Once Upon a Summer: Gypsy Children (Part 5)

Click here to read Part 1 – “Once Upon a Summer: Chasing Dreams”
Click here to read Part 2 – “Once Upon a Summer: The Long Journey”
Click here to read Part 3 – “Once Upon a Summer: Unplanned Lessons”
Click here to read Part 4 – “Once Upon a Summer: Welcome to Slovakia

__________________________

“The fragrance always lingers on the hand that gives the rose.” ~Hada Bejar

The short-term missions team was comprised of people from Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, and, of course, Canada. The three resident missionaries were from the United States, England, and Slovakia respectively.

During the day, we ran Kids’ Clubs in the gypsy villages. During the evenings, we evangelized in the town square. We were ten very different people from very different backgrounds who spoke very different languages. But we had one single purpose – to reach people for Christ.

__________________________

July 19, 1999
Banska Bystricá, Slovakia

I sat on the balcony of our flat in Sasova, a suburb of Banska Bystricá, and signed a letter with love. In front of me, the mountains stood tall, enfolded in regal robes of rich green forests and flowery alpine meadows.

I will lift up mine eyes to the hills …

The scenery never failed to move me. I folded the letter and put it into the envelope, to be mailed in town later that day.

Dear Mom and Dad,

“The mountains in Slovakia are beautiful. But I have encountered something even more beautiful—the presence of God . . .”

__________________________

July 20, 1999
2:00 p.m. CET
Kostiviarski, Slovakia

“The gypsies got their social money yesterday . . .”

Being in Kostiviarski was like being transported to the Third World. The buildings were dilapidated and some of the homes were missing window panes and doors. How these people fared during the winter months was beyond me.

The children gathered around us eagerly. Olive skin, brown hair, and brown eyes hinted at their East Indian origin. They were beautiful.

We played games with them and told them about Jesus through drama, pictures, and song.

“Can you tell me more about sin?” Sdenko, one of the gypsy boys, was full of questions.

Despite the fact that the social cheques arrived the day before and we were warned that there could be trouble, everything ran smoothly. And by the end of the day, Sdenko and a sweet young girl named Evanka had given their lives to Christ.

__________________________

July 21, 1999
11:30 a.m. CET
Kostiviarski, Slovakia

A young gypsy woman came over to the little field where we were holding the Kids’ Club. She offered each of us a bottle of sparkling lemonade and some cookies.

“I’m happy that the children come here,” she said in Romany. “They are better the rest of the day because they are thinking.”

She asked if she could come back the next day so that she could learn more about what was making such a difference in the Roma children.

That day, five more children accepted Christ.

(To be continued…)

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