Friday, April 10, 2015

Day 5 - "Overcoming Challenges" (Parks)

Each morning Daniel rises early so he can make the 7-kilometer trip into town.  He attends classes at a high school for Roma students in Kezmarok, Slovakia – one of only two such schools in the country.  If he has money for a ticket he rides the bus. Other times he catches a ride with a teacher or friend.  He often has to walk part or all of the way . . . but still he comes.

When you come into the classroom full of students, you’ll most likely notice Daniel because he’s one of the few who sit still and quiet.  Hunger and poor living conditions among the Roma make many of these teenagers restless and rowdy at school.  By contrast, Daniel’s shy smile and respectful nature put you at ease.  He doesn’t have the best grades, and he speaks quietly and hesitantly.  But he works hard, and his calmness and determination sometimes inspire his classmates to work harder, too.  He attends church in the settlement, and his faith is helping to shape his life.

Believe it or not, transportation is among the least of the challenges Daniel faces as he learns.  His family’s apartment is tiny, and he often doesn’t get the sleep and food that a growing teenage boy needs.  He has no real place to study, and when he struggles in school he gets little support from his community.  In Slovakia, only a handful of Roma make it past primary school.

For decades the Roma in Slovakia had only a bleak future, with most of them trapped in cycles of poverty. But slowly they are forming a new future, and students like Daniel have a big part to play in that future.  Pray for this generation of young Roma men and women like Daniel, who are poised to make a lasting difference for the Roma of Slovakia!

Thanksgiving and Prayer Requests:
  • Join us in thanking God for young students like Daniel, and for the teachers who are willing to invest time and energy into their future!
  • Join us in praying for Daniel and his classmates.  Pray also for the teachers and administrators of this and other Roma schools in Slovakia, that face constant pressure from local and national governments that seek to hinder or shut down these schools.
Jon & Tanya Parks, Slovakia

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