Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Pray for the Roma People

Week of Feb. 24 - March 2, 2014

Before we move forward with our prayer topics of the week, Zuzanna and I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you praying for me during the past two months as I battled with my health. The diagnoses is a serious and chronic heart condition and we appreciate your continued prayers as we believe for a miracle in the form of a renewed heart.

The Roma are a distinct people group with a common language and history. Often referred to as Gypsies, the Roma are the largest minority group in Europe, with population estimated as high as 14 million. Numbers are difficult to determine because of a verity of reasons, some of which are that Roma are sometimes not counted in census statistics due to their nomadic lifestyle, yet other times for some reason the Roma do not indicate on censuses their Roma ethnicity.

The Romanians and the citizens of Rome complain about the word Roma being used but the term "Rom" means "people" in Romani, the mother language of the Roma.

Although the Roma never claimed to be Egyptians, the term "gypsy", which stems from "Egyptian", was given to the Roma by Europeans who thought that they originated from Egypt. The more popular theory is that the Roma originated from India.

Though this people group for so long has been considered the outcast of society, God has not forgotten them. Many Roma are coming to Jesus, not only in the Balkans but in other parts of Europe. 

Recently, European Initiative conducted its 6th annual outreach to the Roma in the Transylvanian region of Romania. We worked with four Roma communities in Romania, where we distributed bags of groceries,coats and boots. We shared the gospel in homes, where many came to the saving knowledge of Christ, and the local Roma churches were strengthened. Here is a 3 minute video of the outreach http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90xR4kpN7as&feature=c4-overview&list=UU7XcSP0N1IM_rT32JfDTjyg

1. Thank You Lord for bringing many Roma to salvation. Truly, You desire that none perish. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
2. Whether they become part of established churches or they gravitate to their own culturally distinct churches, let us pray that above all they will be cared for by loving pastors.
3. Let us rejoice in the beneficial things built into their culture that can be of redemptive value. Tight family units, tribal, honor given to patriarchal leadership, and culturally connected throughout every country. 
4. In their tribal communities when one gets saved many times others easily follow. Lord, we ask for deep and true conversions and not just religious acts to satisfy others.
5. Lord, we ask that You speak directly to family and tribal patriarchs. Because of the respect afforded the elder male, many in the family will come to faith in You. Lord, send your word from family to family and from nation to nation. Isaiah 52:7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, Your God reigns!
6. With many Roma coming to know Jesus in the past few years, and many churches springing up, there is a need for scriptural teaching and the operation of the five-fold ministry. Lord raise up more Bible schools throughout the Balkans to train those that are called to evangelize, pastor, and teach the Roma people. May the present Bible schools embrace the Roma in their countries. Pray for the Lighthouse of Life congregation in Zagreb, Croatia who has recently begun a mini Bible school in a Roma village they work in, training up future leaders in the Roman community.

The Roma culture needs full transformation. Their primitive and often pagan lifestyle brings with it deep challenges, from hygiene to education to incest and many others issues. This is a people group in need of   workers who are willing to lay down their lives for the transformation of the Roma people.

1. Lord, we ask that you bring to the surface the leaders in each community that You select and who will have open hearts to be instrumental in bringing change to their communities. 
2. We pray for Your strategies to be deposited into organizations like Buckner Romania, who are laying down their lives for the Roma. 
3. We thank you for entrepreneurial investors like the Elias Reyes model in Subotica, Serbia, which helps Christian Roma with small businesses. Lord, release more such creative ideas into the Body of Christ aimed at helping this people group.
4. We pray for the release of many funds that are needed to bring training and education along with the Gospel.
5. There are many Roma churches outside of the Balkans that are mature in the faith; May they be senders of missionaries to the struggling Balkan churches.

"And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'You are my God!'" Hosea 2:23 (NIV)

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