Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Europe's 8-10 million Roma

"The Good Friday evacuation of 276 Roma women and children shamed the government into banning the hate groups and vigilante civil guardsmen that had been terrorising Gyöngyöspata's Roma population for nearly two months. Furthermore, it thrust the issue of Roma integration to the top of Hungary's (and, by extension, Europe's) social, economic, and political agenda. Future historians may very well refer to the period in question as the ten days that shook the European Union out of its complacency with regard to Europe's 8-10 million Roma ...

If the Roma are to assume their rightful place among Europe's many peoples, the European press must immediately stop portraying Europe's Roma in a manner which panders to popular prejudice and instead portray them in a more dignified light as ordinary human beings facing extraordinary obstacles in their struggle for economic, social and political equality and human dignity." - Richard Field, founder and chairman of the American House Foundation, a US-registered private foundation that is working with Hungarian non-government organisations on issues of poverty, homelessness and social exclusion.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Meeting of the Presidents

This week John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance, has been in Romania visiting Project Ruth, Providence Baptist Church, the Baptist Seminary, and meeting several dignitaries. The visit also included a trip to Timisoara for the Romanian Baptist Union meeting.

**Picture:  Oti Bunaciu, president of Project Ruth and president of the Romanian Baptist Union, is seen here presenting a Bible and a book about Baptists to the Romanian president, Traian Basescu while John Upton, president of the Baptist World Alliance looks on.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Testament Recording--Portugal

Keith and his recording partner Arthur Wijnveen returned safely from Portugal last night (11:43 arrival!). The Portuguese Bible Society and all concerned were very, very pleased with the results of the project. This audio recording of a contemporary version of the Portuguese New Testament should be available in a couple of months.

One of our prayer partners on this project had e-mailed that they would be praying for the words that the speakers were recording to have an impact on the actors playing the voices. This was inspired. Arthur and Keith enjoyed working with the professional actors in Portugal . . . but very few of them were believers. Sometimes Keith had to explain the background of the piece the actor was recording. We pray that the Word will have impacted their lives in a positive way.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Faces of Poverty Tour

In March a reporter from the Roma Press Agency in Košice, Slovakia, a cameraman, and Shane went to the United States for a multi-state tour focusing on issues of and solutions to poverty.

Shane kept a journal of the trip.  The schedule they were on prohibited the journal from being posted daily, but you can read about it by following the link below.  Warning - Shane gets carried away sometimes . . . there's twelve pages!
(L-R) Ray Higgins (CBF of Arkansas director), Etela Matová, Shane, Jaroslav 'Jerry' Kerner
Link to read the report:  Faces of Poverty Tour Journal

The documentary should be completed and televised this summer on Slovak national television and perhaps Czech national television too.

Making the grade

A lot of things have changed over the past three years at the ministry center in Cinobaňa, Slovakia.  In partnership with the Lučenec Baptist Church, INNetwork-Slovakia, CBF of Arkansas and CBF of Missouri, a reconstruction effort is now more than halfway completed.  The process has done more than transform an empty building with rotting floors into a vibrant Christ-centered ministry center, it has encouraged a variety of indigenous ministries to flourish.

One example of the flourishing ministries is the after-school study center.  Students from the community come to the center to have a safe place with warmth in winter and lights year round to do their homework.  The plan was to place one computer in the center with internet access to assist the students.  However God had something else in mind!

Thanks to a donation of several used computers from a school in Košice, Slovakia and the volunteer labor of a Slovak friend, we were able to place four computers in the center for less than the price of one new computer.
Sending an email to a friend
When we were installing the last computer, Pupo, a Roma from Cinobana whose wife Olinka coordinates the after school program at the center talked about the positive impact of having the computers.  "The teachers are now praising our children.  They are getting better grades." he said as he watched his daughter sign onto the computer to check her email.  

Praise the Lord for partnerships which are making a difference in the lives of Roma in Slovakia.  
Praise the Lord for creative networking which can turn used computers ready to be discarded into tools to help Roma students study.
Praise the Lord for parents like Pupo and Olinka whose service to Christ include an after school ministry to neighborhood children.
Praise the Lord!