Roma Travel Journal - Day 3
25 April 2012
Yesterday we were picked up at Pallottihaus by a van and driver hired by Lenka (my counterpart) in Slovakia. Although we won’t see Lenka (she teaches English at a university), we have certainly benefited from her assistance in planning for our time in Slovakia. Picked up at 11:45, we arrived in Velke Kapusany at 7:45 where Svetlana Francisti has a church, a parsonage, and a two-bedroom apartment. Plans change quickly on a trip like this. The day before we arrived, Svetlana and Michael decided it would be better to cancel our stay at the Reformed Church Center and stay at her apartment; Michael would stay with her family at the parsonage. Joan and I share a fold-out couch and Amy has a single bed in what might be called a living room. Kathy and Judy have twin beds in a bedroom. The apartment has a small kitchen, a toilet room, and a bathtub/sink room. The apartment is comfortable, and a welcome resting place for weary travelers.
This is Michael Airgood checking in. I am a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries in Lviv, Ukraine. I jumped at the opportunity to hitch across the border and join up with this team as they explore Roma culture in Slovakia. I’ll only be along for the first leg of the journey, so I decided that I should check in first, a day before the rest of the travelers arrived.
This morning we ate a wonderful breakfast and planned out our children’s program for the day. We sat with Pastor Svetlana and tried to discern which of our ideas would work for the community she serves. Through rounds of coffee we figured out which crafts would work, and which songs to sing, and which words to speak.
On the way to Kralovsky Chlemc we stopped for little buckets of delicious Hungarian style goulash soup. We sang our blessing and then didn’t make another peep as we voraciously devoured our soup and bread.
Our children’s lesson took place in the newest mission site in Slovakia. Pastor Svetlana and her husband Atilla (like “the Hun”, no relation) began a new church plant with the Roma community in this small town a little over a year ago. About seven families worship together – and more than forty people streamed through the doors for our time together.
We sang, we laughed, and we crafted to the best of our ability. The short story was triple translated (think Lucille Ball goes to Europe for an example) from English into Slovak into Hungarian. Language was a barrier, but a fun one.
In the evening we had a very challenging cultural presentation by a young social worker. He works with Roma communities and is Roma himself. It was interesting, but left us with more questions than easy answers.
We finished off with a nice meal out and a good time of team fellowship and prayer.