To download the original copy, please follow this link: CIM News Update – February 2018
From this issue of News Update:
The first mention of the Roma people in Ukraine goes back to the 14th century. The general attitude towards them was not positive; they were often persecuted. Their way of life was nomadic, so they moved from place to place and did not have the constancy of living in one place. As a result, many Roma people were illiterate and unemployed. Stealing became a common behaviour among them due to the high rate of unemployment and struggles to make ends meet. They often married at a very young age as well. Traditional practices of their culture also included witchcraft and divination, particularly among the women.
There are around 50,000 Roma people in Ukraine today. They are spread all over the country, and the biggest concentration of people is 15,000, most of whom live in the region of Zakarpattya. This is the region where the House of Mercy in Uzhhorod is situated.
Nowadays, most Roma people are no longer nomads. In other regions of Ukraine, Roma people mostly live in apartments. However, the Roma people in Zakarpattya region are in the deepest poverty compared to other areas of the country and often live in crowded settlements.
The majority of Roma in this region are illiterate, especially in the older population. Only 17% have completed school. There are a few Roma schools where children can complete their primary education. Because it is more difficult to progress towards higher education, only a small percentage of the Roma youth can achieve this. There are now academic assistance programs that aid the youth to complete their education, but unfortunately, many do not show interest in these opportunities provided to them.
The Ukrainian locals in the Zakarpattya region have compassion for the Roma people. Humanitarian aid and living condition improvement are crucial. However, the struggles and challenges of the Roma people are also beyond material needs. They need eternal hope and salvation from God to break through the bondage of generations of stigma, their past cultures, and ways of life.
CIM-Ukraine Ministry Exploration Visit 2017:
In June 2017, Rev. Xavier Law (Chairman), Rev. Isaac Quan (Executive Director), Rev. Kenny Wong (Board Director), Tomson Chan (Board Director) and a few others made an exploration trip to Uzhhorod, Ukraine (Western Ukraine). With the connections of South Calgary Chinese Evangelical Free Church, we were able to meet up with local Ukrainian organization – House of Mercy for their Roma ministry and associated ministries. For your information, the western part of Ukraine is bordering Hungary and Slovakia. It is free of conflicts of the recent tension between Russia and Ukraine which is happening in the Eastern part of Ukraine.
We had a great experience in Ukraine in meeting with House of Mercy Foundation’s directors and their staff. We saw their humanitarian ministries first hand and visited Roma churches and leaders. We also met with two local Christians to get a better understanding of the needs of the Roma ministry in Pirogova and Perechin settlements.
We stayed at the House of Mercy orphanage guest house and had a wonderful time of fellowship, discussion and praying together. We also had opportunities to conduct a Roma Leadership retreat. Moreover, we were able to share gospel messages to several Roma settlements and discussed possible future cooperation in the Roma ministries.
In October 2017, we presented the vision and needs of the Roma to CIM Board of Directors. We praise God that the board approved the Roma Ministry as part of the CIM Cross Cultural ministries.
Some of the Roma Ministry goals:
• Partner with House of Mercy Foundation in Ukraine to minister to the Roma people focusing in evangelical, gospel and spiritual care while House of Mercy and their Norway supporter KPK are focusing in humanitarian ministries
• Promote and organize short-term Roma ministry mission teams to Ukraine
• Bring God’s love and Good News to the Roma people
• Church Planting: Support and develop local Roma churches and pastors
• Disciple local Christians to become Jesus Christ’s disciples
• Support local Ukrainian and Roma ministry workers and missionaries
• Develop local leadership for the future ministry and the Great Commission
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 (NIV)
Ukraine Roma Evangelical and Spiritual Ministry Short term plan
– 1st Year (2018 Plan):
• Pray for the Kick-off of the Ukraine Roma ministry
• Promote via Newsletters and websites
• Focus in promoting the ministry in all connecting churches
• Start fundraising and support two local Missionaries/Christian workers for Roma Ministry
• Establish and sign CIM-House of Mercy partnership agreement/contract
• Target to send one to two STM teams to Ukraine
• Tentative date for the first STM team is around June 7-20, 2018. If you are interested in the Ukraine Roma Ministry, please contact CIM office (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Stay tuned for next month’s News Update for more information regarding our ministry to the Roma people group.
CIM (Canada) Board Director
Financial Highlights for the month of January 2018
(please click on the table to enlarge)
1. General Fund – for general and administrative such as staff salaries
2. Designated Fund – for specific ministries in different field locations as designated (cannot be transferred between funds)
– All financial figures are in Canadian dollar and rounded to the nearest dollar.
Canadian Registered Charity Registration Number of CIM (Canada): 896216207RR0001