The Roma (Gypsy) people have been part of the European continent for many centuries. Until today they have been the victim of discrimination and isolation. In Bulgaria the Roma are currently living in extreme poverty. The majority of them are unemployed and suffering the harsh economic realities of the Post-Communist context. Their miserable environment has caused them to act in socially unacceptable ways; they have poor health and many live without proper nourishment, water and power supply. There are many orphaned Gypsy children who are destined to a hard life. Many children are out of school and have not received proper education. The situation of the Roma minority in Bulgaria seems quite grim. In this harsh reality, however, there is hope in Christ. We have witnessed a powerful move of God among the Roma in Bulgaria. God's Spirit have turned many to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Drunkards have become saints, gangsters have converted to the true worship of God. There are many wonderful stories and testimonies we can share with you. The move of God has caused the Roma people to embrace a new identity. Their poor neighborhoods have been radically transformed and our culture revitalized. Many people in and outside the Roma neighborhoods witness the radical changes that have taken place in these quarters, many of which look like ghettos. The Roma quarters have become safer places, there is less fighting, more children are in school, wickedness has decreased. Their people are no longer involved as much in stealing, begging, fortune-telling, and addictive behaviors. Truly, the grace of God has been manifested greatly on the poor precious Roma (Gypsies). Christs love for them and the move of the Spirit has given them a new meaning for life“ to witness and glorify the God who delivered them from darkness and brought them to His marvelous light. The harsh economic realities of the Roma neighborhoods remain. The program with the goats is helping poor Roma families with children living in extremely hard conditions. This helps them feed their children and provide for their families. It is also a great witness of Christian love. They are very grateful for your help. This really is making a difference in their lives. May God's blessings be on you for your love and care for the poor in this world.
I confirmed my belief that the Pentecostal message is the most effective in reaching the Romany soul.
Their primal and folk traditions need to be properly understood by those who minister to them. The Roma should not be placed in the same category as the Europeans, because they originate from Southeast Asia. Even though it has been a millennium since their ancestors left India, they have preserved much of their heritage by living as a closed community. The cross-cultural minister must respect the culture of the Gypsies and be open to learn from them. Their cultural values must be preserved and the negative patterns of behavior need to be transformed by the power of the Spirit.
Ministers called to reach the Romanies must walk in obedience to God’s Word and exemplify the love of Christ. The world has rejected them for centuries and they need to feel the touch of genuine Christian love. They are precious people, created in God’s image and likeness. The sacrifice of Christ atoned for their sins and they can be brought to a redemptive relationship with Him. This would happen through human vessels that are committed to reach them with the Gospel to the glory of God.
Prohasar man opre pirende-sa muro djiben semas opre chengende.
“Bury Me Standing. I Have Been on My Knees All My Life.”
Rev. Assen Christov
Bishop of Roma Churches and Communities
Cell:+359 878 445866