02 April 2012

Long-term focus on Education

In 2005, I attended a meeting in the Czech Republic to discuss the state of ministry with Roma among Baptists.  It was an informative meeting as we all shared what we were doing and what our ideas were for future ministry.  I made a comment about the required education for ministers because the area Baptist Unions have a minimum education requirement for their ministers to be considered for support from the Union.  My point was that the Unions must consider alternative ways of providing qualified education status for ministers.  Another missionary reacted from his narrow view of ministry that "education is a job of the state, not for the church."

To supplement the "job of the state," we have been involved with supporting the education of Roma in various ways.  Through creative partnerships, we've aided the educational process by providing meals for students so that they can learn.  We've sponsored a new Roma school by ensuring students can travel to school.  We've provided or created resource materials, which the state does not supply, for class enrichment.  We've provided short-term ministry teams to teach English in schools and we invested over a year teaching English at a Roma school in Kosice.  And we're really excited that God has called Tanya and Jon Parks to minister in Kosice at an all Roma school reaching students from the poorest area of town.

During a recent visit to the Roma school in Kosice, Director Anna Koptova gifted us with the first copy of the new Slovak-Romani Dictionary which she co-authored.  What an honor it is to support the important work of educating young minds.  Impacting the next generation by being the presence of Christ, is not the job of the state, it is the responsibility and honor for those called to serve.

Pray for Anna Koptova as she leads the Roma Gymnazium in Kosice.
Pray for the Ziga family - two children are to graduate this year from the Gymnazium but they are having problems getting citizenship papers from Slovakia (they have joint citizenship in the Czech Republic) and this can keep them from graduating.
Pray for Tanya and Jon Parks as they prepare to relocate to Kosice this summer to begin their ministry.