Friday, February 3, 2023

Minority language recording with a twist

I recently helped record the Gospel of Mark in a minority language. The speakers live in a place where it is dangerous to evangelize, so everyone--including me--traveled to a neutral country to do the recording. 

There's also a translation team working in a related minority language who are all women. The Wycliffe translator who is working with them (online, not face-to-face) would like to do a similar recording with them in a neutral place in the near future. However, in this culture, married women cannot sit around a table like this with other men unless their husbands (or other women) are also present. Since these women's husbands would not be accompanying them, ideally the recording team would also include women.

The Wycliffe translator (present but not seen in this photo) was pleased, during the last recording that we did, to find that there is, in fact, a woman who is a media specialist and does the same thing I do. I was able to introduce him to this person who--to make it even better--actually lives in the neutral country where we did our last recording. The Wycliffe translator was able to meet her personally and discuss the possible recording project. Though she won't be able to do the project herself, she put the Wycliffe translator in touch with another woman who might be.

Praising the One who connects,

Keith Holmes

Friday, January 27, 2023

Go in peace, be warmed!

Fuel for the winter. It can be a real problem. Nearly every year some generous people donate funds for firewood for the poorest families in a Romany village in Moldova. Last year, the pastor in that village suggested use some of those funds to make the firewood go further. He replaced the door in this elderly couple's home. (The husband is blind.)

They had done what they could with the door. 

It was neatly painted, 

and they had hung a blanket over it on the inside for a bit of insulation. 

That was not nearly enough. 

So the old door was taken out . . .

. . . and a new energy-efficient one put in.

The pastor hopes to work with people in the village to more insulating in the future.

We hope to work with them, too!

Thank you for making this work possible.

If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  James 2:15, 16, Good News Translation

M. Van Rheenen & K. Holmes

Friday, January 20, 2023

Prayers of the People

Every week, CBF's Prayers of the People includes a personal experience with prayer, a practical suggestion on prayer, and a list of birthdays that week for even more practical praying. (Birthdays include CBF staff, field personnel (and their children), engagement partners, chaplains, and pastoral counselors. This was our recent contribution.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

During testimony time at church on Sunday in Poprad, Slovakia, one woman stood and asked that we not forget about the war in Ukraine, the internally displaced people in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian refugees--including the family in their regular pew, one row and a little to the left of our regular spot. We have not forgotten.

In November, Ukrainian Baptists sent a request to Slovak Baptist churches requesting electric generators. Because of increased Russian bombing of infrastructure facilities, including public utilities, many of the churches and related ministry centers reached out in order to provide their own electricity. Not only would the generators be used when electricity was cut, they also allow churches to disconnect from central utilities to help relieve the pressure on already over-burdened systems. 
We reached out to two of the churches we regularly partner with to offer our support for their initiatives. As a result, we were able to provide two generators plus food aid which arrived in Ukraine in December and in January. 

"Your generator in orphanage in Rivne, Ukraine," is the message I received along with the photo above. There was an explanation that there are more children at the orphanage who were not in the photo because they were at a retreat. 

Thanks be to God that you have not forgotten refugees and internally displaced people fleeing the war in Ukraine. 

Shane & Dianne McNary

Monday, November 28, 2022

Family and Friends

Recently we visited friends who are like family to us. Earl & Jane Martin inspired the start of CBF's work with Romany in Europe back, nearly 30 years ago.

Once the Romany Team started, they served as Prayer Coordinators for many years. It was a delight to get to know Earl and Jane better. They had a wealth of experience to share from their time serving in East Africa and then with the International Baptist Theological Seminary's extension work in Central and Eastern Europe.

It was a blessing to spend time with them again. And it was also a blessing for them to receive this watercolor painting donated by another friend, Arie Pothoven, from the church we attend in the Netherlands. Thank you for enriching our lives!

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Along the Way

Keith and I have been roaming around America from Louisiana to Iowa since early September. Several things have struck us, especially after living in Europe for so many years.

Water. American restaurants give customers huge glasses of water—totally free.
These glasses are also refilled—totally free. Drinking fountains are available all over the place, even in out-of-the-way state parks, also totally free. Water from the tap is safe to drink virtually everywhere. If you are thirsty, come and drink water! Isaiah 55:1

Noise. Air conditioners, leaf blowers, lawn mowers, traffic . . . America can be a noisy place. In Western Europe, sound barriers that along major high ways and freeways in cities and by  residential areas are standard parts of road construction. He leads me beside still waters. Ps 23: 2.

Wildlife. Squirrels scampering across lawns. Deer slipping through wooded backyards. Scarlet cardinals and blue, blue jays flying jauntily from bush to tree. I did not know I missed their calls until I heard them again.

What have you seen along your way?

(Photo taken along Otter Creek, Spring Valley community, Illinois, where I grew up.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2022



Brussels, Skopje 25 August 2022: Authorities in the Municipality of Prilep have been ordered to provide access to clean water for the Romani neighbourhoods of "Debarca" and "Tri Bagremi" in Prilep, North Macedonia. On 23rd August 2022, the Commission for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination communicated a decision which found that the Municipality of Prilep and PUC Water and Sewerage Prilep had directly discriminated against Roma in the city by not ensuring equal access to water. The finding came after a complaint by the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) on behalf of Romani people from these communities. The public institutions have six months to implement the decision.

“It is not an accident that Roma remain unconnected to the public water supply, often for decades” said ERRC President Đorđe Jovanović. “Institutional racism means these communities get neglected and denied basic infrastructure by public authorities. Water is so essential, without it these Roma cannot fully enjoy equal access to education, to good health and hygiene, to employment as well as to all kinds of other areas of life which are affected by a lack of clean water in the home.”

Despite living there for many years, the Romani communities in the “Debarca” and “Tri Bagremi” neighbourhoods have never been connected to mains-supplied running water. Part of the reason is that many of the homes in these neighbourhoods have never been legalised by the municipality. The Commission’s decision mentions this issue and states that if there are legal obstacles regarding the legalisation of the neighbourhood, then the authorities must provide temporary solutions that will provide access to clean water for all Romani families living in the area.

The decision issued by the Commission found direct discrimination on the basis of race, skin colour, ethnicity, social origin and property status in the area of access to goods and services. The ERRC also have a case currently pending before the National Court in Prilep concerning this issue.

This press release is also available in Macedonian.

For more information, or to arrange an interview contact:

Jonathan Lee (in English) 
Advocacy & Communications Director
European Roma Rights Centre 
+32 492 88 7679

Senada Sali (in Macedonian)
Legal Director 
European Roma Rights Centre 
+389 74 240 274

© ERRC 2022. All rights reserved.