Dearest Friends,

Marika’s Story

Marika is a beautiful little Gypsy girl with dark hair and big brown eyes. She loves to sing Christian songs. This Christmas she stayed with a kind Christian lady named Maria, an older lady, who has devoted herself to sharing with Gypsy children.

Marika lives in downtown Kosice in a horrific place. Her home is like the home of many of the children that we are sharing with. From the street ,you walk down a long passageway that was built several hundred years ago, to a group of small appartments. These are not apartments as you would think of them, the smell of decay is everywhere. She lives in a single room 4 meters by 3 meters with her mother, father and her 4 brothers and sisters. They have no bathroom, no running water, no hope that life will ever improve. Her other 7 brothers and sisters live in an orhpanage. There is no gas for cooking and heat.

Just steps away, Kosice sparkles with shops full of beautiful things. People walk past the passageway that leads to Marika’s dirty, smelly world and never even know it exists. That is the big problem. Most people in Slovakia do not even know that these children exist. They walk past them on the street, but do not see them. If they do see them, curses and insults usually follow.

Even Christians struggle to minister to the Gypsy children. One Pastor complained about the Gypsy children that come to his church. A Christian brother challenged him to go and see where the Gypsy children live so that he could better understand them, but the Pastor refused. Before we condemn this man, I beg all of us to examine our own hearts. Who do we not see? Who do we refuse to love? Please pray for Marika and her family. Please pray for all of us that we might love the Gypsy children well. Please ask to help us all see as He sees.

Children At A Shelter

We did a puppet show tonight at a shelter for homeless families. We talked about hope, love, and peace… All of the things that people hunger to find. We told them about Jesus, how he healed people and how He walked on water. The children listened spellbound. It was one of those wonderful shows, where you see God’s Spirit moving in a powerful way. When we led the children in a prayer to recieve Jesus as Savior, they prayed with enthusiasm. They wanted to know Jesus and called on Him in loud, clear voices. It was awesome! Heather was so excited! She thanked me for bringing her to Slovakia and gave me a big hug. Please pray for these children to grow strong in their faith!
Ironically, we were not even supposed to be at the shelter tonight. The children at the orphanage where we had planned to got the flu and so they would not let us come. God had another plan.

Alena’s Story

Alena ,a young woman in her twenties, lives at the same shelter. After the show tonight, she came and asked if I would pray for her. Her story broke my heart. Her father sexually abused her. Her mother murdered her brother and she is haunted by nightmares about his death. She wanted me to ask God to take away her bad dreams. I shared my own testimony with her, talking about the child sexual abuse I had experienced from a kindergarden teacher. I told her how Jesus healed my heart and promised her that He could heal her heart. We shared about how Jesus gives people a new way of looking at things and redeems even the terrible things with His wonderful love. I talked with her about the deep hurts that we all carry, telling her how God was even now healing my own broken heart. She listened carefully. Finally, I told her that God could take away her nightmares only if she trusted in Jesus as her Savior. I asked her if she would like to pray with us and ask Jesus to be her Savior. Her answer was immediate. "Ano," she said. Dodo, our translator, and I led her in prayer and she became our sister in Christ. She was so happy! We are picking her up for church on Sunday. Please pray for Alena to become a bright light for Jesus.

In Jesus,

Linda for

Sam Shaw – Assistant Director
Heather Kelley
Mykala Kelley
Jon Bova
JT Linville