To download the original copy, please follow this link: CIM News Update – June 2019
From this issue of News Update:
Dear CIM friends,
CIM Canada has now been involved with the Roma ministry officially for over a year. It is wonderful to see God at work in different cultures and we are humbled that we are a part of the Lord’s team to reach out to this people group.
As we learn more about the Roma culture, this past April, a team of 3 comprised of Rev. Isaac Quan (Executive Director of CIM Canada), Tomson Chan (CIM Canada Board of Director) and his wife Lisa Chan traveled to Ukraine to meet and train with local Roma leaders. Tomson and Lisa have been involved with Roma ministries for over ten years. They also did some planning for the June STM team which is currently in Ukraine to help run a Roma youth camp. The team then travelled to Serbia to visit different Roma settlements and explore the possibility of future Roma ministry opportunities with Pastor Miki Kamberovic. The team learned a lot about the Roma culture and how each settlement is unique. They were encouraged to see how the Lord is working amongst the Romas and are looking forward to follow the Lord’s guidance and direction for CIM to work amongst this people group.
In this month’s news update, Lisa Chan writes her reflections from the trip:
Our first week in Ukraine was an encouragement for me. We connected with local missionaries and spent a day together in prayer and reflection. We visited a few families in a Roma settlement and prayed for their needs. What really touched my heart was a prayer request from a parent asking for God to help their family grow into deeper relationship with Jesus. One of their daughters attended a Roma youth camp we held a few years ago. God, through their daughter’s faith, brought the family into a relationship with Jesus! How cool is that?
We also had opportunities to hear stories from Roma pastors we encountered both in Ukraine and Serbia, and through their stories, we learned that Roma pastors face many challenges. Life for the Roma people is hard due to societal discrimination. Finding jobs locally is a huge challenge. Many Roma men must travel in order to find job, and as a result, commitment to church ministries is not consistent.
In Ukraine, churches face an additional challenge with leadership and discipleship because many Roma people are illiterate. Feeding from God’s Word is mainly provided through listening to sermons at Sunday worship. Personal devotions and Bible-reading is almost non-existent. Without the ability to read the Bible, their spiritual growth and leadership development are hindered.
Financial struggle is also a problem for Roma pastors. Roma pastors do not get paid for their work. These pastors use the little money they have for gas and travel to mentor and educate young, new pastors in distant places. Their whole-hearted devotion to God reflects that of the widow in the Bible who offered two copper coins, which was all she had.
While we were in Serbia, we heard the stories of two Roma pastors. Their testimonies demonstrate God’s faithfulness in His provision and power to heal brokenness.
The first pastor we met was Pastor Miki. He shared that when they are doing something that is in God’s will, God provides – no matter what. Pastor Miki has an unswerving faith, and goes beyond his pastoral responsibilities to care for the physical needs of his church members. He is dedicated to finding employment for the Roma Christians. He cares for his church members as if they were his own children. He also teaches newborn Christians how to live a new way of life in Christ. For example, we were impressed with how clean their homes are, in contrast with other Roma settlements we have visited, and with the joy evident among families even though they suffer such discrimination. Moreover, Pastor Miki encourages good education among the Roma children. He runs a pre-school program for Roma children, which provides them with hope for a better future.
Another story from Serbia touched deep within my heart as well. We met Pastor Rama and his wife, Sylvanna. We witnessed God’s love and His Almighty power in the healing from their lives. Pastor Rama used to be an abusive husband due to alcoholism. One day, Sylvanna tried to commit suicide because she could not bear the abuse any longer. Miraculously, she met Jesus through a friend’s invitation to church. She prayed and asked God to change her husband. After nearly five years, God answered her prayers; her husband attended church and accepted Jesus into his life. Her faith in God is a witness of God’s faithfulness to those who cry out to Him for help.
Sylvanna’s story did not end there. Unfortunately, her husband went back to drinking after his conversion. In his attempt to stop his anger and physical abuse, he began cutting himself. In one incident, he tried to commit suicide by cutting out his own heart. After two long years of struggle, he surrendered to God, and God healed him from alcoholism. He began to preach in different settlements. At that time, he only knew John 3:16, until he received Bible training. Now he is known as Pastor Rama, who loves his wife, Sylvanna, and is a good father to his children.
I approached this short-term missions trip with an open mind and a listening heart. Through the stories I heard, I have learned that our God is on the move to rescue the Roma people with salvation in Christ. God has the power to heal any brokenness. He is faithful to provide for His work and His servants. There is hope in God through faith in Jesus Christ. I am both humbled and encouraged. To God be the glory!
For more insight on the Roma ministry happening around the world, here is a link to a documentary which we found very inspiring. Both Pastor Miki and Pastor Rama are in the video.
In the video, you may hear part of Pastor Rama’s testimony starting at 16:52. It is a great privilege for CIM to work amongst the Roma. Find it on Youtube with the title: “We are Here – A Story of Jesus and The Unseen Roma”.
CIM Canada leads mission trips to west Africa and eastern Europe year-round. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our webpage (www.cimcanada.org). We are always looking for people or churches who partner with us through prayers and finances. If you feel called to contribute in these areas, please contact us as well.
Rev. Isaac Quan
- Pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for the new ECG leadership in Ghana led by Rev. KK Maxwell Liwangol. It has been a hard-transitional period for Rev. Liwangol. A few days before he was appointed general overseer for the Evangelical Church of Ghana in late January, his mother passed away but the funeral was not until May 18.
- Pray for the STM team from Burnaby Pacific Grace Church who are in Ukraine from June 11-22. They will be visiting different Roma settlements as well as running a Roma youth camp from June 17-20. The team is composed of 7 people with Pastor Isaac leading. Pray that the Lord will use the team to bring the gospel to the Romas.
Please pray for Pastor Paul Oros’ family. He has been the senior pastor of Uzhhorod Ukrainian Baptist Church for the last 25 years and has been active in training Roma pastors in the area. Pastor Paul passed away unexpectedly from cancer on June 13. The funeral was on June 17 and the STM team was able to attend.
- Pray for the STM team that will be traveling to Togo in early August led by Pastor Matthieu Ayena. Currently there are four applicants with Pastor Matthieu leading.
- Pray for the financial needs of CIM Canada. Pray for a healthy general fund and funds to maintain our ministries including village schools, Ghana, Togo and Roma ministries. We thank God for donors who have been supporting CIM Canada in the past. May God continue to raise more donors to bless our ministry. Pray that we can find more effective and efficient ways to promote CIM Canada.
Financial Highlights for the month of May 2019
Registered Canadian Charity Registration Number of Chinese International Missions (Canada): 896216207RR0001