How Christ lives in gypsy camp?

2012-10-29 12:00

The trip took place with the assistance of Dutch Reformed Protestant Church and the Institute of Ecumenical Studies of UCU. Together with the pastor, Dr. Helen Zorgdrager students visited the nursing home for old women live, a gypsy camp, and the diocese of the Reformed Church.

In Berehovo, most people speak Hungarian, even signboards in stores are bilingual. Needless to say, as Transcarpathia borders with Hungary, and one of the main streets of Uzhhorod ends with a border. On the streets often run small gypsies, asking passersby for some money. The land is rich in thermal waters, unique transcarpathian wine; eventually Transcarpathia is becoming more tourist highlight of Ukraine. The pastor of the Reformed Church says that ambulances from here sooner gets off to Hungary than someone in need can hope for help here. The Reformed Church in Transcarpathia has a whole network of social service - a bakery of bread for homeless, a group of faithful women who prepare food for the hungry, gifts projects for Christmas, help for single mothers.

As Reformed Protestant Church’s pastor told us, in Transcarpathia, they do not get any help from the state and, furthermore, sometimes just the opposite. For example, recently they received several trucks of humanitarian aid from the Netherlands, but they are still closed at the customs, while the church is waiting for some very important document from Kyiv.

The same was said in the nursing home, where the family of the faithful Baptists works. "We take in the house women that nobody cares about. Someone we found in the barn, someone was brought by neighbours. These old women belong to completely different denominations. One - the Orthodox from Russia, the other - Baptist, and this one came to us cursing God at every turn, as if possessed by some evil, but now she is very quiet, "- says the woman, for the second year living and working in the nursing home.

In the gypsy camp in Berehovo serves Ukrainian of Hungarian origin Shannon. He says that he works as a computer programmer in the evening and in the morning he is pastor of the Evangelic Protestant church for gipsies. "When I met God in my life, I felt that my calling is to serve these people. Strange, because before I just hated them. In childhood they stole my bike, and now they are my brothers "- shares his memories pastor.

The students were amazed at how one city can be every time reopened differently. Along with the heady transcarpathian wine, thermal waters, there are ordinary people who are creating initiatives from below. So, in such a way, simple, seemingly excursion to Transcarpathia can become true spiritual retreat, renewal of spirit and a powerful factor in building community.

Sofiia Kochmar