(From Part 1 of My Discovery…) Children from eight villages and towns attend this school and have to take the bus or walk for over two hours to get there. Then it was explained to me that many of the children in this area do not speak the Bulgarian language at home and if they don’t learn proper Bulgarian in kindergarten they may not attend school. You might be thinking: “Serenity! That makes perfect sense; they need to learn the state language!” And you are right, but remember the kindergarten I mentioned earlier? That is where these children learn their Bulgarian. Before they attend kindergarten, they don’t speak one word of the language and that kindergarten is one of the few left in that area. Many have been closing due to financial issues. That means that there are a ton of Roma children in Bulgaria that don’t get the opportunity to attend schools and there are scarcely any churches in this area either. So these children whose parents usually give birth to their first child at the age of eleven are neglected and left to fend for themselves without any hope for a bright future.
I saw this same problem escalated as we visited the hospital the next day, where we were told to make sure we kept a 12-foot distance from the building, as roof tiles and bricks might fall from the structure. Later, we visited the slums outside of the city where the huts, sometimes even smaller than the average American walk-in closet, were inhabited by eight to ten people. During our distribution in this community, the tension grew very swiftly as many parents were worried that their children would not get a gift, and soon became hostile–yelling and screaming in different dialects and languages. The order came: “Head back, now!” As we drove off in our truck still filled with gifts that had been meant for these children, we watched as they waved goodbye, some with gifts and others with empty hands chasing the truck. The one face I will never forget was a 14-year-old mother (approximate age) standing next to her two-year-old daughter tracing the flow of tears with her finger while pointing at her daughter, trying to show me that her daughter had been forgotten.
The greed, anger and stubbornness of their parents had prevented them from receiving the gift along with a booklet of the gospel and the salvation story. I was shocked, scared and I am ashamed to say that I was even a bit angry with God for letting such things happen.
Later the missionaries explained that the last time they had visited that community, it had been smaller and more peaceful, but that was a mild example of the sad reality of these communities.
Serenity Sudbrock, MK to Germany
(be sure to watch for the rest of Serenity’s experience in Part 3!)