A second project among the Roma we are very excited about is a weekly Sunday school program. We asked students from the Reformed High School where we teach and live in Peterfalva for volunteers to help us in this endeavour. We expected maybe at best to have five students approach us, but to our pleasant surprise twenty-nine students came for the meeting and we had to divide the students into three groups to participate and lead on a rotating basis. The high school is a boarding school and the students go home every other weekend. On weekends the students are at the school we go early Sunday morning for two hours before Church. On the weekends that the students go home, we go on Saturday morning with students that live locally. The students and their dedication to the Sunday school program have been amazing. The students organize Bible lessons, lead prayer, sing worship songs, plan games and activities, and teach the children Bible verses for memorization. They get down on their knees and talk with the children, hold their hands and spend time with them. For many of the high school students it is their first time in a Roma camp and probably their first time truly interacting with Roma people. We are so encouraged by the Lord’s work in this, and we believe it is a great opportunity for the students to see past the social stigmas and stereotypes of the Roma. It has been inspiring to see the dedication and love the high school students are showing towards the children. We are very thankful for their willingness to look beyond social stigmas. Our intent was to have the Sunday school outside but we have been plagued by the cold weather, snow, rain, and the seemingly ever present, mud. Two families have generously opened up their homes and we have had to crowd into tiny one or two room homes for the Sunday school. It has been well attended, we have had up to thirty children come at once and even adults. One recent Sunday we had fifty people crowded into a small two room home. God has richly blessed these weekend mornings and all glory and credit belongs to God for the eagerness of the High school students and the active participation of the Roma children and parents.
About Eric Hoeksema
Stacey, my wife, and I are located in western Ukraine, living with and working among a Hungarian population in Transcarpathia, Ukraine.