Saturday, April 26, 2008

"What's Your Name?" FBC, Augusta!

"Mi A Neved?" is what is written on the front of the t shirts - what's your name? As each Gandhi student was handed one they immediately turned it over to find their name in the list. Then big grins broke out as they saw it there in black. It was another sign that they are important.

This week a team from First Baptist Church in Augusta, GA is saying to the Gandhi students "What's Your Name?" through the English lessons, fun nights, and outreaches. In class they are learning the different names we are called. In the evening they are shown that God knows their names - each and everyone.

On Thursday night, a man with a famous name, Elvis (!) and the Elvisettes, showed up during the pizza dinner. At first the students were stunned but as "Hound Dog" began they went wild with the rhythm! Who would know a lawyer, doctor, minister, businessman, and CBF GSC'er had so much talent to share??

Friday all the staff was honored with a tea of appreciation. They too received t shirts, New Testaments, and special gift bags full of teacher supplies. We wanted to say how thankful we are for their dedication to Gandhi.

After a weekend to recuperate, Monday began with English classes again. Monday evening was game night with ice cream and the opportunity to make name necklaces - another way to be reminded God truly knows your name and loves you.

Please continue to pray for the Gandhi students. Ask God to call out young men and women to follow Him and be leaders among the Roma of Hungary. Give praise for the influence FBC has had this week. Continue to pray for Clista and Glen Adkins and their ministry there.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Csobanka Heals - Answered Prayers

It was a dark, dreary winter and the weather had little to do with it. Our little Roma church in Csobanka was suffering. You may have noticed for many weeks I have listed on our prayer requests, "Please pray for healing and forgiveness among the members of the Csobanka Roma Baptist Church". There were words spoken, feelings hurt, unkind actions taken, and satan was having a heyday, giggling all the way as the members dropped out, refusing to return despite efforts at reconciliation. We knew only prayer, the work of the Spirit, could heal the wounds. Two - three faithful kept the little church going. Our spirits sagged as we went through the drab, gray days of winter. We continued to ask our supporters to pray...

God heard and answered! Spring came and along with it new life! Suddenly, without any signs, the members begin to come back! We have had near capacity crowds of 16-20 adults and 4-6 children. Last Sunday, with the blooms of the fruit trees, tulips, and lilacs adding color to the landscape, the voices singing praises to God could be heard as the church met. Healing has begun and forgiveness is coming. Several members testified that they realized they shouldn't let others get in the way of their relationship with God. We are overwhelmed at the working of the Spirit in the lives of Roma members. There is no way to explain it but through the power of prayer and God speaking to their hearts. As we left, I thought surely satan is crying today! For God has overcome! Thank you for being a part of that!

Please continue to pray for the Csobanka Roma Baptist Church and its members. There is still reconciliation that needs to take place. While forgiveness is being offered, it is hard to forget the hurts. Ask the Spirit to continue to work, softening the hearts, and bringing the discouraged ones back to Him. Please ask specifically that God would speak to Kovacs (KO-vach), our guitar player and song leader, and his wife, who are still not ready to return.

Join us in praising God for answered prayers!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ministry in Action

Music to the ears.... Glen and Clista Adkins joined our team last August and serve on staff at the Gandhi High School in Pecs. This all Roma school fosters the students in positive ways as they study and navigate the high school years. Clista teaches English not only to the students but to the staff as well. More about that another time...

Glen came with the goal of building a music program and helping record some of the Roma music by writing it down with notes and lyrics. Presently he is working to form a choir and teaching the musically gifted students (music is a huge part of the Roma {Gypsy} culture), who often sing, dance, and play musical instruments with a natural ease - how to read music, follow a director, sing in parts, and other great musical things. (Is it obvious I don't know much about it myself??) Click on the link below to hear a bit of what is happening at the Gandhi school and see the talented students. You will note (look quick) one of the young men playing a "kanna" - what looks to us like a milk-jug. The dance you see the young ladies doing is very traditional. It is taught to them by the older women in their families - mothers, aunts, grandmothers - and passed down through the generations.

Glen and Clista will be taking this very talented group to Lepzig, Germany in July to perform at the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Youth Conference. This will be a trip of a lifetime for most of these students. Join us in praying they will see Christ. The world gives negative messages to the Roma, pray these students will experience love and acceptance first hand from those gathered for this meeting.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cooking Lesson

I enjoy cooking (but not the cleaning up!). My friend, Zita, who helped me entertain a Roma friend with a cooking class, asked me to teach some of her Hungarian friends. So with recipes in hand I helped a group of eight learn how to do some easy, fun, and delicious foods for parties. We did mini hotdogs in a sweet/spicy sauce, onion dip, Hidden Valley (with a Hungarian mix), a paprika dip, no-cook banana pudding, and three variations of oatmeal cookies. Whew! The ladies, being ladies, also talked about husbands, kids, work, and church. I showed them how to carve out a cabbage or a round loaf of bread to use as serving dishes. I explained presentation can help make food look good. It was fun and served as an outreach for Zita to also invite the ladies to be apart of the Baptist Church's women's group.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Gypsy Cluster Meets in Athens

The Gypsy Cluster meets twice a year to strategize, talk budgets, hear reports on each other's ministries, fellowship, and in Athens - eat some great Greek food. We welcomed newcomers, Glen and Clista Adkins, to the group while saying good bye to Eddie and Macarena Aldape. (They are NOT leaving CBF, they continue to minister among the Banjara of India but are moving to a new team in Asia.) It was a fruitful and fun meeting.