Friday, March 21, 2014

2014 Romany Team Prayer Guide

We are excited to announce that the 2014 Romany Team Prayer Guide is now available!  Each year in spring we make this guide available.  It contains six days of stories from CBF Field Personnel on the Romany Team, and prayer requests for their work among the Roma people.

This year's theme is Unexpected Partners.  While we are called to work among the Roma people, we are continually surprised at the ways that God has been working ahead of us - stories of people and places where God is already inspiring hope and change among the Roma people.  These stories are so encouraging to us that we have dedicated this year's prayer guide to sharing them with you.  Our prayer for you is that, as you pray along with us, you'll find encouragement and inspiration as well - not just from these stories, but right where you are.  Where has God placed these kinds of people in your life?  Who inspires and challenges you?  Let's give thanks to God together for unexpected partners!

Three different versions of the Prayer Guide can be found on our Prayer Resources page, or you can use the links below:

Booklet format (8.5 x 11 folded)
Individual Pages (5.5 x 8.5)
Text only (8.5 x 11)

An ideal time to use this prayer guide would be during the week of April 6-12, which includes International Romani Day (April 8), but it can be used at any time.  Here are some ideas for using the Prayer Guide:

  • Use the prayer guide for your personal or family devotion for a week.
  • Include the prayer guide in your church's bulletin.
  • Use the guide as a time of devotion/prayer during your Sunday School class or small group meeting.
Do you have other ideas?  How have you used guides like this in the past?  Share your ideas in the comments below!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Reading Outloud--An Acquired Skill

Keith demonstrating
As the previous post illustrates, reading out loud is an acquired skill. Keith has seen (or, rather, heard) this over and over again in the course of recording. Some people will have excellent voices for a part, say, of the apostle "Mark." They are literate in the national language. But when they sit down to actually record, they stumble. And sometimes, instead of reading: At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan, they say something like: At that time Jesus Nazareth from came and was Galilee baptized in.
Some of this, Keith credits to being unused to reading their own language. They may have read Slovak or German or whatever in school, but they really are not used to seeing their Romani language in print. It takes a bit of practice for the brain to translate these marks on the page (or the screen) into what are essentially oral/ auditory meanings. Add to this the fact that written language IS different than spoken language. And add to this the fact that Keith is frequently recording languages which are infrequently written. So maybe they haven't been written very well. Jesus at that time from Nazareth in Galilee came is acceptable English, but is it good contemporary English?

All this to say that recording a language which is usually oral rather than written is a good thing. Many Romany are much more used to getting and making sense of things that they hear rather than from what they read. But recording a language which is usually oral rather than written from a written text is not always possible. Sometimes it just works better to have someone from the translation team say At that time Jesus came from Nazareth . . . with the desired phrasing and intonation and have "Mark" repeat exactly what he just heard. Oral/auditory-to-auditory/oral. In what form do you best encounter the WORD?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Educate – Womens’ reading club

   A missionary friend was in town and invited me to go along with him (in missionary-speak that means that he wanted me to drive him somewhere) to visit a program which works with Romany women to teach them to read books with their children.  It is an international program which the Slovak government, with the support of local communities, supports to educate these women and strengthen their families. 
   Bozena is the coordinator for these programs in our area and it was a great opportunity for me to meet her.  But the most incredible part of the afternoon was watching the women read a children’s book together – encouraging each other, helping each other with difficult words, thinking about how the lessons of the children’s story applied to their own lives.  How fun!  But the fun did not stop there . . .
. . . a time of refreshments followed by dancing and a game of musical chairs.  For these women, the opportunity to come together is not only about education but about forming a team of mutual support.  For most of them, this is the only time in their week which is devoted to them and their concerns.  The laughter which filled the room gave testimony to the success of this innovative program.