Thursday, January 18, 2018

Where the Workers are not Few

The man on the far right, like many others in the Republic of Moldova, is looking for work. He wants to support his new wife and help his extended family. The last paying job he had was at a KFC in Krakow, Poland. But you can't always trust the people who arrange jobs over the border for you. Sometimes the jobs don't last. Sometimes you don't get paid in a timely way. Sometimes you don't get paid at all.

There used to be work at home. These two women worked in a sewing factory. They would be glad to get work like that again. But after the fall of communism, jobs like that somehow disappeared.

This woman's son,* like many others in the Republic of Moldova, has often gone abroad to work: Spain, Russia, east Africa, southeast Asia. Unlike the first man, he was able to get a good education and can earn a good salary. (Growing up in the capital city with well-educated parents--rather than in a Romany village with village-educated parents--does tend to increase one's life chances.) He thinks almost any manufacturing concern has a chance at profit in Moldova since almost everything is currently imported. He is giving the business of increasing employment at home a good think. Let us know if you're interested and able to think with him. Maybe, just maybe, there will be work at home . . . sometime soon . . . .

*The lady in the suit jacket. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Translation For The Translator

Missions Bite 65: Translation for the translator 

"One Sunday in Moldova I saw a beautiful example of cultivating Beloved Community. Usually, when I am there, someone translates the worship services from Romanian for me--the pastor's wife Olesea or a young person like Dana. This helps me participate in the faith community. But what happens when a Romany pastor preaches in his own language? A Romany woman from the pew behind Olesea and Dana leaned forward and translated for the translators."

- Mary van Rheenen, CBF field personnel in the Netherlands 

Be sure to also sign up to receive fellowship! weekly e-newsletter, which includes updates on all the wonderful ministries of CBF and our partners. 

Please let us know how else we can help your church engage more intentionally in missions near and far.  
Grace and Peace, 
Ryan Clark, D.Min. 
Church Engagement Manager
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
770.220.1611  office
404.545.5003  mobile

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Village Without a Kindergarten: Parents Teaching Children

Did you go to kindergarten? And did you carefully choose a preschool for your children? This is the story of a village in Moldova without either. 
Grandparent and grandchild
The local pastor and his wife are concerned. The children in this Roma village have enough difficulties with school. The children often go with their parents to Russia for part of the year. Instruction in the village school is in Romanian. The children speak Ursari Romani* at home. The village has no kindergarten/preschool. The children have few if any of the educational toys that littered our own living room when our children were young. 
Kindergarten candidates

Some teachers at the school are also concerned. Together, they agreed to try the Parent-Child Club. This program was developed by preschool educators with just such a situation in mind. Parents teach preschool skills to their own children, in their own language. Few if any materials are required. The leaders of the club do not need any previous teaching experience.

This coming Monday, parents will go to school . . . to begin providing their children with the kindergarten/preschool. That's Beloved Community. 

*One of many languages in the Romani (NOT ROMANIAN) language family.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Beloved Community

Mission Bites are great for helping your congregation engage more deeply in missions. Drop these into worship bulletins, newsletters and social media as you promote your church's impact around the world.
Bite 59: A Beloved Community of Believers

"Beloved Community looks like a community of believers in Moldova working together on an oral translation project. Local Romany believer, Catea, learned and retold the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42. A Dutch woman living in Romania, an American woman living in Romania, a Romanian-speaking Moldovan and myself, an American living in the Netherlands, all worked alongside Catea. The next day, the women's Bible study discussed the story. Thanks to the teamwork the day before, the women listened to the story in their own language and understood it much better."

- Mary van Rheenen, CBF field personnel in the Netherlands
Be sure to also sign up to receive fellowship! weekly e-newsletter, which includes updates on all the wonderful ministries of CBF and our partners. 

Please let us know how else we can help your church engage more intentionally in missions near and far.  
Grace and Peace, 
Ryan Clark, D.Min. 
Church Engagement Manager
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
770.220.1611  office
404.545.5003  mobile

Friday, November 17, 2017

Roma and Sinti . . . Recording for Roma and Sinti

 How many languages can you sing in? These kids sing in at least three:  Calderash, Sinti, and German. They live in Germany. Calderash and Sinti are both Romani languages they speak at home.

They recorded songs in their home languages to put on a bilingual CD of Bible stories. Their songs split the Sinti version of the Bible stories from the Calderash version.

The tall girl in the middle is the one who inspired all of this. Her mom started reading her Bible stories at bedtime. In German. When she was about the age of the short girl, she asked her mom for a Bible stories in her own language.

Soon there will be a tuneful bilingual CD to go along with the colorful bilingual Bible story book.  Keith's little assistant will be able to hear herself singing those stories in her own language. Or maybe I should say her own languages?

Saturday, November 11, 2017


Recording the part of Jesus in London
Last Sunday we had a mini-harvest festival at our Dutch church. Several people told stories of thankfulness and harvest. This is the one Keith shared.

Sometimes we don't immediately see the fruit of our labor. Back in 2002 I went to London to record the JESUS film in a Romani language we call Western Kalderash.* This Romani language is spoken widely in Western Europe and in North America. 

All versions of the JESUS video are available on the Jesus film website. The website includes the four other Romani versions (one I also recorded), and 1500 other languages from around the world. But recently I discovered that 3 1/2 years ago someone also put the Romani versions on YouTube, where more people can find them. On YouTube we can also see exactly how many people watch a video. One Romani version had 1000 views, another 5000, and another 8000. The Western Kalderash version that I made in 2002 has had almost 30,000 views in 3 1/2 years. (It topped 30,000 this week.) That is more than 23 people per day harvesting a seed that I planted 15 years ago.

*I sometimes refer to it as  Russian Kalderash. Their ancestors sojourned through Russia and still have words of Russian origin in their language.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Laundry is Not Fair!

When do you do the laundry?
We start every week on Tuesdays.
First step is sorting the laundry.

Then we carry the first load up the stairs to the attic (yes, the attic). Our water-saving front-load washer will take 1 1/2 hours for this load of "darks" on cold. Whites, even on the energy-saving setting of 60° C (140° F), take closer to 3 hours.

Next, we'll hang them out to dry--usually inside. As is typical in many Dutch homes, the drying racks hang over the steep, slightly spiral stairwell.

We do have a drier, but only use it for towels and emergencies. Air drying is better for the environment, the energy bill, the clothes, and our sinuses.

Does this seem like a lot of time and trouble to you? It doesn't to me. You see, on Tuesdays, I often think of our Roma sisters in Moldova.

One lady we visited recently was also doing laundry. She lived in this new house on the edge of the village.

She said she would really like to have a washing machine since doing laundry by hand for all five members of the household was difficult.

I wondered whether she even had running water connected to her house.

And, even if she did, would she be able to pay for the water and electricity a washing machine would take? Would there be room for it in the house?
Was there room for five people in that house?

I think of this woman, as I hang up my own laundry in a well-insulated house with central heating as well as hot and cold running water, all of which we can easily afford. Life is not fair. Laundry is not fair.

But one day she and I may sit down to the same banqueting table dressed in spotless clothes which we will never have to launder!