Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gandhi Choir Update...

**New to the Gypsy Ministry Blog? Glen and Clista Adkins serve at the Gandhi High School for Roma (Gypsy) students in Pecs, Hungary. Clista is an English tutor while Glen serves as the choir director. This is the most recent news about the student choir.
During the last two weeks of school, the Gandhi choir was delighted to be invited to perform three times, twice outside the school and once at the Gandhi Christmas program. The choir members loved performing their “new” selections for a gathering of Roma children at a neighborhood community center on a Tuesday afternoon. The following afternoon, the Gandhi kids were amazed at the warm reception they received from an entirely NON-Roma group of older Hungarians at the community center. The crowd seemed to be genuinely impressed by the music they heard, by the talent in the group, and by the fact that an 18-year-old Roma student was translating for Glen (English to Hungarian). As they were leaving the performance, the Gandhi students marveled over the fact that the enthusiastic audience was completely non-Roma. They kept saying, “There were no Gypsies there! They liked us!” What a Christmas gift those folks gave to the Gandhi students!

The next week, the choir sang for a standing-room-only crowd at Gandhi’s annual Christmas program. The solos were beautiful; the new songs were wonderful; and the finale of “Feliz Navidad”—complete with Santa Hats—was a hit! The student body and the faculty cheered and cheered. At the close of the concert, Glen gave every choir participant a Santa Hat that we bought and brought from America last summer.

Most recently the choir has begun their preparations for their spring-break tour of Roma villages in southern Hungary. After the Christmas concert, several new students asked to join the choir, so Glen is beginning 2010 feeling very encouraged. The choir is having its best year yet. This reminds us that God is working!

Cold Temps, Warm Hearts...

The temperatures in Hungary have dipped into the teen numbers on the Fahrenheit scale. It's frigid cold! Considering many Roma do not have adequate clothing or warm shoes, it would be understandable if church attendance dropped off on these cold, wintry evenings. This is not the case in Berencs! This past Sunday there was not an open seat, in fact the latecomers had to stand. As the fire in the wood stove slowly burned out and we began to see our breath in the icy air, the singing became livelier, more joyous in sound, and the amens rang out. The temps may have been cold, but the Roma believers in Berencs were warm in their praise.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Old Man Winter is Here...

Winter has arrived in Europe with blasts of frigid temperatures, thick foggy nights, and frequent snow falls. For many this is a welcome sight as they head to the mountains for skiing or frozen lakes for ice skating. Sadly for many of the Romany of eastern Europe winter brings a time of tough decisions. Homes must be heated and winter clothes/shoes are needed. Where does the extra money for these things come from? Often the choice comes down to firewood or bread, socks or medicine, coal or school books? These are difficult decisions especially when children or the elderly are involved. Please pray for resources to be provided for the Romany of Europe. Pray for the CBF Romany team as we seek to help meet these needs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Romany Musicians

They've become a familiar sight outside our grocery stores and shopping centers--Romany from Bulgaria, playing instruments with their case open on the ground in front of them. The accordian pays best, even if the person can't play it best. Look at a map. Why would someone trek clear from Bulgaria, in the east, to the Netherlands in the west--for this? If you had so little opportunity at home, you would, too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Songs of Praise

I like to watch a program called Songs of Praise on BBC. It comes on every Sunday night. Songs are interspersed with testimonies or other stories of faith. Sometimes the show focuses on a particular place (fishing village in Scotland; neighborhood in London). Sometimes it centers on a theme (being alone; ecology; Pentecost). This past Sunday, I got to wondering whether they ever had difficulty coming up with fresh ideas. I'd like to suggest they do a Romany theme sometime. They could interview Romany immigrants from the Czech Republic who've moved to Ireland. They could interview members of the Kalderash-speaking church in London who make a living replating and polishing silver. They could talk with Romanichal, Romany who have lived in Britian for centuries. And they would get some really rousing songs of praise. To hear some yourself, check out http://www.lgcuk.com/london. And I'll let you know if the BBC ever follows up on the idea.