Monday, February 25, 2013

Missionaries in Residence at ETBU

Dianne at ETBU International Fair
Dianne has been sharing the story of the Romani peoples at East Texas Baptist University (ETBU) in Marshall, Texas as missionary in residence since early January.  Recently, as part of ETBU's Great Commission Center, she was able to interact with 225 children and leaders from area churches who came to learn more about what God is doing in 18 different countries around the world.  In addition to sharing about ministry among the Roma in Slovakia, Dianne had plenty of homemade Slovak cookies to give them a taste of central Europe. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beauty From Ferentari...

Ferentari is the name of the neighborhood where the Naomi Women's Center is located. It is a poor area of Bucharest characterized by trash-strewn streets, homeless dogs, a very large Roma (Gypsy) population, and mostly gray, drab buildings. The Naomi Center strives to empower the women of Ferentari to help themselves and their families by offering counseling and sewing classes. The classes are more than merely instruction. The core group of women have learned to support and care for one another as they run their machines, cut their material, and sew on buttons.

This past Sunday we displayed the items made by the Naomi ladies for sale at Providence Baptist Church. There was a general excitement as the members looked over the handmade flower brooches, hair bows, flower vases, and cosmetic bags. One of the customers asked, "Can something so beautiful come out of Ferentari?" Yes, it can and it wasn't even on display. Something beautiful happens every week as the Naomi ladies gather to not just sew but to support one another and improve their lives and with that, those of their families. Beauty from Ferentari...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Not Just Horsing Around

That will get the Sinti all excited, was my first reaction to the news report about horse meat being found in various supposedly beef products in Britain and other parts of Europe. Horse meat is unclean to Sinti Romany. Eating it makes one unclean. Being unclean means being shunned by other Sinti.

Most of us can think of a number of folks we wouldn't mind avoiding us (the weird neighbor, the obnoxious in-law, that one guy at work . . .), for a group-oriented people, this is true punishment.

Now, as a card-carrying anthropologist and a missionary, I've eaten some strange things. Would I eat horse meat? Not knowingly. I don't want to be shunned by Sinti, either.