Saturday, June 20, 2015

Beginning Ministry with Roma Gypsies

I realized that today we are only six days away from our four month anniversary of living in Romania.  In these four months I have begun to get a much clearer picture of how the Roma Gypsies are viewed by the rest of the culture.  One believer after asking why I was here in Romania responded with, “You are going to work with gypsies,  hmm?  Do you actually know any gypsies?  Because,…. They are kind of known for stealing lots.”  A pastor talked to me about how many of them had migrated to other European countries and finished his explanation with a smile and, “They can keep them!”  When I had told one of my language helpers that I was going to work with them she said, “Watch your pockets!  Ohh dear, watch your pockets!  Why would you want to work with them?”
I have begun to read a book on the History of the Roma in Europe called “Another Dawn, Another Darkness.”  It sheds light on the fact that they have been discriminated again, treated with disdain, treated harshly, tortured and enslaved since as early as the 16th century.  I had thought that France’s recent spree of Roma deportations was a more recent development, but the book shed light on the fact that as early as the fifteenth century  there was “ a proliferation of decrees ordering the banishment and punishment of Gypsies, something that was to become a standard feature of European life right up to the end of the eighteenth century.”  The author records a 1561 edict in France that, “ordered the expulsion of all Gypsies within two months under the penalty of being sent to galleys and corporal punishment.”  Well those same feelings are alive and well today in Europe.  France happens to be a prime example.  Just take a look at these articles and you will get a glimpse.

France sends Roma Gypsies back to Romania

France dismantles Roma camps, deports hundreds

France's 'scandalous' expulsion of Roma camps resumes

France deports record number of Roma

Please be praying for Roma Gypsies across Europe and please pray for us.  Even though we are just on the fringes of starting ministry here in Bucharest, we have already begun to see some of the struggles of ministering to a marginalized people group.

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