In 2005 Johan moved with his familty from the Netherlands to the Czech Republic to work among the Roma gypsies. Life was not easy, but the familiy persevered. Johan found out that the Roma people were discriminated and very poor. “It hurt me to see them following the god of money, instead of following God. I broke down in tears. The family was shocked by my emotional outburst. This was a turning point. The man wanted to become a follower of Jesus.” Now, Johan is helping the house churches that have started to reproduce by training leaders to teach others.
In 2005 Johan moved with his family from the Netherlands to the Czech Republic, because they felt Jesus wanted them there. It wasn’t an easy move. They needed two years to get acquainted to the culture, learn the basics of the Czech language and find a place to live. It was also a time to rethink what it means to be a Christian. Not long after they moved into their Czech house, Johan met a Roma man on the road who invited him into his house for a coffee. Johan soon discovered that his family was very poor, so he decided to come by every week and bring them extra chicken eggs. “It was a slow process of getting to know each other,” says Johan. “The man, who was the head of his family, told me about the blatant racism Roma people face in the Czech Republic. It hurt me and I decided to simply love them. As time progressed, we started to speak about the Gospel of Jesus. I am not a missionary, I work as a computer programmer, but I shared my heart as well as I could in this foreign language. At some point I broke down in tears, I felt a deep sadness. We spoke a lot, but they still continued honoring another god - money. It hurt me and I was getting desperate, since I could not give them a desire to open their hearts for God, let alone the lordship of Jesus. The family was shocked about my emotional outburst, but somehow it was a turning point.
A few months later this man said he wanted to become a follower of Jesus. It was the beginning of a spiritual awakening in this household. Another few months later he was baptized. A Dutch evangelist, Peter Scheele, once said: “If you’ve never wept about the fate of the people you want to reach, you are not a good worker.” What are you doing then? You should stop doing what you do and learn to see people through Jesus’ eyes, to become really compassionate about them (Math 20:34). Only then will you obtain a good attitude to talk with them, for you will love them as Jesus loves them.” This was also Johan’s experience. “Through this Roma man I came into contact with other Roma families. The poverty, the relational problems, the ignorance about vital things, the consequences of their sin, it all hurt me. The need for repentance becomes more and more clear in this sort of environment. There’s a sharp contrast between sin and obedience to God.”
Johan said he made several beginners’ mistakes. He provided the Roma with Bibles, but most of them can’t read and camouflage their disability. “I soon discovered that Roma don’t learn by reading, but by telling stories and parables. So we got hold of audio recordings of the Old and New Testament. I was truly amazed by the way people responded to the words of God, read to them on CD and DVD. It turned out to be a true blessing. Currently, Roma people are playing this material over and over again, to memorize the words of God. And it works! Faith comes by hearing… We now see new life springing up (Mark 4:26-29). “ Next, Johan’s focus is to help the indigenous house churches reproduce and develop the character of a movement. He is developing structured lessons for Roma who will teach others about the foundations of faith. “They have a better understanding of family and relationships then we whites do,” says Johan. “The Roma don’t need people who want to do projects and then leave. They have seen enough of that. What they need are people who are dedicated to ‘love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength’ (Mark 12:30).”
Source: Joel News (Johans real name is known to Joel News, but withheld to protect this pioneering work in the early stages of development)