In 2003, Sora Annie went to Romania on a vision trip, knowing God led her to share the love, affection and truth of Christ with marginalized people. It was there she met Narcisa, a Romani girl who God used to (easily) persuade Annie to move to Medgidia for a season. She has been returning ever since.
The Roma of Romania are an intriguing, multi-faceted, magnificent, and often misunderstood people group. They are an interesting and resilient people who show amazing inner strength to withstand rejection and discrimination. Despite their ensnarement in and sometimes acceptance of the cycle of poverty, they care deeply about their children and face a questionable future. The Roma share an intense sense of community, family and passion for life. Sora Annie said, “The Roma have offered me generosity and hospitality unequaled throughout my travels. More than once, a Romani family has offered me a cup of water and their last piece of bread."
The Roma are Asian in their roots and originated from the northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, moving westward throughout Europe and beyond in three movements beginning about a thousand years ago. The Open Society Foundation’s animated history provides a short overview. There is not one unified Romani people group or single Romani language today. They are in a sense a non-territorial nation, but there are vast cultural differences between Romani people groups.
People often ask my why I use the term “Roma” instead of the term “Gypsies”. While some people I know who dearly love the Roma use the term Gypsies, I do not, simply because it can be considered derogatory. Most Roma find use of the term Gypsies offensive. In fact, the Roma were slaves in Romania until about 1860.
The Romani population, the Roma, has long been marginalized. Hitler attempted to exterminate them during the Holocaust, murdering nearly half of the estimated European population of Romani people at the time. The marginalization continues today throughout Europe and beyond. Like most marginalized people groups, there are many assumptions perpetuated about them. They are often rejected and treated as disposable. However, each one of the Roma is a person who deserves to be treated with love and respect, to be welcomed and included. They are, as a whole, a resilient, complex and amazing people. I have the gift of coming alongside the Roma of southeastern Romania in Medgidia. I have learned far more from them than they have from me.
I have also learned a lot about the Roma through Dr. Ian Hancock, a Romani man who is a professor of linguistics and Romani culture and studies. In a lecture entitled “Gypsies vs. Roma: The Price of Identity” Dr. Hancock provides enlightening teaching. My hope is that they begin to see themselves as God see them and their identity is in Christ. My hope is also that all others see them through this lens as well.
We believe relationships and trust come from spending time together. We serve many communities throughout Medgidia, but our primary focus is on two: Baraci and Siloz. Many of the kids from day programs live in these two communities. We visit their families, pray with them and meet practical needs. The photo above is Sora Annie reaching Budaca who was agreeing to accept Christ. She died the following year and we are so grateful of assurance she is in Heaven.
In Romanian, baraci means “shacks”. This Medgidia neighborhood is mostly wooden shacks with some concrete block or stucco homes. Most are one or two rooms. We love love love (yes three times) to go house-to-house and visit folks in the baraci! They always welcome us in. This is where real relationships happen – when you visit folks in their environment and show them the love of Christ.
The Siloz community is very near the Baraci community in Medgidia. Nearly all homes are two-room wooden shacks and most have a gated front yard. It is a very close knit community and full of kids and action. House-to-house visits are so meaningful at Siloz. Watch out on rainy days as it is very muddy!
While our focus is more on people over projects, one project that we continue to stay connected and committed to is Lumina. Beti and Sora Annie launched Lumina in 2003 when Annie moved to Medgidia, Romania for a while. Lumina meets every Saturday possible and all kids are welcome to come. Think of it as a kids-only fun safe place to have meal, a bible lesson, love and a time of worship (often in Romanian, Turkish and a little English).
Founded by Hardi and Beti Maduta Kubassek
Fundatia Porti Deschise (Open Doors Foundation) has a vision of alleviating the suffering of destitute children, families and individuals in Romania. They purpose to open many doors and point the wayward, lost and hopeless to the road of a purposeful Christ-centered life.
Founded by Cindy Getchman
The heart of Stepping Stone Missions to partner with missionaries, churches and organizations around the world to change lives through the love of Christ. It will be helping communities, neighborhoods and individuals in crisis or need by any means necessary to support physical, mental and spiritual growth.
Founded by Daniel Mercado
PRR provides a hope and a future for at-risk children in Constanta, Romania. They have both a boys and a girls home where they love and raise the children. They also conduct outreach to street children and have a day center to welcome the kids and families in.
If you would like to commit to praying for Daffodils From Heaven as we serve in the US and abroad, we would appreciate hearing from you. Send us an email at annie@DaffodilsFromHeaven.com and make sure you are on our email and newsletter list.
Daffodils From Heaven, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) (charitable donation) non-profit organization based in the United States. All donations will be receipted. All US donations are tax deductible.
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Thank you so very much!
So much is happening in Romania, it is hard to keep up! Some newsletters from recent years provide a little insight. Join our email list by clicking the Stay Connected button. Send us an email for our October 2016 newsletter. We will have another one in October 2017 after our next trip.