Right place, right time

15 Jun, 2017 | Kosovo
OM International
Since most Kosovar homes are heated by wood in the winter, chopping wood is a life survival skill
The team in Kosovo works closely with the Social Services for several of their ministries, such as giving food and firewood packages to the most needy during the cold winter months. During their wood deliveries, the team arrived at a big abandoned, two-story building that had no doors or windows. The floors were two feet deep in rubbish, and the stairs were so broken that they were barely useable. Team leader Miguel* commented, “In the six years I’ve been here, this is the worst living condition I have seen.”

On that cold day, the team found two Roma families living in the building, one of whom they were there to see, but the other they hadn’t known about. Of that second family, the first person they saw was a man named Dutch*. His family consisted of six people; mother, father, four kids and one on the way. They had made a makeshift door out of an old dirty mattress, covered the windows with blankets and plastic, covered the floor with old mattresses and blankets, and they had a small wooden stove to heat the room with.

Miguel talked to Dutch, the man of the “house," who said he had been out of work for years and that his wife was on the streets begging for money while he looked after the kids during the day. He said the Social Services would not recognise him or his family, because they had moved to this city from another and they did not have the correct paperwork.

“Standing there, knee deep in rubbish, listening to him talk about his home and his children, brought tears to my eyes,” Miguel remembers. All six of them lived in one room, the littlest had been sick, and they were worried that the mum might lose the baby she was still carrying, after hearing that the small baby of another friend had died due to the cold winter air.

Dutch then took the OMers to another part of the building to meet with Besnik*, who they were officially there to see. While talking to him they found it was a similar situation to Dutch’s family. Besnik had a family of five: mother, father, and three children - all living in one room with the doors and windows sealed off with whatever they could find, with a small wooden stove in the corner.

Besnik had been out of work, and the mother begged on the streets with one of their small children for money. “As we stood there talking to him, the mattress covering the door to the hallway fell partway, and we could hear the children inside exclaiming about the cold coming into the room.” Miguel said.

The team had not gone there to give wood to Dutch’s family, but since God had blessed the team with extra funding for their Christmas giveaways, they could financially bless this second family with their own gift of wood.

“Seeing the dirty, smiling faces of the families when we came back to deliver it later -  that day was unforgettable.” Miguel said smiling. Besnik asked them why they were giving the wood away, when he could give them nothing in return; Miguel told them that it is not the team who was giving them these gifts, but the God who created us, because he loves us so much.

Please pray for these two desperate families, that the men can find jobs to support them. Pray that the families will understand something of God’s great love for them, and may get to meet believers from within the Roma community. Pray too for wisdom for the OM team and other NGOs as they interact with local government on behalf of these needy people. 

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