A few years ago I met Marian, a gypsy pastor from the eastern part of Slovakia who, during a difficult life situation, experienced a powerful encounter with God which changed his life forever.
Prior to his conversion, Pastor Marian was strongly enslaved by gambling and other sins. In 1998 his wife suffered a severe illness and died within four months. He became a widower with five children. At that time he was unemployed and was struggling through his life, barely making a living. He tried to resolve a difficult life situation through alcohol with the aim of forgetting the cruel reality of life. To the alcohol problem was added insomnia and depression.
Aware of his responsibility to care for his five children, one evening he knelt on his knees and called to God, “What am I to do, God? If you really exist please get me out of this mess.” A few days later his nephew invited him to go with him to Switzerland to earn money for his family as a street musician.
One day, one of the street listeners invited Marian to a home group of Christians and for the first time he heard the living Word of God. That winter evening, he gave his life to Jesus Christ, receiving Him into his heart. Marian felt a tremendous love from these Christians; a kind of love he had never felt before. The next day it was very cold outside and Elizabeth, a Christian woman from Switzerland, offered them accommodation in her house. At that time Marian, his nephew and three others, had been sleeping in their car in the parking lot. Over the coming months Marian and Elizabeth grew closer and later married.
Marian decided in his heart to stay in a new country and bring his children to Switzerland, but God spoke to Elizabeth, "Take Marian back to Slovakia to serve Me and to preach the gospel." In the year 2000 Marian returned to Slovakia and, for the first time that summer, he invited 40 people to his house and began to share with them the Word of God.
Today, Marian is pastoring a growing gypsy church with more than 500 members and his congregation has established several other gypsy churches in the east of Slovakia.
During my last visit in January this year, I spent a wonderful time of fellowship with him and his assistant pastor, Rinaldo. They shared with me what God is doing in their church but also the challenges they face.
For several years, DPM Slovakia has been actively helping Pastor Marian to train ministers and future church leaders by providing them with Derek’s foundational Bible teaching and, in recent years, thousands of teaching letters and books by Derek were provided to them. Derek´s teaching powerfully impacts the lives of many young believers, strengthening their relationship with God and equipping them for ministry.
However, the greatest challenges amongst the Roma ethnic group are lack of education, unemployment, poverty and crime; it all passes from generation to generation as a great dark shadow. But, in spite of all these challenges, Pastor Marian and his team are tirelessly serving God and preparing the next generation of gypsy leaders to reach the entire gypsy community in Slovakia and beyond.
With Derek´s teaching we are reaching this unreached ethnic group which was bitterly persecuted and almost exterminated by the Nazis during the second world war. Today Pastor Marian is a living example and proof of God´s power hidden in the message of the cross. Derek´s teaching is a great blessing for him and other church leaders. As Pastor Marian says, “My congregation and I are being greatly blessed by Derek´s teaching, so please continue to stand with us and help us to reach a new generation with the Gospel. Only Jesus can break the generational curses of poverty, ignorance, hopelessness and darkness over the gypsy ethnic group.”
It is also exciting that we are hearing similar reports of revivals amongst the gypsy ethnic groups from other parts of Eastern Europe.
Our goal this year is to make Derek’s study materials available to church leaders all across Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Bulgaria and the other seven countries in Eastern Europe DPM is working in. It is amazing to see what God can do through the surrendered life of one believer like Marian. In God´s hands nothing is too small or unimportant. He can take just a few fishes and multiply them and feed thousands upon thousands. Could you help us to reach these spiritually hungry people all across Eastern Europe? The doors of opportunity are wide open right now and we have so much excellent Bible teaching, already translated, to share with the growing church here. Your gift of any amount will make a huge difference to help rescue many from despair and hopelessness and see them experience a new life like Marian did.
In my heart I hear the words of the Apostle Paul, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” For more than 2000 years the gospel has been preached throughout the world and, with the fall of communism, the harvest time in Eastern European has begun. Since the beginning of the new millennium we have been witnessing God move in a powerful way, saving thousands of Gypsies in Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and other countries where Derek Prince Ministries is active.
Your gift will enable us, this year, to print many more of Derek’s books in the ten languages we are working in; books like: “Foundations for Christian Living”; “Living as Salt and Light”; “Bought With Blood” and “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit” bringing lasting eternal change in the lives of many in Eastern Europe.
I invite you to partner with us, to pray and give, so we can continue to help pastors and believers across Eastern Europe.
On behalf of believers in Eastern Europe, I thank you and pray that God will meet all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus.
Branislav Čekan Warren Smith
DPM–EE Outreach Director Regional Director DPM-Asia/Pacific
38 Hawdon StreetChristchurch8140New Zealand
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