Keith Holmes & Mary Van Rheenen
Keith Holmes and Mary van Rheenen, a husband and wife team living in the Netherlands, dub Christian films, children’s videos, and audio recordings of scripture in major Romany languages. Through their work as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, Romany adults and children are learning, many for the first time, about Bible characters such as Ruth, David, Luke and Peter.
The Romany people, often referred to as gypsies, have more than 20 different languages and dialects. With an oral rather than a written culture, Romany often must rely on what they hear about Jesus. As a minority, they face discrimination not only socially but by government systems as well. The discrimination extends even into churches.
They are also involved Romany outreach in Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. Projects there include translation, education and micro-economic development.
“Faith takes the long view," said van Rheenen. "We sometimes don’t know the impact our work is having. [But] we establish relationships, see what projects are appropriate, and work with our partners – Wycliffe Bible Translators, our partnering Romany churches and our CBF team members – to make them aware of possibilities."
• 2011 December/2012 January: Use your business skills to help create jobs in Moldova
• Video: Scripture Translation in Europe