Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vivien & Ashley - A Story of God's Love

As I look back over this past summer my favorite moment came when a youth team from Emerywood BC in High Point held a VBS type camp for Roma kids in Pocsaj, Hungary. This village is the site of our first church plant way back in 1995. Over the years we have celebrated and grieved with many of the families in the small Roma church there. A single lady lost her 12 year old daughter to drowning and a couple gave birth to triplets. Vivien, one of those triplets, was born with near blindness and has remained so to this day. Yet she has developed a quick intellect and leads her class at the local school.

Ashley Church, youth leader of the team, took a special interest in this nine-year old blind girl. Vivien snuggled closely to Ashley during Bible story time and gripped her hand firmly throughout recreation activities. My favorite snapshot of the two of them shows Vivien’s face lit up with pure joy as she and Ashley circled the group in “Duck, duck, goose!” She stumbled a bit and flailed around some but her inability to see could not diminish her great joy in participating in the game. Both Ashley and Vivien said tearful goodbyes at the end of the week but both will hold dear those treasured moments from the summer for a long time to come. It was another clear example that the love of God transcends race and culture and language and physical disabilities. Vivien felt that love of God even as many others of us got to see it!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ralph in Bucharest

Ralph is off today to spend a few days in Bucharest for the quarterly session of the Gypsy Smith Leadership Training School (GSS). Roma (Gypsy) leaders meet four times a year for training on how to be effective leaders and evangelists among their own people. The week long classes are taught be invited speakers from the US, Romania, Austria, and Great Britain.

When asked Ralph will tell you it is one of his responsibilities through CBF to see that GSS runs smoothly so he needs to go. I suspect it's more than that - he enjoys being with the Roma leaders, he really likes the interaction with Oti Bunaciu (director of Project Ruth the umbrella GSS falls under), and he loves visiting Piccolo Mondo, the Lebanese restaurant in Bucharest that has FANTASTIC food (there is none like it!).

Please pray for safe travels for the leaders coming from around Romania and Moldova, for Ralph coming from Budapest, and for David Clark coming from the USA. Pray God will guide the Roma leaders in ways they can use the teaching they receive. Thank you for your prayer support. It truly makes a difference.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gandhi Choir on Tour

In early August Ralph and I were privileged to accompany the Gandhi Roma High School Choir on their tour of northeast Hungary, over the border into Slovakia, and the final days in Budapest. We were invited by our colleagues, Glen and Clista Adkins. Glen is the choir director and had the students singing in two Romani dialects, Hungarian, and English. It was a fun and meaningful experience on many different levels for all of us. Take a look at the pictures them go to http://cbfgypsyministries.blogspot.com/ to read the stories - 4 vignettes - written by Clista. Thank you for your support of this trip. It made an impact. Go read about it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Memorial Walk

Ralph and I participated Sunday in a walk sponsored by the Canadian embassy to raise money for cancer research. We chose to do this to honor and remember Ralph's father, Lee Stocks, who lost his fight with cancer a year ago. The weather was perfect and the scenery beautiful as we made our way to Margit (Margaret) Island in the middle of the Danube River separating Buda and Pest. The registration was a bit chaotic but we got our t-shirts and purchased a few raffle tickets with some patience. We walked the four miles and shared thoughts of Ralph's dad. Upon re-entering the stadium we claimed our "goody" bags and waited for the results of the raffle. I was hoping for the plane tickets being offered by Portugal Air but was happy to win a new mobile phone with a Bluetooth headset and two bottles of famous Hungarian liquor. (Well maybe not so thrilled with the liquor since we don't drink it) The walk was a success for the Embassy since they expected 2000 people with about 3000 showing up. It was a success for us because we honored a man who made a big difference in our lives, our children's lives, and the lives of so many more.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Baseball, Apple Pie, and ???

Ministering among the Roma in Hungary is often a serious undertaking as we try to meet the many physical needs of people living in poverty and hear the heartbreaking stories of discrimination and prejudice against them. There are moments of pure joy and laughter too. Recently while in the village of Ujleta, Ralph enjoyed helping a group of boys learn a new skill. He taught them how to play baseball. Ralph loves sports of any kind so this was much fun for him as it was for the boys. He pitched and the boys swung the bat over and over again. The cheered for each other when they connected, sending the ball past Ralph. Each young man took a turn fielding and helping the next one learn the proper way to hold the bat. It was a memorable day for everyone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Agreeing With Madonna?

Well this is a first - We agree with Madonna?!?! Recently while on tour in Bucharest, Romania, she spoke out in support of the Roma (Gypsies) of eastern Europe. Read the story by clicking on the link below. Madonna was booed for her efforts. What is the world coming to when we find ourselves on the same side as Madonna? Who cares if brings attention to the blight of the Romany in eastern Europe.