Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Young Romany Man's Response to "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding"

Dear Supporters, 
While in the USA last year and channel surfing I happened upon a TLC show called "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding".  It is an import from Great Britain.  I was appalled at what I saw and knew this was not a representation of the Romany I know.  As Ralph and I met with friends and partners we were asked again and again about the show.  Each time I would explain the Romany we call friends are in no way like any part of the show.  I asked people to please NOT view it and to write to TLC asking them to take it off. 

I am sharing with you a letter written by a young Romany man who openly disputes the depiction of Romany on the show.  Please join me in boycotting the show and writing TLC requesting it be taken off the air.   Let's take a stand for the Romany!

Thank you,
Tammy Stocks
CBF Field Personnel
Ministry among the Romany
Romania and Hungary

"Dear Channel 4, I am writing to you with the hope that you will stop ruining my life. While your obsession with my ethnicity is flattering, it has become somewhat apparent to me that you might have gotten the wrong end of the stick. This is sort of awkward for me, because I don’t want to be the one to break it to you, but your documentary, ’Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’, is unfortunately a work of fiction. There is no need to be embarrassed, it can happen to the best of us, and thus I hope my letter will help you establish the facts, after all I’m sure you are passionate about fighting discrimination against ethnic minorities. Don’t be modest now, we know you are…right?

It surprised me to discover that 99% of Britain’s Gypsy and Traveller population are Irish. Correct me if I’m wrong, as I am sure you have done lots and lots of research on this topic, but just 10% of the Gypsy and Traveller population are actually Irish Travellers. The majority, like myself, are in fact Romany, yet your ‘documentary’ seems to ignore our existence ..."- Romany person in the Open Letter of protest to Channel 4.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Prayer, Planning, and Play in Portugal

After what many have claimed to be the worst winter in eastern Europe in 30 years, the Romany team members gladly traveled from their respective locations to warm, sunny Lisbon, Portugal.  One of the advantages of living in Europe is the ability to utilize low-cost, budget airlines and to travel during the off-season making such a trip economical and renewing all at the same time.

We spent three days planning strategy, sharing ideas, fellowshipping, and praying for one another.  Any time this team is together there is lots of laughter and a few tears. We were joined by Becky and Jim Smith, our supervisors, from Atlanta.  We were also pleased that our newest team members, Jon and Tanya Parks, who remain in the USA raising support for their transition to Slovakia, were also able to join us for an afternoon session through the miracle of technology.

We were grateful for the time to renew physically, emotionally, and spiritually surrounded by the trust and friendship of team members and the beauty of Portugal.  Thank you Lord for this blessing!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Long Wait in Detva, Slovakia

Tomas Kohut, Lucenec Pastor
    At last summer’s Roma Family camp were several families from the south-central town of Detva.  Situated about thirty-minutes west of Lucenec, the small group of believers in Detva has been touched by the ministry of the believers from Cinobana.
   The group in Detva asked to have regular meetings, modeled after the one in Cinobana.  As you know, since 2005 we have partnered with the Lucenec Baptist Church and INNetwork in Cinobana.  Praise the Lord for this next phase of the partnership where a successful model of ministry is going to be reproduced in another community.  The first meeting of the Detva fellowship group took place on 25 January.  I (Shane) was honored to be asked to come and share with the group during their first meeting.  
   One sister from Detva shared about what this fellowship group meant for her faith.  “When we were at the Family Camp last summer, we talked about doing this.  You all (Cinobana and Lucenec believers) promised six months ago that you would come.  I don’t know if my faith could hold on another six months.  This is an answer to prayer.” 
   It’s exciting to see God’s hand moving among the Roma in south-central Slovakia.  Pray for this partnership, for the Detva believers and their witness.  Pray that we will have wisdom in knowing how to handle the unique situation in Detva as we follow the model established with our partners in Cinobana.