General CBF / Missions

On the road again … to Skopje

The following post is from CBF field personnel Keith Holmes and Mary van Rheenen who serve in the Netherlands.

May Prayer Letter

Dear Friends,

Keith is on the road again. This weekend he plans to fly to Skopje, Macedonia. He will speak about reaching people from oral cultures at a small conference of other mission workers. I grew up in a literary culture–we got, stored, and shared information primarily through writing. I’m not quite sure what sort of culture our children are growing up in–computer culture?

Romany, like most peoples before the invention of moveable type, learn andremember primarily through hearing. I’ve always wondered why Peter and Paul had such strange sermons (Acts 2, for instance). Their hearers also came from oral cultures. They latched onto stories, not three points and a poem. This is one of the reasons that non-print media works so well with Romany.

Later this month, Keith heads to France to distribute media materials, mainly among Sinti Romany. First he and his travelling companions will go to an annual pilgrimage (Catholic), then to a huge tent meeting (charismatic). He will be busy cooperating as well as fellowshipping.

He likes to travel, and he is good at arranging travel. Teun van de Leer, our friend and former pastor, agreed to teach a session of the Gypsy Smith School in Bucharest, Romania, this fall with one of his collegues from the Dutch Baptist Seminary. When I suggested it to him, I mentioned that Keith could make the travel arrangements. Which he did, to the satisfaction of all involved. Hopefully the arrangement will prove so satisfactory thatprofessors and students from the seminary will go teach a session everyfall. I don’t know whether Keith will continue to make their travel arrangements, though . . . .

It’s time to go to Moldova again, where we’ve been asked to organize another women’s outreach. This time, Eugenia Podoleanu, who coordinates the women’s ministry for the Moldovan Baptist Union, will be helping us. Since otherwise it looks like one other woman from the Netherlands, one from Romania, and me, we could use all the help we can get.

We need 5-10 prayer volunteers who will pray with us as we prepare and while we are in Moldova.

Keith also needs prayer volunteers, specifically to pray for this trip to France. Though his traveling partner has written (in French) to the mayor and organizers of the pilgrimage, he has not yet received official permission to distribute media there. Keith and the Wycliffe Bible translator hope to show the Jesus DVD at some point during the weekend. Someone who was very enthusiastic about their being there before has offered to let them use the side of a white caravan as a screen. Keith has also volunteered to show children’s DVDs during the afternoons, when the children tend to be running around with nothing to do. The organizers were very cautious about this, stating that only about half of the children understood Romani. Keith requests prayer for wisdom, flexibility, and openness–for himself as well as all others involved.

If you feel led to pray for either or both of these trips, please send us an e-mail. We will attempt to send specific requests and updates during the trip(s) themselves. We pray, as my parents always did, for “traveling mercies.” We also pray for much grace, flowing abundantly, all around.

Traveling mercies to you, as well,

Mary van Rheenen, Keith, Ellen, and Rebecca Holmes

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