Week of April 7-13, 2014
The communist governments in Eastern Europe worked hard to settle the Roma (Gypsy) populations in their respective countries. The Roma people, who traveled around a lot without established homes, just did not work well in with a highly controlled economy.
In the mid-1980s I traveled a great deal on trains and buses in the former Yugoslavia and Hungary. I would see the Roma in the train and bus stations camped out on the pavement or around benches. They would have all their belongings with them and often things they were selling. I was amazed how they could live like that. The new democratic governments in Easter Europe have continued to encourage the Roma to settle and most have complied. Now you see Roma settlements in many East European cities. In some places there are complete villages of just Roma people. They remain true to some of their own tribal structures, with a leader or strong man in charge that helps to keep order. This leader is respected and often becomes the lesion between city officials and the Roma people. To provide for their families, the Roma do travel to other locations, even other countries for seasonal work but most now have a place they call home.
Much like in any other populations there are some who live in better conditions than others, but it is common to see their homes as pieced together shacks, small, not well ventilated or too ventilated that families crowd into. Most cities now have water going into Roma villages, but generally there are still only outdoor toilets.
However, a remarkable thing is happening; they are accepting Jesus by the hundreds! Foreign missionaries and local Christians are reaching out to them with humanitarian aid and the message of salvation. We also see many efforts to bring Bible training and social help to improve the quality of their lives. Whole villages are being transformed by the power of the Gospel. Villages, which were once ravaged by crime are now becoming peaceful and safe communities.
There have been many studies conducted in universities across Europe concerning this paradigm shift among the Roma. They are amazed because it does not fit the prevailing humanistic worldview.
1) Lord, You are faithful and You have a time of visitation for every people group. We are amazed how You have opened doors into the Roma communities. Pray that many more Roma will accept Jesus into their hearts.
2) Let us pray for the leaders in the Roma communities. Because of the respect they carry, when these leaders accept Jesus, many in their family and in the whole community will follow suit.
3) There is a big need in the Roma communities to plant churches. Pray for Roma churches to be planted that specifically minister to Roma needs.
4) Pray that pastors will be raised up with a passion to lead the communities into transforming grace.
5) Teaching for Roma church leaders is needed desperately. The Roma Christians are so hungry for the truth and they need teaching and deliverance from their destructive lifestyles. Pray that God would send anointed teachers into the Roma churches to lay out Gospel truth. Pray that God would raise up teachers among the Roma Christians.
6) For so many years governments have held back education from the Roma communities. A great percentage of Roma can’t read or write. Let us pray for gifted teachers to give of their time and provide classes and much needed education to the Roma.
It is so encouraging to see the efforts of groups like Lighthouse of Life church in Zagreb for example. Lighthouse is bringing education not only of basic academics, but Bible training as well in order to disciple the many who have come to know Jesus through their efforts. They are now sending Roma evangelist out to other Roma villages. There are several such groups which are doing solid work, and of course, we at European Initiative, have sowed into the Roma in Romania for the past six years.
7) Let us take a moment to celebrate what Jesus is doing for the Roma people!
8) Let us pray for more Roma evangelist. They are travelers; having the knowledge and ability to travel at low expense. The network they have across the world is naturally setup for quick evangelization. Release them, Lord, into the harvest fields.
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