This morning we had an awesome group at our discipleship gathering! We had 10 Roma men and one lady who was there as a visitor / observer. Joe Silby, my colleague, and Pavel K. were also present. I am so thankful that it seems the “interest” of our men is increasing and so is their input and participation.
The main topic for the discussion this morning was “Obeying Jesus Teachings” and the scriptural text came from John 14:23-27. The two main themes in the discussions were… if we honestly seek to follow the teachings of Jesus, he promised that both he and his Heavenly Father would dwell with us… and if we do this, Jesus will give us peace which is spiritual and not like the peace of the world. Several of the men spoke up at different times to give input.
One specific discussion was started by a question from one man who asked… “How can a person have this peace when he is facing serious real world issues like being on the street with his children because they have no money and no place to go?” Serious question… how would you answer it? If you are a typical middle class American, you have probably never faced such a thing… so, you honestly don’t have a good answer for that question. Some of us may have brushed up closely to such a problem and have a thought or two about how it might be to face life on the street. In the world of many Roma communities, this is a harsh reality. In this article we will not get into all of the whys and hows of these occurrences. It is just good for you to know these are very real problems for them. To attempt to answer this, I went to the life of Paul and how even though he was chased out of many towns, stoned and beaten, ship wrecked and imprisoned, and in the end even had his head cut off… he had a peace in his spirit that would allow him to sing praises to his Lord and Savior from the depths of those prisons. I readily confess that I am not sure if I could have such a great faith if I were sitting in a dark prison somewhere. We also talked about the fact that some people face hard times because of making bad decisions and we can certainly not blame that on God. I for one, can say that I have been in that position in my life. If you are honest, you can probably confess that you have as well. The honest answer to that difficult question is that it is NOT easy to exercise that type of faith BUT we can if we hang on to Jesus with all of our heart and mind and spirit.
At the end of the session, I told them all that I had just shown them and example… a model of how to lead a small group within the I Am Second context. It does not take a lot of money, just provide a few refreshments for fellowship…. be a patient facilitator to lead the discussion and keep it on track… give people time to express themselves… and follow a simple pattern of asking probing questions while staying focused on a specific passage of scripture. I then told them of our plans to select 3 people to help us test this within the Roma community. We asked them to pray that we will have wisdom in selecting the three people to assist us. I honestly believe that we can use the IAS movement to impact many Roma people for the cause of Christ. Keep interceding with us to the Father for this to happen. We will continue to post more information in the blog as things progress. God bless you and thank you for praying.