Many Romany/Gypsies live in areas that are isolated from the gospel and thus do not have a Christian presence. The Romany/Gypsy team seeks to establish a Christian witness utilizing mission personnel, volunteers, nationals and indigenous believers. In established areas, the team endeavors to empower that witness.
New Christian Gypsies in one Middle Eastern country are leading the way in humanitarian and spiritual efforts on behalf of their people. One young Gypsy man is sharing his faith daily. As most Gypsies, he is jobless, but uses any money he gets to buy audio cassettes and Bibles in Arabic. Another Christian Gypsy is striving to find resources to relieve the serious physical needs of her people.
Location: Middle East and North Africa.
Romany/Gypsies live in the countries around and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. The economy in North Africa has pushed them as far south as Sudan.
Religions: Nominal Islam
Languages: Arabic and one of several Gypsy dialects.
Population: 3-5 million people.
# of Christians: Exact figures for the Islamic world are not available.
"What a privilege it has been to get to know several Christian Gypsies in the Middle East. In the midst of social animosity and economic poverty they have come to know the esteem of God. All that they endure is surpassed by the hope they have in Christ." (Reported by our team members working in the Middle East that cannot be identified, but need your prayers.)
Scripture/Radio/Film Available: None available in Gypsy dialects, only Arabic.
Pray for the Gypsies in Lebanon, who "are usually scorned and/or feared by the Lebanese." This "outcasts of the outcasts" status is repeated throughout the Middle East and North Africa. In Iran, when nomads from the lowest social class were asked about Gypsies, they replied, "We have nothing to do with those thieves!" In Jordan, refugees who are also considered outcasts expressed contempt and distrust for the Gypsies. In Turkey and Iraq, Gypsies are found among the lowest level of the despised Kurds. Gypsies in Cyprus, lost their cherished freedom to roam and are relegated to a tin-hut community on the northern side of the island.
Prayer for the M.E. and N.A. Gypsies: Father, believing that the Gypsies are a part of the spiritual Israel which You are gathering from all the nations, we pray that the Gypsies of the Middle East and North Africa will come to realize their place in Your family. Amen.
"And I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have compassion on her who had not obtained compassion, And I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they will say, 'You are my God!'" Hosea 2:23 (NIV)
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