Thursday, August 28, 2014

Romania: The Roma People you need to know about.

I'm a question-asker. Pretty good at it really. Maybe because I'm frequently confused.

I asked our missionary trip director what is the deal with the persecution of the Gypsy population- I will refer to them as Roma- people? 

Why are they singled out from the Romanian people and from other Europeans and Americans? 

Why are they not allowed to go to the churches outside their villages in Romania (and around the world)? 

An astounding aside for you- there is a story about a man who was looking for community, looking for Jesus from India who was turned away from a church. You may have already ascertained that that man was none other than Gandhi. 

What the crap "Christians!?" Why are you turning anyone away!? Can you imagine if Gandhi had accepted Jesus!?!!!!!!!?????!!!!!!!!!!! 

That mess makes my blood pressure elevate. And I have amazing blood pressure levels! 

Good at asking questions.
Great blood pressure. 
Well aren't I a braggard! ?


The trip director, who I daresay is a legacy-leaver and wonderful follower of Jesus, asked me what people usually think of when they hear: "gypsy." 
The people on our bus went up and down- oh sorry I have a 9 month old- they said:
movers- transients,
Sadly I thought of bangle bracelets- I'm so sheltered and naive and just plain dumb about the world. Ugh. 

And then he challenged us- aren't those qualities found in every race? 

Of course! I admit, I personally didn't think of thieves. That's pretty harsh. I do live in rainbow-la-la-land though. I was stuck on the visual idea of the people. 

People are stuck on terrible stereotypes of the Roma people. It's maddening and a terrible misstep. I have not done my research on this at all. There are not just Roma people in Romania of course. There is a considerable population in America as well. There's much more I could say and research about all this of course. 

Upon arriving at the border of Hungary and Romania we stopped at a convenience store so I could exchange currency. A Roma child came up to me, must have been around 9 and at first I was tempted to begin trying to talk with her. I realized she was begging for money. The parents were somewhere in the vicinity. This was late at night.

 It was very confusing and jarring to watch. I learned then that giving her money would perpetuate the begging that her parents were making her do. 

In America, I've never seen a child beg on the streets. That was immensely unsettling. 

Here is what I know to be true about the Roma people that I learned during my mission trip to Romania.

For starters, they are people. 
They are God's children just like the people that are ignorantly singling them out are God's children. 
Ever read the Bible? (I'm working on it). You don't mess with God's children. Period.
They are beauties. 
They are treasures. 

 One of my pals!

And these photos are all unedited. These kids are that beautiful. 

I learned that education is a luxury for children from families that can afford food and clothing. The average child does not go past 3rd grade. Most times what is holding them back- lack of clothing and shoes.  It gets incredibly cold in Eastern Europe with averages in the 20's. The summers are like ours in Texas. If we only realized that a pair of shoes and some clothes are what could be holding children back from getting educated. That and the lack of education their families received. It's a cycle of course. 

And I'm over here in America complaining about back to school shopping issues. 

I must remember though that my God does not use shame! So I cannot go down the road of how I have acted and act, but what God wants me to do. 

 It costs about $300 per child to be put through the MANNA program (powers that be please correct any misinformation on here). This gives the children and adults a place to go to hear about Jesus: 
MANNA Church in Tinca, Romania

MANNA Children's church area in Tinca, Romania

It gives them access to the feeding center, i.e. a hot meal. 

 This little prayer warrior prayed and prayed and prayed before the meals. Does it get any more precious?

Maybe it was because I didn't exactly speak their language, but the one thing I noticed they weren't doing? Complaining. 

These kids were just playing and grateful and happy hearted. It was refreshing. 
They were all kinds of fun. 

And some of them are now honorary Texans as I got to teach some Bible lessons and of course taught them how to say, "Howdy!" and "Yee-Haw!" 

Thankfully I had access to a fabulous translator during the lessons. He really gave it heart! I tried God willing to teach them that they are God's Creation and that God thinks that His Creation is VERY GOOD! "Foarte Bun!" And then a lesson on God using us to do BIG things for His Kingdom. 

Then their pastor delivered messages and then we saw children go up front and become our sisters and brothers in Christ. 

And there's not much else I can add in the way of flair words to that statement. I don't need word apologetics here. It was God's work. 

Again, thanks to MANNA Worldwide for not sitting by, but for doing something and being the "hands and feet of Christ." 

1 comment:

Pj Williamson said...

Fantastic footage of the "gypsy" people. God works every where!! Manna is such a great organization!!