financial support – she is not funded through the Offering for Global Missions. Pray that God will lay a burden for all the people of the Czech Republic – Roma and non-Roma – and that God will lead individuals and churches to invest in the ministry of Rachel Brunclikova.

If God is leading you or your church to give, contact us and we’ll tell you how to support Rachel!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Toma Maris...

Meet Toma Maris, a Roma man, currently enrolled in the Baptist seminary in Bucharest, Romania. Toma has a dream, a calling from God, to minister among the Romany in Bucharest. He became a follower of Christ in 1990 and participated in the Gypsy Smith Leadership School through Project Ruth. Toma's vision is to start a church for Roma with worship in the Romani language in the Ferentari neighborhood - the location of Project Ruth.

Pray for Toma as he studies to have a foundation for fulfilling his calling. Pray for provision for Toma and his family (wife, 2 children) to have their daily needs met. Pray for the hearts of the Romany in the Ferentari area of Bucahest to be softened and open to hearing God loves them. Ask God to provide fellow believers to walk along side Toma and assist him in his vision of a church plant. Praise God for this Roma man committed to following God wholeheartedly.

pictured: (L) Ralph Stocks (CBF Field Personnel) (R) Toma Maris

Monday, April 26, 2010

Clista Adkins & the Gandhi School IN THE NEWS

20/04/2010 - In this video, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) Field Personnel Glen and Clista Adkins talk about their involvement with the Gandhi School. 
The Gandhi High School in Pecs, Hungary, was founded with donations from several Romani organisations in 1992 to be the first Romani high school and has been running since 1994. It was named after the Indian Mahatma Gandhi, to emphasize the Indian origin of all Romani groups. The purpose of the middle school is to provide a school-leaving exam to improve the prospects of Romani children in Hungary and to foster pride in Romani culture. The school is financed by the Hungarian government with additional funds from the EU and donations. The school consists of 6 classrooms where about 250 male and female pupils study, mostly until the ages of 14 to 18. There are also programs for adult education. The first group of pupils who started in 1994 took their school-leaving exam in 2000 and of 18 pupils, 16 have applied to universities and 7 have been taken up. Less than 1% of Roma in Hungary are university graduates. Although the school is open to all, currently only five non-Roma are enrolled.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Spring is Here!

All over Europe trees and flowers are blooming as the earth awakes from the long winter... and a long, nasty one it was! It is a time of rebirth and renewal. A time for cleaning out and letting the warm breezes blow in. Please pray for the Roma ministries as they too rev up after the slow down of winter. Pray for leaders as they guide their congregations to a time of renewal of following Christ. Pray for CBF personnel as they minister along side the Roma believers bringing the Good News of New Birth to the Romany.

Side note: This cherry tree is in our (Stocks) front yard and if it has as many cherries as blooms, we're going to have a bumper crop!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easter in Vulcanesti, Moldova

This year the special music was really special.

And international.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Rock Stars? No, it's FBC, Greensboro's Youth Choir!

The youth choir from First Baptist Church, Greensboro, NC spent a week during their Easter break giving concerts with their voices and with handbells. The also participated in outreaches at schools, Roma churches and an orphanage. The choir was extremely talented and the handbells were unique to Hungary. This combination made them greatly received where ever they went. Click on their daily blog to get a glimpse of their experiences among the Roma of Hungary.

Friday, March 26, 2010


How often do you put out the trash? In our town, trash is picked up once a week--one week the green container which will be composted & the other week the gray container which will be burned to generate electricity. The trash containers have a chip in them, and we are charged for each time the container is emptied. This to encourage recycling rather than tossing trash. Consequently, Keith and many others in our neighborhood engage in the ritual trash dance. This involves climbing up on something high enough to allow one to stomp down the trash and get more in the container. Very Dutch to want to save the additional fee. Due to Keith's dancing, plus our recycling and generally simple lifestyle, we manage to only set the trash out every six weeks or so. The Romany village of Vulcanesti does not have the luxury of household garbage pick up. They throw their trash in the woods across the road from the church. The pastor would like to change this . . . with or without dancing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ladies' Day #5 - 'Berencs

"Thank you God that you love us as women as much as you love men. Thank you that for you we are not nothing and you do not look at us as people without value..." This was a portion of the prayer of one of our ladies today. A woman who has had a difficult life having lost all eight of her children. She told us of being contently married for 25 years and a Believer for five. Her face told us she carried a heavy burden - she looked much older than her 48 years and she rarely smiled. However, it's hard not to smile and laugh once the cake icing is handed out. One of the team members compared it to giving play dough to preschoolers. It's therapeutic to stir the color in to the icing, fill the bag and then create something unique. It didn't take long before our new friend was smiling and seemed to relax a bit.

The 'Berencs church room is small and we squeezed in 17 women along with our 8 team members. We moved church benches around for a make shift dining area and raided the owners home for a few extra chairs. The weather cooperated too so we could have the door open to allow the fresh air in. (After a week of breathing wood smoke we were ready!)

Thank you for praying for this week of Ladies' Days. Our goals were to tell of God's love for all, encourage the women in their faith, and give them an opportunity to have fun without the worries of their normal day. Our prayers were answered as we saw this happen each day. It was apparent as the ladies left at the end of the days that they had enjoyed themselves. Join us in giving thanks to God for a fantastic week!

And thank you Women's Missionary Union of Virginia - women all around Virginia - for supporting this project.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ladies' Day #4 - Kekcse

As we loaded the van this morning we were all curious and wondering out loud how the day would go. The Roma church in Kekcse had split a few weeks ago and most of the women had left to attend the new church start. We weren't sure if they would come to a function being held in the building of the church they were no longer a part of. We had planned on and hoped for 20 women. "Oh ye of little faith..." We eventually had 39!

As Becky McKinney began her message to the women on God's forgiveness the rest of us were praying for open hearts and ears. We were asking God to heal the conflict and strife between the groups. The ladies were heart felt in their prayers asking God to bless and forgive them. One lady prayed "I've waited a long time to have a special day like this."

During the necklace making I shared about the Beads for Life that are made by Ugandan women to support their families. The Roma women clapped and shouted "Amen" as I explained we were helping women in Africa. They loved the idea.

Cake decorating, as on the other days, was a huge hit with lots of laughter. The WMU VA team was amused as they watched the Roma women lick their icing spatulas and icing tips - often just squirting the icing directly into their mouths. Another comical moment was watching Nicole Todd teaching the decorating from the pulpit. The room was crowded and the brick pulpit was immovable - it was the best place. We wanted to call her "Sister Martha Stewart".

The most poignant moment of the day came when a great grandmother introduced herself and 3 generations of women in her family. The great grandmother was 47 years old; the grandmother 32 years old, the mother, 16; and her baby was 1.

Again we felt God blessed us by letting us play a role in bringing bits of joy and fun to the lives of the Roma women. We pray they take to heart God's message of love and forgiveness. Please pray for our last Ladies' Day tomorrow in Berencs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ladies' Day #3 - Tuzser

Wow! What a day! Tuzser was the largest of the churches where we planned to hold the ladies' day celebrations. It lived up to our expectations. This celebration time was chaotic, crazy and fun-filled. The church room quickly filled with women eager to see just what this American group was all about. We had requested the ladies not bring children but of course knew we would have a few nursing mothers. As soon as word "telegraphed" around the village that it was OK to bring small children the numbers grew quickly.

Becky McKinney's message of God's love for women and the sacrifice Jesus made was even more important since nearly half of the 60 women present were not believers. The ladies who were church members were a bit embarrassed by the non-members' behavior of being loud and grabbing for supplies. We explained there was no need to worry. We were happy the women were hearing the Good News and hoped seeds were planted.

So as the dust cleared and we looked around the room at the bits of paper scattered, the smeared icing, turned over cups, napkins stuck inbetween pew boards we felt the day had been a success. We had 60 women in the morning and 51 in the afternoon. They heard the message of encouragement through God's love and forgiveness and they had a time away from their families - if only briefly.

Please pray continue to pray. We have two days left and we want as many women as possible to hear the message and enjoy "their" day.