Sharing Hope

Euro-Africa Division Bulgarian Women Minister to Gypsies


Gypsy literacy classes in Rosino, Bulgaria

SDA Church in Bulgaria
Churches: 118
Membership: 7,622
Population: 7,621,000

The ministry for gypsy women and young people from the village of Rosino, Bulgaria, is growing fast. The population in Rosino is 5,500, but the gypsy neighborhood has more than 2,000 people.

The literacy program started months ago. There was a need and through this project relationships are built in the community and bring people to get to know Jesus.
Many illiterate young people joined the classes. A 20-year-old girl came who had never gone to school because she had had to take care of her small sister. She was a girl with a childlike faith in God but could not read or nurture herself spiritually.

After the literacy classes, seminars were given to the married women about different topics such as "How to avoid getting pregnant" since they have many children and are often forced to have abortions. The women asked many questions about sexuality and personal hygiene.

The women also talked about domestic violence. Many gypsy women are victims of abuse. They are often controlled and mistreated by their drunk husbands. You can see fear, worry, and tiredness in their faces. If they go home late, they are especially scared knowing what will happen when they arrive.

The ministry has been growing as more and more women attend. "I have been praying for more than a year to have a building with more space to invite more people; a place where we can all get together for worship services: women, men and children and grow in Christ," says Antoneta Benova, who is responsible for the Gipsy Literacy program. "There is a calling for all of us, a calling to light the world with hope, faith, and love. I am following my calling. God is the light. If we keep ourselves within His light, we will shine for Him wherever we are."

Source: EUD WM