Thank the Lord! Yesterday evening was a very blessed time for the people gathered at our weekly Bible study on Cejl Street… and for me too! To be completely honest, the last few weeks have seen our friends at this study become nervous and uneasy because of issues going on within the church. I won’t get into specifics but let’s just say that we have experienced a little too much drama lately. Anyway, yesterday started off with a small group assembled… then one by one, more people started coming in and before the end of the evening, we had probably close to 30 people there!
Dawn had to stay at our apartment because she was struggling with a sore back… Joe was not able to be there because he was watching their two youngest kids as Julie had to be away for a medical visit in Budapest… so, I sat there again, with no translator and not having a clue about what was being said. Then, our friend Jiri came in. Jiri speaks English and offered to translate for me but I told him that if he would just give me a synopsis afterward, that would be great. As much as I wanted him to translate for me, I know that sometimes it is best to not be disruptive to the flow of a Bible study like this… especially in a small room. In such situations, I do strain to try and understand as many words as possible and I focus on the mannerisms and facial expressions of people in an attempt to understand the intent of what is being said. After a few minutes passed, two other people that I recognized as English speakers came in! Now, these English speakers are all Czech people… not Roma. However, they are interested in Roma ministry and one does social work in the area. I will get back to these folks in a bit.
A big thing that I sensed during the evening was how this seemed to lift the spirits of Matea, the man who has been serving as their pastor. I am sure that over the last few weeks, he must have been worried about all of the stress and drama within the church but this night at the Bible study, he smiled a lot and really seemed to be refreshed. This was a blessing to see and I hope it is a start of a new trend at the church. If the people at the Bible study can stick together and grab onto a new vision of ministry in the community… and get past whatever misgivings they may have from the past, God can surely use them to accomplish great things in the Cejl Street area… amen. Ok, back to the thing which really blessed me personally… after the study had ended, I took advantage of the opportunity to network with Martin again. He is the young Czech man who is doing social work among the Roma. He has agreed to talk with me further about possible ministry ventures. After we finished our conversation, a young lady who was standing nearby said hello to me in English and I found out that she had worked in the Cejl area in the past at the Salvation Army and she speaks VERY good English! I was able to get her contact information and she said that she would be willing to consider assisting with some translating for Dawn and I. Thank you Lord! Of course, this is the first time to meet her and I hope to meet with her (with Dawn too, of course) in the near future to discuss this further. I have been asking my prayer partners to take this need to the Father for weeks now and hopefully we are seeing the fruit of your petitions for us! I will keep you informed as things progress. Yes, even when things “look” dark and uncertain, God can send us a powerful new sunrise of hope to light our way. May He empower us to see great things happen within the Roma community here in Brno… amen and amen.