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The voice of a friend for Roma People in Southeast Europe

Mirela’s testimony highlights some of the extreme circumstances that Roma people often live in, but also reveals how Jesus makes a difference in their lives.

RADIO, MEDIA & MISSIONS AUTOR 287/Elisjeva_Kool 27 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2020 09:06 h
Roma lady gratefully receiving donation of firewood for the winter. / Ikonos via TWR.

“It touched my heart and for the first time in my life, I realized that there is someone who really loves me and who cares about me. I realized that my life should not be like my parents’ lives.” – Mirela, TWR Roma Programming listener.



In these times of uncertainty and adjustments, one thing always remains true: the love of God. He asks His followers to be a light in the darkness.



Roma people in Serbia and North Macedonia are among those in need of this light because of the very difficult conditions they live in.



Mirela used to be one of these people living in darkness.  She shared, “My childhood was very difficult. My parents were divorced; I lived with my mother and stepfather in a large family. Nobody paid attention to me, I was often hungry, dirty, and my stepfather shouted at me and beat me almost every day. My mother was sick and didn't take care of me, I didn't feel loved or accepted and because of that, I cried a lot. I didn't even go to school regularly because no one insisted on it.”



Then a friend of Mirela told her about Jesus and His love. She went to church and began to listen to the TWR radio programs in the Romani language. “These programs were a great inspiration for me because I was learning new things about God and they also motivated me to start a new life. I went back to school and finished elementary and then high school. God has blessed my life by finding a good job and a wonderful husband who is also a Christian. Now I have something I have always dreamed of. That is why I want other young people to understand that Christ is the one who changes lives and lifts people from the mud.”





[photo_footer] Roma program producers in their small office in Leskovac, Serbia. / Ikonos via TWR. [/photo_footer] 


Roma program producers in their small office in Leskovac, Serbia



Mirela’s testimony highlights some of the extreme circumstances that Roma people often live in, but also reveals how Jesus makes a difference in their lives. She is also an example of why it is important to broadcast the Word of God in the local Romani dialects. It speaks to the heart of the listener!



 



Difficult living conditions



Whereas there are efforts on regional and multi-national levels to improve the status of the Roma people, there is still much work to be done for them to become equally accepted and fully integrated into society.



Roma people often face unemployment or significant challenges in finding employment. If so, the tasks are mostly menial and of physical labour with low pay.



Some Roma resort to begging in other European countries in order to sustain a living.



Other issues Roma people face include poor education levels, high rates of adolescent marriages and having children at an early age, strong superstition and religious ties as well as dire living conditions where even the basic needs are not often met in the Roma township-style settlements called ‘mahalas’.



 



Radio programs in North Macedonia and Serbia



For this reason, Pastor Edijan in North Macedonia as well as the Roma ministry team in Leskovac, Serbia, led by Pastor Šerif encourage listeners to be faithful through their Romani radio programs inviting those who are not yet believers to turn to God. Because they speak to their own Roma ethnic group, these ministers can address these topics in culturally appropriate ways for which they are well received.





[photo_footer] Pastor Serif, a key Serbian Roma leader and personality. / Ikonos via TWR.[/photo_footer] 


 



Rama, a producer within the team in Leskovac shared how he sees the neighbourhood struggles on a daily basis of people trying to provide for the basic needs of their families. Despite the challenging circumstances that are a reality, TWR’s programs speak hope into the lives of the Roma people pointing to God who can be trusted.



The programs that are broadcast on local FM radio are also placed online on this website.



 



Reaching migrants across Europe



This has become a trusted resource not only for local Roma listeners but also for those Roma who go to other countries for finding work. This way, they can still remain in touch with their local community and be encouraged in their walk of faith even though they are far away from home.



In conjunction with TWR’s network of local partners, TWR broadcasts programs for the Roma people in various Roma dialects in the countries of Albania, Bulgaria, Hungary, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine. More information on TWR’s website.


 

 


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