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A Roma Cook-out

A letter from Nadia Ayoub serving in Ukraine

June 2015

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Dear Friends and Families,

Indeed I thank God for he is with us and able to cause his righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations. Thank you all—because of your prayers and encouragements and financial support for me and the Roma mission I am able to see and tell you what God has been doing among the Roma in the Peterfolvo area in Karpatalja Ukraine.

Elemer Barta, the new helper, is now working in full capacity among the Roma families, adults and children, and the Lord is empowering his ministry. By God’s grace with Elemer I have been able to do many new things that were not possible before.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord…. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations  (Isaiah 61:10a, 11).

Roma families are enjoying a Sunday service right there in the camps (Roma settlement). Now we are serving three camps within a span of 7-8 km. Many children and mothers with babies and a few men are attending the Sunday afternoon service.

A mother of two happy for what she received

A mother of two happy for what she received

In the newest camp, Tivadar, one young girl (Regina) came to me and asked if I would give her the songbook and teach her the songs. I asked if she knows how to read, and to my surprise not only can she read, but others too can read. I start writing the songs on paper and then we learn them. I left my songbook for Regina to learn the songs and teach others. Also I started a Bible reading and study with a few who can read. I continuously pray that God will raise some leaders from the Roma themselves who will be able to lead the Roma mission in the future.

With the help of friends from the Baptist Church we were able for the first time to do an equal food distribution for all the families. Everyone said it was impossible and it would be very challenging—but it was not impossible, because nothing is impossible with God. The Roma were very happy that they were receiving help like the others and that we respected the rules we set for them. We were encouraged to do it for the second time, and we hope as God provides we can do it again.

In April some friends from Virginia visited me, and we thought about inviting Roma families for a meal together—but after much discussion the plan was canceled because of the difficulties of doing it. But again for the first time in two of the camps separately, by God’s grace and with the help of a missionary who works in the same area with the Reformed Christian high school students, we were able to have a cook-out day, which lasted from 11:30 am till 4:30 pm. It was a part of the school requirements and practice to serve the community among the Roma neighbors.

The special meal we prepared is a national dish (bogracs). After cooking sausage and pork fat for a while, you add onion and lots of meat, let it cook 2 ½ hours, then add spices and paprika, then add potatoes and enough water and let it cook for 20 minutes till is cooked well. While the cooking team was preparing the meal, the students played games with the children and lots of the mothers too enjoyed the games. Then we had a time of worship and Elemer preached on Jesus healing the man with an unclean spirit, who after his healing went to tell his family and friends how much the Lord has done for him. Then the preacher invited the people to come to God in prayer to receive freedom from their wrong habits and sins and be healed.

Sunday afternoon service at Ticebokeny camp

Sunday afternoon service at Ticebokeny camp

Then the time came to sit together and eat our long-awaited meal. We sat on the grass and a few chairs; some of the families took their food and sat together and the little children formed groups and sat to eat and talk. It went on and on—they asked for seconds and thirds until we finished the very big special pot. They all went home rejoicing and as I was leaving and thanking everyone, one lady said, “Thank you for being with us and doing all these things for the Roma people.”

For all that I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for he who has started the work will see it to completion and the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all nations. I pray as you read this newsletter you will be encouraged and continue to partner with the PC(USA) and the Reformed Church in Ukraine to elevate the life of the poor and preach the good news of Christ and bring peace and justice to families, communities and nations.

Please pray with me for:

1-    Summertime and opportunities for the Roma children to attend the Christian summer camp in Csunkapopi-Ukraine.

2-    I will be in the States for six weeks for Interpretation Assignment (IA), in July and until mid-August. The first two weeks I will have the chance to attend the Sharing Conference and some special coaching time until July 16, and then the rest of the time until August 11 I hope to visit some of the churches. Please pray for travelling mercies and some invitations too.

Thank you so much for your prayers, encouragements and support. If this is your first time to receive my newsletter, you can read more about God’s work among the Roma people in Karpatlja–Ukraine at my website, and I pray you will be encouraged to consider becoming an active partner.

Serving Christ with you all,
Nadia Ayoub

The 2015 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 332

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