Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Good King Wenceslas Revisited

Some things haven't changed much since Wenceslas (really a duke) went about doing good deeds (907–935). In many places, poor people still gather winter fuel wherever they can find it, legally or illegally.

Remember them whenever you feel a bit of a chill this holiday season.

And remember, too, people like Pastor Petru Ciochina, pictured here with a composite log made from scrap materials. He is looking for new ways for him and his people to gather winter fuel.

And finally, remember Wenceslas, the good, who not only saw and pitied, but carried fuel himself.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

How Many Churches Does It Take . . . ?

 How many churches does it take to make an audio recording of the New Testament? We're about finished with such a recording project in Poland, so I started counting. Our team of prayer supporters attend seven different churches from six different denominations in three different countries; four different US states. The "proof-listeners" came from at least five different churches and three different church traditions. The "voices" came from at least four different churches (two of them different than the proof-listeners') and three different church traditions (two of them different than the proof-listeners'). The studio spaces we've used have involved three different churches, including one church tradition not earlier involved. And I really don't know how many different churches the technicians and support staff at the Faith Comes by Hearing office represent.

So how many churches does that make? I would have lost count if, in fact, the answer were not so obvious: It only takes one Church to make an audio recording of the New Testament.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Who Steals Whose Children?

Recently there have been several high-profile cases of children being removed from Romany families—one in Greece and two in Ireland. The idea that Romany steal gadje (non-Romany) children has been part of European folklore for centuries. Ironically, the reverse is also true. One of Keith’s Romany friends said that, when he was a child, his parents used to tell him that if he didn’t behave, the gadje would come and take him away.
I myself experienced this. We had been invited to a Romany pastor’s home after the Sunday worship service. The women and children gathered around the kitchen table while the men ate and chatted in the more comfortable living room. The grandmother seemed to have trouble getting one of the little boys to eat and periodically fixed him with a serious look, said something in Romany, and gestured towards me. Clearly, if he didn’t behave that strange gadje woman would carry him off.
That amused me, but there is nothing amusing about jerking children out of their families without just cause. The European Roma Rights Centre notes:
Authorities must take a proportionate, responsible approach to child protection, based on facts and evidence, not on racial profiling. As a matter of principle, police action based on perceived difference in physical appearance between parents and children constitutes racial profiling . . . . We call on all national authorities to act in line with their own child protection procedures, and to show responsibility and restraint.
They have produced two factsheets explaining some of the core issues Romany children face including “a short overview of legal standards relating to racial profiling and child removal.”  
For more information, contact:
Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Article about McNarys' Ministry

A story about Shane and Dianne McNary was recently published on the Fuller Seminary website.  It's a moving and very informative article about poverty, weddings, and the "G-word."  Go to www.fuller.edu or click the image below for the direct link to the article:

We're Moving!

On November 1, this team blog is moving to a new location.  We'll no longer be publishing at the current site (cbfgypsyministries.blogspot.com).  From that date forward, we'll post at a new site:

That's the short version.  For the time being, old posts will remain on the old blog site, but any new posts will be on the new website.

Now for the longer version:

We changed the blog to reflect the new name of our team - rather than "Gypsy Team" we are now the "Romany Team."  As a team that works with Roma (or Romany People) across Europe, we don't want to perpetuate the stereotypes and hatred that are often heaped upon the word "Gypsy."  It's a centuries-old name, an inaccurate designation placed upon these people by others.  Today, especially in Europe, the word "Gypsy" is usually spoken with contempt - sometimes combined with a descriptive like "filthy," or with an expletive... or both.

In reality, the people long-known as Gypsies are not a scattered group of random nomads, but a distinct ethnic group that has broken into multiple branches.  They are called Roma, Dom or Banjari - names they have given themselves, names that honor their past and their rich culture.

We affirm the Roma people and see them as full members of the Kingdom of God, so we believe that it is no longer helpful (and is even harmful) for us to use the term "Gypsy..."  even in the U.S., where the term does not have such a strong connotation.  One of the ways we help with this is by changing our team name from "Gypsy Team" to "Romany Team."  And that means changing the blog name, too. 

Shane McNary states this in a much more thoughtful way over on the McNary ministry blog - you can read the post by following this link.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Think About It: Volunteers Needed

We have a request for you to consider.

Each year our team has a face-to-face meeting somewhere.  This year it was in North Carolina following the CBF General Assembly, because all our team members were in the U.S.  Next year, our Romany Team will meet with the Albanian-Ukrainian team on March 27-31, 2014 in Palma de Mallorca, an island off the coast of Spain.

There are many logistics involved in such a meeting, of course.  But there's one important question that we, as parents, think of immediately:  While the M's meet, what will the MK's be doing?  It's an important question for two reasons.  First, the adults will need to give their full attention during the meeting times.  But even more important for us is that this time can be a real ministry to our MK's.  Seldom do they get to meet and play together, with other kids who can completely understand what it's like to be an MK.

We're looking for someone to love our children during these days.  It's an opportunity to minister to these MK's and to their parents, as well as a chance to visit a place that (from all we can tell) is absolutely gorgeous!

Think about it.  Pray about it.  Let us know (contact the Parks - jparks AT thefellowship DOT info) if you're interested - or if you have an idea of someone else who might be.  See the description below for more information.

Childcare worker needed!

Who: Couple or individual to provide childcare for four children of CBF Field Personnel (one preschooler who loves LEGOs, one 2nd grader who loves math, and two 3rd graders who love to chase pigeons)

What: Childcare during team meetings – programming can range from just kind-fun activities to VBS-type ideas. Depending on the volunteer’s comfort level, some sightseeing or museum visiting, etc. with the kids is also possible.

When: March 27-31, 2014 (Actual dates of the meetings)

Where: Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Why: To serve God through service to these missionary families. To have fun with some awesome kids. To learn more about how CBF is serving around the world.

Costs: Because this is a volunteer position, it is necessary that all expenses be provided by the volunteer.

  • Lodging for a couple - $280; includes breakfast and lunch during meetings and 4 nights hotel stay (dinners are not included in this cost) 
  • Transportation – flight estimates from ATL to PMI (just to give an idea) are around $1000 per person. 
  • Other fees to consider – local transportation during meeting, any activity expenses, other meals, souvenirs, etc.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Condensed from a press release dated 12 September 2013:

Around 35 Romani* families are being evicted from the informal settlement of Via Salviati, Rome, this morning, and taken to a segregated formal camp. Amnesty Italy, Associazione 21 Luglio and the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) have observers at the operation, and are concerned that the action does not meet human rights standards or procedural safeguards.
Today's action is the result of an order by Mayor Marino, 5 August 2013, which ordered the immediate transfer of the people and their property to the large formal camp, Castel Romano. This is the second time the Roma have been evicted from Via Salviati, which is just a few kilometres from the centre of Rome.
The Roma community sent an open letter to Mayor Marino, clearly stating that they don’t want to live in a ghetto. Castel Romano is a Roma-only mega-camp around 25 kilometres from the city. It is extremely difficult for Roma to access jobs and education from the location. The Roma community of Via Salviati has repeatedly asked the city of Rome’s authorities for dialogue. In the open letter to the Mayor, they asked to work towards policies for genuine inclusion. As far as the NGOs are aware, the request has not been followed up by the authorities.
The forced eviction is an undeniable backwards step from the positive commitments made in the National Strategy for Inclusion of Roma, Sinti and Caminanti, which emphasizes the need to overcome the model of the "camp" to combat isolation and promote social inclusion.
For more information contact:
Sinan Gökçen
Media and Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
Tel. +36.30.500.1324

Paola Nigrelli
Media Officer
Amnesty International Italia
+39.06.449.0224, +39.348.697.4361

*Roma, Romani, and Romany are all acceptable terms.
This press release is posted for information only, not as a blanket endorsement of any NGO's listed or involved.

Friday, August 30, 2013

An Example of Forgiveness

It was a unique service at Devleskero Kher (our Roma/Slovak church) that morning. There were 50 people visiting from Norway, at least 30 from Germany, a team of five from the USA, and many Roma and Slovaks present. The two large visiting European teams had been working tirelessly in the villages in the area. The American team had just arrived the night before, and they were still fighting jet-lag from a long trip across the ocean. And the church members were exhausted from a long week of hosting such a large group. Despite the tiredness in those present, there was a lively service of worship and praise. Songs and testimonies in Slovak, Romani, English, and Norwegian added to the spirit of unity and global celebration.
The spirit of the Lord was certainly in that place. As the service progressed, each of the leaders of the churches (German and Norwegian) had been asked to say a bit. The leader of the German group got up to speak. He thanked the church for their hospitality, talked of how much he and their team had grown from their experiences in the villages, and told a few stories of their time together. He then proceeded to tell about his Grandfather, who had been one of the leaders in the Nazi party. (For those who are not aware, the Nazis killed an estimated half million Gypsies during the Holocaust.) 
With tears in his eyes this man confessed that he did not know what his grandfather had done to the Roma, but because of his grandfather’s position in the movement, he was sure that atrocities had been committed to Roma because of his grandfather. He apologized to the Roma present, on behalf of his family, and on behalf of his people, for the horrors that had been done to them. There was not a dry eye in the room as the pastor of Devleskero Kher invited some of the older Roma men and women to come to the front and officially accept this heartfelt request for forgiveness. In response, one of the Roma leaders admitted that they had demonized the German people as well, and asked for forgiveness as well. 
We were witness to a prayer of forgiveness and reconciliation between these two different groups of people. The walls of hatred which had been present for many years was beginning to diminish, if even in this one place. And all I kept thinking was, ‘if reconciliation cannot happen within the body of Christ, where will it begin?’ 
As Americans, we cannot fully understand the long-standing hatred between these two groups. We cannot fully grasp what this kind of forgiveness takes. More than likely over a half-million Gypsies were killed, most of them not documented because the Nazis didn’t think the Gypsies were even worth writing down. The hatred is strong, and the bitterness has been around for years. But, we got to witness a small portion of the wall crumbling as one man was bold enough to seek forgiveness. 
Where have you allowed bitterness and hatred to keep you from full fellowship with Christ? How can you be an ambassador of forgiveness and humility in love in the body of Christ? This kind of healing doesn’t come from the world. This is the kind of healing that can only start with God’s people. What kind of healing can only start with you?

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Article: When "special" means segregation

This editorial recently appeared in the Slovak Spectator, Slovakia's English-language newspaper.  Written by staff writer Beata Balogová, it addresses one way that some countries' school systems intentionally segregate the Roma... with results that can have a generational impact.

26 Aug 2013 | Beata Balogová | Opinion

Photo by Sandy Carter, (c) 2013 Sandy Carter Photography.
DISTRESSING stories related to Roma communities with unemployment rates in excess of 90 percent begin well before encounters at labour offices where many Roma are told that there are no jobs for unqualified applicants, or for those with qualifications, that a non-Roma candidate would be preferred anyway. These stories often start on the day children from these marginalised communities are sent to special schools where they do not actually belong, while their parents are told by those who ‘classify’ them that these classes ‘for children with special needs’ are actually much better because they will be with other kids like them.

Many of these marginalised children will never be able to get out of this trap and will continue living in settlements or ghettoes, while the non-Roma population continues to build walls to protect themselves from those they call ‘nonadjustable citizens’.

(click here to read the rest of the article...)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Words from the World - Ronella & Skyler Daniel


Ronella and Skyler Daniel, serving through Student.GO have joined our team.  They will arrive in Bucharest on September 6.  Please pray for them as they say good-bye and transition to a new place.  The Romany Team is excited for the possibilities of God's direction in the ministry of the Daniels.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Romania's Self-Styled King of the Roma Dies

An interesting article about the man declared to be the King of the Gypsies (his word) in Romania.  He stirred up controversy by marrying his 12 year old daughter to a 15 year old Roma boy but then vowed to stop this tradition of early marriage.  He also supported education as a way to fight poverty among the Roma.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Working With Romany in Moldova

For the third year in a row, a team of women from our home church in the Netherlands went to Moldova to work with local Romany Christians.

Together, they organized a day camp for girls, a women's program, and a week of informal visits marked by prayer and mutual sharing.

The Romany church spontaneously organized a Sunday afternoon cookout with fun activities for the children.

The Dutch team were able to stay in the Romany village itself which fostered fellowship, trust, and deeper, informal connections.


Answered prayer provided the highlights for their time in Moldova.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Article: A Unique School

A few weeks ago our friend Pavol Ičo, the English teacher at the Roma high school here in Kosice, had this article published in the Slovak National Newspaper, the oldest newspaper in the country (their website is here).  He writes about the importance of the work they are doing there, and why education among the Roma here in Slovakia is such a difficult but vital task.  With his permission, I posted a translation of that article on our blog, and am reposting that article here.  We are proud of Pavol (who is Slovak) for publicly tackling such a difficult racial issue among his countrymen!  

Please remain in prayer for this school - it has been almost completely defunded, and its future is uncertain.

(The footnotes are ours, provided for clarification.)
Pavol Ičo (center) teaches at the Roma Gymnazium in Kosice.
Pavol Ičo (center) teaches at the Roma Gymnazium in Kosice.
A Unique School

About 70 students study at the Roma private gymnazium (1) at #9 Galakticka Street in Kosice. That’s not many, compared to the average Slovak gymnazium; but on the other hand, keeping in mind the fact that more than 85 percent of Roma children study in “special schools,” (2) then each gymnazium-level Roma student – and especially graduates – are actually very rare.

Our efforts, as teachers in the above-mentioned gymnazium, are particularly aimed at giving the students as much direct knowledge as possible during the learning process at the school. The results of these efforts are demonstrated by the fact that, during its ten years of existence, the school has graduated nearly 70 students. Only a small number of Roma are able to handle all the requirements demanded of gymnazium graduates, which is understandable when you consider the type of environment these students come from. (3)

Study in the gymnazium is especially difficult for Roma girls.  They often become mothers at an early age, and therefore have little interest in education.

So how have we managed to bring such a relatively high number of Roma to graduation?

Certainly it is mainly a question of providing access. The Roma student indeed sees the teacher first as a person, and so it seems effective to approach the Roma pupils in view of the theory of humanistic education, that views education (and the entire learning process) as a coming-together of two personalities. And particularly these Roma pupils, who in everyday life struggle with a lack of attention from their parents, with poverty, with hunger and often also with physical punishment and sexual abuse – these students deserve respect and attention from the teachers, if only because they have interest in education and because, in place of criminal activities, they have chosen a more difficult path: the path of learning. But even considering this fact, in our gymnazium pupils are not graded more leniently than elsewhere. And our school’s educational program, as well as the thematic lesson plans, are based on the state’s educational curriculum.

However, we approach individual topics with our students using fun methods: knowledge competitions, for example, which do not require a word-for-word reproduction of knowledge and concepts, but focus instead on the overall comprehension and understanding of the given issue.

Despite the fact that most of our graduates have been accepted to universities at home and abroad, the state barely gives us any financial support.

They say there is no need for Roma gymnaziums. They say that talented Roma students can study in standard gymnaziums. But which “white” parent would sit their child beside a Roma classmate? And which Roma would be able to endure the bothersome teasing of his much wealthier classmates?

For now, therefore, Roma need their own schools. Schools in which they will not be seen as second-class citizens, schools in which they can see that that an interest in learning can produce more than just screaming from white teachers.

The path to improving the education level of Roma will undoubtedly be challenging, but the very existence of three Roma gymnaziums in Slovakia is proof that this path is not impossible.
(1) The Slovak word "gymnazium" doesn't really have an equivalent in English.  It's a form of secondary education that focuses students toward university study, rather than vocational or trade study.  Gymnazium study can last up to eight years, and would occur when U.S. students are going to middle- and high-schools.  Not all students study in gymnazium - some spend those years in a professional schools or vocational/trade schools.

(2) "Special schools" - Roma are often placed into schools for those considered mentally disabled.

(3) Most of the students at this school live in the infamous Lunik IX ghetto in Kosice.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


The European Roma Rights Centre has published new country profiles which outline some of the major issues affecting Roma in 10 countries. The short reports indicate that, despite some efforts to improve the situation of Romani individuals and communities, they still have to face violence and hate speech and cannot enjoy the same opportunities and standards as the rest of the society.
The ERRC country profiles are produced to give a snapshot of the situation of Roma and the work of the ERRC in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine in 2011-2012, focusing on ERRC core themes such as education, housing, violence and the state response to violent incidents.
ERRC Executive Director Dezideriu Gergely said, “Our country profiles establish that there is a long way to go to reach a discrimination-free Europe. Roma matters are a litmus test for European values. Governments must put their commitments to fight discrimination into action.”
The ERRC country profiles provide provide information that should strengthen research and advocacy by and for Roma across Europe. The findings were gathered from specific ERRC research, ongoing work by ERRC country monitors, media scanning and research from other sources. The profiles also list the international legal human rights tools that each country is a signatory to.
Condensed from a news release by the European Roma Rights Centre. For more information:
Sinan Gökçen, Media and Communications Officer, ERRC, sinan.gokcen@errc.org

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Use of Ownership

Ownership by use--many Romany groups traditionally had/have this view. As the fifth child of six, I grew up with a similar idea. This bicycle is mine because I am currently using it. This bed is mine because I am currently sleeping in it. This toy is mine because I am and have been playing with it. I was sometimes (unpleasantly) surprised when an older sibling returned home and claimed the thing I had been using for ten years was their own personal property because this thing had originally--perhaps even before I was born--been specifically given to them.
That attitude describes ownership by deed or title. This doll belongs to me, personally, because I bought and paid for it (see, here's the receipt) or because it was given to me, and me alone, on my 8th birthday (see, here's the gift card).  Even if I no longer have any use for that doll, it is exclusively mine. It is my right to determine who has access to that doll and what becomes of it.
The same goes for, say, scissors. Jan Yoors* describes an incident where some of his Romany traveling companions need haircuts but have no scissors. They borrow a pair from a local farmer. When they are done using the scissors, Jan (who is not Romany) insists the scissors be returned. Even though the farmer had no current use for them, the scissors belonged to him.
Change the lens and view the farmer's property in the light of ownership by use. The farmer has dozens of chickens. He cannot use them all. Your children are hungry. They could use one chicken. Who should own that chicken?
Change the lens again. What if you believed the chicken and the scissors and the doll and the bed belonged to Someone else who was just letting you look after it all? Maybe then you would be like my grandmother who took the traveling Romany woman into her pantry and freely shared jars of peaches and vegetables. No one ever stole chickens from their farm.

*In the 1930's a very young Jan Yoors traveled off and on with a group of Lovari Romany. He wrote of his experiences and observations in The Gypsies.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

General Assembly Invitation

Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is a means to help people reach out in love and minister to the physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs of their community.  CHE seeks to enable communities to escape the cycles of poverty through instruction in the prevention of disease, promotion of good health and how to live an abundant life in Christ. 

The participatory learning style encourages interaction among all attendees through small group discussions and role playing as well as large group sharing.  After completing their training, attendees are prepared to begin work in their communities and to share with others utilizing the CHE curriculum. 

Utilizing the principles of CHE, poor Roma communities have been impacted through our ministry in Slovakia as well as through a network of CHE ministries in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary and Serbia. 

To learn more about CHE and how it could be another tool to help transform your community of ministry, join us at CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, NC at the Healthcare Mission Community breakout on Thursday, 27 June 2013 at 1:30 p.m. in the Pinehurst Room.  We will also have a speaker to share about Bread for the World at this session. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hurry Up and Sing!

A second-year student at the Roma gymnazium.
Today we spent our last day of the school year at the Roma gymnasium on Galakticka street in Kosice.  The school faces an uncertain future - it has recently been defunded by the Slovak government, and is in danger of closing.  More than just our last visit for the year, today might have been our last day there, period.  We were a bit emotional as we made the 30-minute bike ride and talked about the different challenges that the school faces.

As we arrived at the school, I realized I had forgotten something important... the kids had asked us to sing for them today, since this would be our last day. My somber mood dissolved in a quick flurry of activity.  We borrowed a guitar from the school office, quickly tuned it up, and rushed into the hot classroom to play for the kids.

It ended up something like a concert, with the kids listening and clapping loudly when we were done.  We didn’t have printed music with us, so we were limited in what we could sing for them – mainly worship songs that we play often when we worship as a family, a few simple children’s songs and American folks songs that I could play with basic guitar chords.  We even taught them a couple, though they were mostly shy to sing along – “Father I Adore You,” “The Bear Went over the Mountain,” and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.”

Of course, teaching a simple worship song to kids – in a language they barely understand – is nothing like an evangelistic meeting!  But today was a great way to end this school year for us:  with a reminder of the relationships we’ve been able to build this year, and a reminder of how incredibly open and curious these kids have been when we’ve talked about the reason we’re here.  

Whatever the status of the school next year, we are praying for more open doors with these kids, to help them find a hope and a Love that can make a difference in their difficult lives!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Roma Network

For some years now we've noticed that a lot of Dutch Christians regularly trek to Romania bringing stuff, volunteering at orphanages, ministering short- and long-term . . .. Because the Roma in Romania are frequently in even more material and social need than others there, these organizations and individuals often become focused on Roma.

Apparantly we are not the only ones who've noticed this. Christelijke Platform OostEuropa (Christian Platform Eastern Europe) has started hosting a Romany Network. Currently the following organizations are invovled :

Christian Roma support
Hulp Oosteuropa
Immanuel Bedum
Oost Europa Noorderveld
Pacea Domnului
Roma Bible Union
Scharlaken Koord (Scarlet Cord)
Trans World Radio
Vrienden van Padureni.

For more information on this organization and their third meeting (scheduled for June 15 in Utrecht), go to: http://cpoosteuropa.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/roma-netwerkgroep/ .

Friday, May 24, 2013

Multilingual Education

Multilingual education has been proven to improve reading and writing skills, enhance the learning experience for the children (and thus also the teaching experience for the teachers!) and improve children's overall learning abilities as well as their confidence (and chances for further education...). In order for people to be able to use this in in a Roma context, people would have to agree to teaching Roma children to read and write in their own language first, before switching those skills to any national language after a year or two.

The reason why this is not happening is that
  1. It is largely unknown and when people first hear about it they think it is impossible and undesirable, so it needs a lot of promotion and explanation.
  2. It is a lot of work at first to get teaching materials in Roma languages, train teachers, but first of all, convince people of the benefits of this and set up teaching situations where this can happen.
Personnel are needed with a vision and with enough time and money to get this started, an investment of at least 2 years. Then supervision needs to happen too, and follow up, with ongoing involvement and training needed for many more years. Who is going to do all this? It needs a team.

For information on multilingual education or to express an interest in joining the team, contact Mary van Rheenen via this blog.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Poverty as broken relationships: Life in Lunik IX

I came across this fascinating look at Lunik IX, an infamous Roma settlement in Kosice, Slovakia - a short documentary by Artur Conka.  He was born in Lunik IX, but emigrated with his family and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Derby, England. 

These scenes are familiar. I have been in these apartments several times.  I personally know people who live there today.  As I watch this short documentary, realizing that it is without the full sounds and smells that accompany a visit to Lunik IX, I am reminded of the definition of poverty emerging from the work of Christian development theologies as represented by Bryant Myers, author of Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development - that poverty represents the broken image of God in humanity.

Sin as brokenness is reflected not only in our relationship with God.  We also can suffer broken relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the environment.  As long as any of these are broken, we suffer in poverty.  Poverty is more than not having food to eat or living in filth.  Those things can be resolved with enough investment.  However, unless the poverty of broken relationships is overcome through reconciliation with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the environment is addressed, then no amount of investment is able to restore the image of God in persons.  The healing of the environment in Lunik IX and the Romani people who call it home is rooted in restoring healthy relationships.

Though you may not be familiar with places like Lunik IX, you are probably familiar with the poverty of broken relationships.  How do you bring healing to those situations?  How does your church seek to bring reconciliation in your community?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"Get Your Picture on the Cover..."

There is a famous song about getting your picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine. While it's not the Rolling Stone, we think it's pretty special - the Naomi Center for women, a ministry of Project Ruth is featured in this month's edition of a ladies craft magazine in Romania. It's their Easter edition (we follow the Orthodox calendar and will celebrate Easter in Romania on May 5). The article has colorful pictures and interviews with several of our regular participants. We're all pleased to see our Center recognized as a great place for women to come and learn a craft. Those of us who hang out there regularly know it's much more than that with counseling and support also offered. Copies of the magazine are available at any newsstand in Romania and the ladies will autograph them for free! :)

Hanging with the Girls in the 'Hood!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 7: Join us in praising God for lifting up the humble in the following ways..

Thanksgiving that new team members Jon and Tanya Parks have been able to establish themselves in Slovakia.

For a class of students at the Roma scheduled to graduate soon from the Roma school in Kosice!

Praise for the opportunity to share with 250 people in 9 villages in north-central Slovakia through healthcare ministries.

Praise for relationships that were forged and continue to grow among these communities.
For the growth and ministry of the Devleskero Kher (House of God) in the Kosice area where Roma and non-Roma,  homeless and well-employed worship together.

Positive impact of volunteer teams this past year; thanksgiving for those who came to share their gifts, skills, and love.

Praise for the distribution of the audio recording of New Testament in the Sinti Romani language  and that translation of the Old Testament in this continues.

Regular chapel time at the Ruth School has begun and is making an impact on the students.

Praise for the 220 students beginning the school year at Ruth School, the highest ever enrollment

Two Gypsy Smith School sessions for training Romany pastors and church leaders were held with maximum capacity of students in attendance.

Thankfulness for Rachel Brunclikova, CBF Romany Team member serving in the Czech Republic.

Opening of Naomi Women’s Center, in connection with the Ruth School to offer counseling, sewing club, and other services/activities for Roma women in Bucharest, Romania.

Faithfulness of partners in the Republic of Moldova, for Dutch volunteers who help in outreach to Roma women and girls, and for spiritual growth seen through this ministry.

Renovation of Romany school in Kosice, Slovakia, begun by U.S. volunteers; completed by school faculty, staff, and local volunteers.

Oasis Club, locally organized and staffed outreach to Romany in the Czech Republic.

Thanksgiving for financial supporters, who make this ministry possible through their tithes and offerings.