Christianity Thrives among ‘Gypsies’ Despite Prejudice(Image by . SantiMB . via Flickr)
Here’s an interesting article from Christianity Today about a little known revival going on among a controversial people spread all across Europe:
Thousands of the Roma people called ‘gypsies’ with a reputation for roving, thievery, and deception are coming to Christ in droves and have been for years.
According to one Roma pastor, John Boyd who is part of an Assemblies of God ministry to the Roma People:
"Most people still hate Gypsies, especially in France. [Yet] revival hasn’t stopped. God is calling Gypsies all around the world."
Pentecostal Christianity continues to spread among the Roma. In France alone among the 500,000 or so there at least 200,000 have been converted to Christ.
The ministry among the Roma has been successful because the evangelists translate the Gospel and teach the Bible in the Romani language making it more understandable. According to Thomas Acton, a professor of Romani studies at the University of Greenwich:
"As if God were a Gypsy. The Romani churches have nativized the gospel. It’s not a foreign ideology; it’s the gospel that has taken on Romani colors. When you hear [a] Romani translation of the Bible, it sounds like it was written yesterday."
The Roma that were recently kicked out of France are now actually reaching out to the Romanian communities with their new found faith. Beni Lup, an attorney and regional director of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries has observed the Roma sharing their faith at a recent Roma Christian music festival held in Sibiu, Romania:
"All the Gypsies had boxes of literature, and they go to Romanians and say, ‘See, the people in France kick us out, but Jesus sent us to give you this Good News of the gospel.’
"[Roma] tell me, ‘We are known as people who steal and people who deceive others. Now we want people to see our testimony, and then our life will be different.’ "
Response: This is an incredible story of the Gospel transforming a people right before our very eyes. Not exactly the sort of thing that you will read about in the regular media which seems to be fixated on everything going wrong.
One thing that the Christianity Today article doesn’t mention is the role of healings, Spiritual Gifts, and signs and wonders in bringing this very superstitious people to Christ. It is a ‘power encounter’ that is winning this people over not the traditional anemic Christianity in Europe.
The regular European Christians won’t have anything to do with this people. This revival was started by Pentecostal missionaries reaching out to the Gypsy communities.
This story gives me hope for Europe which otherwise seems to be headed towards secularism and Islam. May this be just the beginning for a new Revival to sweep across all of Europe once more changing all of those dreary demographics of doom for the future of Christianity in Europe. *Top