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  • Beth Lantinga

A Gypsy Story

Our Sunday included a visit to the gypsy church in the village of Nagydobrony. We were carrying a bell to present to the congregation for their small church tower. When the service was over, a small group of women gathered around us, and I said that we had heard a most beautiful story from Barbara Carville, the woman who had been instrumental in acquiring the bell. A young woman standing nearby listened carefully to Janos’s translation, smiled shyly and said that she was that woman.

Here is the story in Barbara’s words.

“A gypsy women stood up and talked about her people. She said that gypsies are the garbage of humanity, they feel like garbage, they live off the garbage, and sometimes they even act like garbage. And then she told her story: About three weeks ago, she had gone through some garbage and found a glass. A dirty, ugly glass. She took it home and cleaned and polished it. And it sparkled like new and was beautiful and radiant. And, she proceeded, this glass is me, is us, the gypsies, Jesus Christ has found us on the garbage heap and cleaned us and polished us and now we are radiant through his love. Her faith was such a powerful testimony to the presence of God among them.

On the long way home to Budapest we brainstormed with Janos: I felt the gypsies had given us such a powerful gift that I needed to give something back. Finally, we thought of a church bell - in Europe churches without bells are not really churches yet. So, when I came back to Grand Rapids and did a bit of fundraising - the easiest fundraising I had done in my whole life, and in three weeks I had the 600 dollars together needed for a small bell.”

We were able to bring the bell to their church, but I left with the testimony of her faith in my heart.


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