Newsletter for the Parks Family - CBF Global Missions Field Personnel among the Roma people in Slovakia.
"Praying With Our Feet" - Newsletter of the Parks Family in Slovakia

In this newsletter...

All About Kids - ideas for connecting children with our ministry
God At Work - how we're seeing daily signs that God is providing for our needs
About the Roma - ever wondered what a Gypsy flag might look like?
Upcoming Schedule and Prayer Requests
Financial Progress - Good news about one of our goals, and some ways you might be able to help with the other!

All About Kids

This past weekend we tried out a new idea during our visit to Franklin Baptist Church in Franklin, Virginia.  We want to tell you about it because we think some of you might be interested!

We have found that children can really connect with what we’re doing.  This is partly because we’ll be working with children, but it’s also because kids love to make personal connections with missionaries working around the world!  We also think it will be essential for our girls to stay connected with some of the friends they’ve made in places we’ve visited lately.  So…

We developed an event and a partnership with Franklin Baptist that is all about kids.  We tried out this Children's Group Event on Saturday, and had a lot of fun!  It’s designed to teach them about the Roma people, and to help them experience a bit of what it might be like to be a Roma child.  It also teaches about Slovakia, and helps them experience a bit of what it might be like to be a new missionary there!  The program included:
  • games,
  • learning activities,
  • discussion,
  • a craft,
  • music,
  • and even food!
We believe this could be adapted to fit all kinds of time requirements, group sizes, and spaces.  It’s also something we hope to develop in a way that anyone could facilitate it.  Here are some possible uses we’ve thought of:
  • Part of a VBS week
  • A series of regular children’s ministry meetings
  • A Saturday children’s ministry event
  • A single event or series of events for families to do together
We’re also in the process of developing a partnership with the children at Franklin, that would allow them to be Video Pen-Pals with our girls over the months and years ahead.  Our hope is that it will allow our girls to remain connected, and allow the children here some insights into what it’s like to make a big move, go to a new school, learn a new language, and so forth.

Finally, we've tossed around the idea of creating a VBS Packet of materials to send to churches who want to highlight our ministry as part of the VBS (or give their offering to our ministry).  The packet that might include a video, pictures and maybe a couple of ideas that would be a much more visual way to help the kids see what they're supporting.  

We’re really excited about all these possibilities, so we want to hear from you. If we could make these things available, would you make use of any of these - the Children's Group Event, the Video Pen-Pal idea, or the VBS Packet?  Please email us back and let us know!

God At Work: New Partners

In the past two months, we have made new contacts with many new partners – individuals and churches – and we’re excited about the network that God has built around this ministry among the Roma! 

And this is such an encouraging time.  For privacy reasons we can’t tell a lot of the stories, because they involve individual givers.  But we can affirm this:  EVERY DAY God is showing us that we are on the right journey. 

Here are some of the churches that have joined (or plan to join) our financial support team:

Ash Camp Baptist (Keysville, VA)
Crosscreek Baptist (Pelham, AL)
Fellowship Baptist (Fitzgerald, GA)
First Baptist of Fitzgerald, GA
First Baptist of London, KY
Friendship Sunday School Class of Heritage Baptist (Farmville, VA)
Kenbridge Baptist

As always, keep an eye on our blog (prayingwithfeet.wordpress.com) for updates on the churches we visit, and our progress toward our goals.

The Roma: The Romani Flag

Think for a moment of our U.S. flag.  What does it represent?  What does it mean to you?  Often, a nation’s flag can represent the physical space that it inhabits – the land that those people call home.  But flags are so much more – they remind us of our values, our culture and our shared history.

What about a people who don’t have a spot of land on the globe to call their own?  Can they have a flag, too?  Absolutely – in fact, for people like the Roma, a flag can take on special significance.

In 1971, at the first World Romani Congress in London, a flag was approved to represent the Roma people.  The Romani flag consists of two background colors: blue and green.  The blue represents the heavens and symbolizes eternal spiritual values.  The green represents the land, organic and growing.  The red 16 spoke wheel in the center is representative of their traveling tradition (and also recalls the flag of India).  The red is to honor the blood of fallen Roma.  

This flag unifies and identifies these scattered people in a very special way.  Consider making or printing out a copy of the flag to place somewhere in your house as a reminder to pray for the Roma!

Upcoming Schedule

April 1 - Blackstone Baptist Church, Blackstone, VA
April 11-14 - Much-needed getaway to NYC with precious friends (NYC was on our 'before we leave' list)
April 15-20 - Louisville, KY area
May 20 - Ash Camp Baptist Church, Keysville, VA
Late May/Early June - Family trip to Alabama

We'd love to see you if/when we are in your area.

Prayer Concerns

Join us in thanking God for meeting one of our two goals!
Pray for Kenbridge Baptist as we bring our ministry here to conclusion.
Pray for our faith to remain strong as we encourage partners to give courageously.
Pray for our colleagues who are also looking for financial partners.
Pray for the McNarys as they make preparations to move back to the U.S. for a year.
Keep praying for the Roma people in Slovakia, that God would raise up Roma leaders who can help their people rise out of the generational cycle of poverty and cynicism. 
   

Financial Progress

One reason this newsletter is later than usual is because we have been very busy making progress toward our fundraising goals!  Just a quick reminder of what those goals are:
  1. 3 Months of Yearly Budget In-Hand ($23,000)
  2. 100% of First Year’s Budget Committed ($92,300 promised to give)
Some of you have been asking us how these goals work.  In answer, we put a little video together that explains things visually – you can view the video by going to our website (prayingwithfeet.wordpress.com) and clicking on the GIVING tab.  If you have trouble viewing the video, email us and we’ll send you a direct link.

Since our last newsletter in January, we have REACHED and exceeded the first goal, plus extra money we are raising for first-year moving costs.  That’s over $40,000 that has been given to our ministry so far since about this time last year.  This means that we can get to the mission field.  God is good!

Now we’re working toward the second goal – the commitments that will allow us to stay on the mission field.  We’ve made significant progress in that area, too.  As of the time this newsletter is sent, we’ve raised 72% of this goal!  It’s so amazing to see how God is at work on our behalf, and we’re incredibly thankful to so many people who are making this possible!

What we need now are partners who can help provide that additional 28% of commitments.  Can you help in some way?
  • If you’ve thought about pledging but have not done so, now is a wonderful time to do it.
  • If you want to pledge, but you're afraid to make a commitment in difficult financial times, we completely understand!  Some people we've talked to were hoping to make larger commitments, and felt that a smaller contribution was not an option.  Think about this idea: Consider making a pledge at a very minimal amount now - what's a very basic amount you could give in a month or a year?  Make that pledge, then let it change as the circumstances permit.
  • If you know a person or a church that might be interested in what we’re doing, let us know – we’d love to make contact!

One Last Pic...


If you haven't been to Europe before, you might not know that European houses typically have TWO bathrooms - one for the toilet, and one for the bath/shower.

We'd Love to Hear from You


jparks@thefellowship.info


(434)676-2160

114 S. Grace Street
Kenbridge, VA  23944

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