A Christian Radio launches a new outreach to Serbia’s Roma.

By July 12, 2005

Serbia (MNN)–The Gypsies, known as the Roma, are one of the most despised people group in Eastern Europe. With the reputation of being a nomadic people, an estimated six million Roma are spread across Europe, with the majority living in former communist countries.

They were a relatively unreached people group until recently. About 10-15 years ago, the church began to reach out to them.

Due to decades of persecution, the Roma responded with caution. They were also difficult to reach. Tim Klingbeil says Trans World Radio’s Serbian staff has been planning to reach the Roma in their region by radio.

One obstacle has been that the dialects of the people groups are just different enough that two groups will not be able to understand each other.

Klingbeil explains that, “The current programs we do in Bulgaria and Romania are not appropriate for them. So, they have begun working with a Serbian church that adopted the Roma people and began working with them in their community.”

What’s exciting is that the national church caught the vision. They’re taking ownership of the project, says Klingbeil. “There are two Romani elders, who are very interested in helping to begin radio programs for their people.”

Several Christian stations began ministry a decade ago. Their main challenge so far, says Klingbeil, has been having virtually no programming to air, other than contemporary Christian English music. “Any programs that our partner is able to produce in the Albanian language are used by these stations and aired multiple times throughout the course of the week.”

That means taking the Gospel to the people groups in their heart language is an effort that will be and has been noticed. “So, they are seeing a wonderful response to programs like Thru the Bible, to In Touch, to Project Hannah’s program “Women of Hope,” the first program aired just for women in Albania.”

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