From Pamala: It was as if we were digging holes and placing life-giving, nutrient-rich seeds in the fine Croatian soil. As we sang and acted out the stories of Jesus we were dependent on the ultimate Gardener of Hearts to make the truth understandable to the 60-90 Roma children in attendance each day at the outdoor Vacation Bible School.
It was a joy to be well-received again after three summers of no VBS there in this Roma community near Sisak, Croatia. And the 15 teens we transported two days for day camp at a riverside park and at the ministry center where we were staying were equally responsive, as our summer team college students shared their testimonies and truths of God’s forgiveness.
A very special joy for us was explaining to the teens how to read their own “mother tongue” which is normally only written for phone texts or social media posts, but has very few printed books. We were able to give them each a copy of the Gospel of Luke and 50 Bible stories in their language (Ludari). Our printed translation uses the Croatian alphabet with one additional Romanian letter, so it is not hard to catch on, as we saw when different teens each read sample verses aloud. Loud cheering ensued by the rest of the group! This was the first time for them to read their very own language in printed form.
Join with us in praying that these teens as well as the adults who have been given the Truth in written form through the earlier door-to-door distribution will pick up and read the chapters from the Gospel of Luke and the Bible stories in this village where usually reading is only for kids at the Croatian schools.
We are already looking forward to next summer’s trip, and hoping we can practice the skits as a team ahead of time with the next summer team so that we will not have to take time in Croatia to prepare. That will give us more hours on Croatian soil to be able to also do a shortened VBS in another Roma village, Palanjek, which speaks the Bayash language. We conduct VBS in the trade language of Croatian, but here again in this village the Roma speak their own Roma language. The 50 Bible stories and Luke are printed in Bayash, and hopefully this would be an open door to give them out in this village.
Please join us in praying for open hearts to the Scriptures in this small village of a few hundred people. It is located by a set of train tracks you cross to drive down the main road. So whenever you cross some RR tracks, please pray for this village and for missionaries to be able to do outreach there throughout the year. The harvest is ripe but workers are few, so please pray for more workers (Matthew 9:37).
Thinking of next summer, Todd and I are brainstorming on the curriculum. We are thinking of doing stories from Luke so they can read the text themselves in their language. In addition to songs and crafts, we want to help them memorize Scripture verses through games. I’ve already started a notebook for these things as we carefully consider which themes and stories will be good, plus refine the schedule. I find my front porch swing a wonderful place for inspiration from God!
Thank you for your prayers and financial gifs which God used to plant the seeds of His Word in the hearts of the Roma.
For the advancement of the Kingdom,
Pamala, for Todd, Daniel & Ariela