In light of those two cases it is not surprising that negative stereotyping of Roma is rife. How I wish I could take a Daily Mail and/or a BBC journalist to Cluj where a Dutch pastor and his wife have sacrificed their lives for the last 18 years or so for the Roma families forced to live and forage in the trash belt of this second city of Romania.
I have just returned from a third mission trip there with my Hague-based church and the changes we witness year-on-year are heartwarming and faith-affirming: more children going to school; grudging acceptance and assistance from the city; lives changed and submitted to Christ.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed in the face of so much need but, as always, comfort can be found in the Bible:
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”. Matt 25:40
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8