Who are the Roma people?

The Roma are a people group with no home country. They are scattered primarily throughout Europe, but also the world. Typically living in tight-knit exclusive communities, the Roma maintain a unique culture and close family ties.

To learn more about the Roma visit the Britannica Page or the Wikipedia Page.

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The beginning of the Roma Bible Institute (RBI)

The testimony of one Hungarian as she watched the RBI become a reality. RBI will hold their sixth week of intensives in September of 2014.

By: Kató Fellegi

We started our long journey. I drove. I have driven the road between Budapest and Munkacs so many times. There is a highway to Nyíregyháza and after the highway ends the road becomes a bit more interesting. It takes at least five to six hours to get to Munkacs, but the time does not always pass by the same way. Last spring, thanks to God, it passed by very well. I traveled with eight Americans. Eight pastors. Pastors of souls. They came up with a plan and we helped them make it happen.

Students at RBI during the fifth intensive, March 2014.For a long time I did not really believe that the Roma Bible Institute (RBI) could turn into a reality. It was hard to imagine that there would be enough willing students, that they would have passports, that they really would want to join the RBI, that we would have enough teachers, or even that everything would come together. It is not my mission I thought, so it is not me who has to believe in it. And in the original plan we would run the RBI in Munkacs, but God formed something else, something more. It became international so now three countries would participate, three times 10 pastors. The vision of Craig Hamlin, how I called it, became a reality last Monday. Craig is a Baptist pastor from North Carolina, who got this vision in his heart. He dreamed about it and made it happen. Thanks to God.

So that is how it happened that I spent a wonderful week amoung Ukrainian, Romanian and Eastern-Hungarian Roma pastors and deacons. On Monday, 27 Roma arrived to Seregelyes, where four American Baptist pastors and three interpreters were waiting for them. They walked through the Old Testament in the morning and after a little nap they were taught about how a pastor should behave, how his character should be, how he should divide his time between the church, his family, and God, how he ought to prepare for a sunday service, and how he builds up the church. There were many many useful materials and advice for their everyday life.Kató Fellegi translating Pastor Joel Stevens at the fifth intensive, March 2014.

Students were so enthusiastic. They had many questions, they shared many stories, they opened themselves up, they worshiped together, and also they were touched and even cried sometimes.

We went deep and up to the heights that week. God took this handful of people into his palm and moved them through valleys, flower-filled meadows, running rivers and snowcovered, cold, peaky pikes. Finally we all arrived to a place in our soul, where it was simply good to be, on a peaceful island, where the Hungarian-speaking Roma pastors from three countries were not looking at each other any more, but were shoulder to shoulder looking ahead, looking into the same direction, at the same aim, at the same one and only God.

I beleive what God started he will also finish. I believe that happenings like this encourages us to dare to dream something big, to dare to lean on God and make the very first step like the Israelites did into to the Jordan, because we know the river will split. To participate and to be a colleague of the Creator God in doing miracles is one of the biggest blessing in the world.  

This school semester at the Institue was a week long and we will have another two like it left this year. At the end of the third years students will get a diploma.

We said goodbye to the students with Jesus words: „Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt. 28:19).


January 2013


A Day to Celebrate

By Alicia Jones

September 1st was probably just the start of a new month and a regular Saturday for many, but here in this quaint town in Western Ukraine it was the first day of school and everyone was celebrating its inauguration. School girls dressed in their white and blue clothes blew horns and sung as they walked through the city center.

I had the joy of spending the morning on the edge of town at the local school for the Roma community. Many of the beautiful faces I came to know this summer were gathered in the school courtyard to celebrate the new school year. Everyone was clean and looking their best.  

The ceremony began with the national anthems of both Ukraine and Hungary. Then their were speeches in Ukrainian and Hungarian by various people: the mayor of the town, the school principal, visitors, local pastors who work with the Roma people and there were even a few words from an American because I was given the opportunity to address parents and children on this special day.

I shared that we hope to start a kindergarten at the church nearby to help better prepare children for school. The few teachers I talked with individually before the ceremony were so excited for this and expressed how great the need is for a kindergarten. Lord willing, New Life Kindergarten hopes to have an inauguration celebration on Monday, September 17. It will certainly be something to celebrate after so many have prayed for and dreamed of the opening of a kindergarten in this Roma community.