Subject to the familiar Roma poverty and lack of education, she was a small woman in a small village, another story amidst countless similar ones that are unknown and untold. She was married at age 16 and had her first of seven children at 17. She separated from her first alcoholic husband to marry another who was even worse. The only ramshackle house she could afford was far away from the village, surrounded by endless, flat fields. Brackish, oily water dripped from a single spigot, and she gratefully accepted the bottles of clean water we brought for her and her five young girls still living with her.
But ten years ago, she had a dream of a man talking about Jesus at the local graveyard. In her dream, she understood the message clearly, but did not want to accept it. In the next few months, she had many terrible dreams of a sinister man and a woman in dark clothes that kept trying to lead her places she did not want to go. At one point, she was so terrified that she screamed in her dream, “God help me!” before waking up.
One day, she heard that a pastor from a nearby city was coming, and she went to the graveyard to see him preach. It was the same man from her dream. However, something inside of her still resisted the message and her bad dreams continued. Soon after, her father and her son decided to follow Jesus. With this encouragement, she finally decided to do the same when a visiting Roma pastor spoke with her. The Roma pastor, a gifted musician, was so delighted that he picked up his guitar and began to sing a worship song he had written.
At this point in the story, my translator looked at me. “She said that she doesn’t have the words to describe what happened inside of her when the Roma pastor began singing, but it was a very strange and wonderful feeling.”
As I listened to this woman, I was surprised at the sudden tears that came into my eyes. How is it that God would see this one small woman and actively pursue her through means that she could understand? I intellectually believed that God does not show partiality according to power or beauty, talent or education, but sitting in that dilapidated house in the middle of the field, seeing the woman’s worn, sweet face as she shyly told her story, a reverential awe overcame me. Who is this God?
Although these stories are not the air-brushed, glossy tales of people living happily ever after, they speak of something larger happening—something that is happening with Roma all over the Balkans. The stories I collected here have begun to confirm the rumors I am hearing—the miracles, the dreams and visions, the many Roma who have decided to follow a powerful, compassionate God who cares about their needs.
Go to Prayer Points to find out how to pray for the Roma in this village.