Where men no longer beat their wives
A c o s – Among many of the Roma women in Romania, a spiritual awakening is taking place. This has changed their lives in every way, according to the report from the treasurer of the European Baptist Women’s Union, Elisabeth Vekas (Satu Mare), who is currently living in Romania. In the run-up to this Conference for Women, they told two board members of the Women’s Ministry of the German Union of Evangelical Free Churches how numerous Roma women had been baptised. Their lives had visibly changed from that moment. Even the men had been transformed. They now no longer beat their wives. Stealing, deception, and racketeering belong to the past. “They are now seeking to guide their lives by God’s commands,” commented Elisabeth Vekas. Along with others working with the Romanian Women’s Union, she also instructs Roma women in the basic questions of hygiene – for example, that it is important to wash regularly in order to prevent disease.
Two Germans, Elisabeth Kapsreiter (Passau), chairman of the Women’s Ministry, and board member Gisela Bullermann (Bielefeld) had traveled to Romania in order to familiarize themselves with the work. Since 2004, the German Women’s Ministry has supported their partner-organization in Romania, so that this Women’s Conference might take place. Now they would like to take part in this Conference personally and get to know the land and the people. The meeting this year was organised under the motto “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36), and drew over 300 participants. By car, bus, or even horse and cart, some travelled from towns up to 100 kilometres away for the meeting.
More than ten sermons were preached on that day. The singing displayed deep devotion, as the visitors remarked: “It was like a flight to heaven and back.” The two German women also preached the word of God. Gisela Bullermann encouraged the women to bring their requests earnestly to God in prayer. Elisabeth Kapsreiter spoke about freedom in Jesus Christ, freedom that his followers can already experience here on earth. Christians no longer belong to “the prince of this world”, but to God’s family. For each woman, the two visitors had brought a thank-you card, on which a chocolate heart had been pasted. The women were not familiar with such cards, and it was necessary to explain to them that the hearts were made of chocolate, Elisabeth Kapsreiter told the EBPS. This just served to increase the women’s joy. According to estimates, 2.5 percent of the 21.5 million Romanians are Roma. They are socially and economically worse off than all other populations.
In addition, the German women have supported a camp for the deaf in Romania since 2008. To their astonishment, they heard that this summer 19 of the 109 participants had come to faith in Jesus Christ. Both guests were deeply moved by the experience: “We, as the German Women’s Ministry, will continue to have a responsibility here in the future.”