Ministering to the Roma

September 8, 2010

Recently journalists around the world have reported an increased resentment in Europe toward the Roma population. Italy, France and other countries are shutting down camps where the Roma populations live, and are making it harder for them to remain in their current countries.

Mia’s Children has been ministering to the Roma people since the association’s inception. Also known as gypsies, they have a long history in Romania and still settle in villages across the country and around Bucharest.

The Roma are the most impoverished and marginalized people group in Romania, and arguably in much of Europe. Speaking a different language and living a different lifestyle, they stand out in any country and have trouble assimilating. Their poverty has often bred other related problems like crime, violence, and abuse.

Some of our Roma children live in this village on the outskirts of Bucharest

Many of the young people who come to Mia’s Children are Roma. They live in villages on the outside of town and come from families in desperate poverty. In an attempt to bring in more money, many of the children have previously worked in street crime. Others found food in trash heaps.  This is certainly not the situation for every Roma child, but it is also not uncommon in Romania.

The parents struggle with substance abuse and violence. Some have too many children to look after them all, and end up putting one or two in an orphanage. Many of these extreme hardships and patterns of brokenness are worsened and perpetuated by racism from non-Roma.

We have found through the years the power of reaching Roma children. Being so at risk of human trafficking, drug crime, gang violence, and domestic abuse, they are in need of almost every possible provision. Food, education, medical attention, skills training, counseling and spiritual guidance all play a part in helping Roma children to become healthy members of Romanian society.

We meet most of our contacts at the association through referrals from other children and their families. Many of the Roma children are actually related.

Often the families are so grateful for the chance to see their children eat, play, go to school and thrive in their work that they spend extra time at the organization, talking with Mia, learning, and helping when they can.

Even so, the cycle of poverty and desperation among the Roma people in Bucharest is difficult to break, especially in adults who have seen a lot of brokenness.

But there is hope for melting even the hardest heart: parents are transformed, as we have been transformed, by watching their children changed in how they see themselves – as Roma yes, and as Romanians, as successful students and workers, as children of God.


Ceausescu’s Body to Be Exhumed

June 9, 2010

Arguments over the death of Romania’s most infamous dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, will soon be put to rest.

On Sunday the Austrian Times reported that Ceausescu’s son Valentin has won a four-year court battle for the right to exhume his father’s body in order to answer questions about his parents’ fate.

Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena ran Romania with an iron fist from 1965-1989. Following a violent coup in December of 1989, the couple was arrested and tried. They were executed on Christmas Day, and their bodies were dragged through the streets on national television.

Regardless, rumors have persisted that the couple actually escaped and that two other bodies were buried in their place in Bucharest. Valentin Ceausescu hopes to solve this matter by exhuming his father’s body.

The Grave of Nicolae Ceausescu – Ghencea Civil Cemetery, Bucharest

The first time I traveled to Romania, I was shocked by the aftermath of this powerful couple. It was 2005, over 15 years after the fall of communism, and yet people still referred to events as “before Ceausescu” and “after Ceausescu.”

The revolution, which was in many ways similar to a bloody coup, took the life of Mia’s brother and became a catalyst to her and Costel becoming Christians and starting Mia’s Children.

Indeed, many people’s histories are tied to Nicolae Ceausescu and his assumed death. If for some unlikely reason the myths of his and his wife’s survival are found to be true, the country will need some way to regain the closure they should have had in 1989 – a closure that, in many ways, Romanians would still like to experience fully today.

- Joanna Miller


Consider the Motherless for Mother’s Day

May 7, 2010

This Mother’s day, we at Mia’s Children hope you have a special time celebrating with your love ones the great gift of motherhood.

In America we are so over-worked, over-played, overwhelmed that we sometimes forget the importance of sacrifice, of love and of a hot cup of soup when we’re sick.

Mia’s Children works with young people every day who have not known the love of a mother or a father. When precious children come along, they are too often seen as a burden more than a blessing, and they are pushed out.

We encourage our young people to show their mothers honor on Mother’s Day and every other day. In the past, we’ve even held special ceremonies for them!

But there are some children whose mothers will never attend those ceremonies. And here is what those young people have to say about Mia’s Children:

“I am coming from a family of 9 children. I lived long in an orphanage. Before I came here I never was loved. Thanks to you I can have love and a safe place to live in.”

“You gave me another life. I am what I am because of what the Lord did for me through you.”

“Here…I can experience the true love and I can dream and hope.”

“We feel you are our parents, big friends, forever bounded with us in the love of Jesus.”

This Mother’s Day, we ask that you will consider these children as you also consider your own mothers and children. Please consider making a donation to this ministry in your mother’s honor or memory, and we would be glad to send an e-mail on Mother’s Day with a painting by one of the children, letting her know about the gift in her honor. You can customize the message if you’d like!

Here’s how to do it:

1. Go to our donate page and make a donation using the options there.

2. Write us at info@miaschildren.org and let us know about your donation and in whose honor or memory it is.

3. If you want us to send an e-mail, include the e-mail address you would like for us to write to on Mother’s Day. We can send it to you so that you can customize the message, or we can send it to the recipient of the honor.

From all of us at Mia’s Children, have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

- Joanna Miller


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers