I met Ã¢â‚¬Å“TaraÃ¢â‚¬Â in the Dom tent when she was 12 years old. She asked me on our first meeting: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Do you pray?Ã¢â‚¬Â and I regarded her as one who took matters of faith seriously. Initially, there was resistance to any mention of the cross, but when she read about the story of JesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ death and resurrection, she said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“I want to become a disciple of Jesus.Ã¢â‚¬Â She has many questions, but we eagerly await the first fruit of faith after years of prayer and labor.Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ a workerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s account in the Middle East.
Tara is but one of three million Dom residing throughout the Middle East, in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine. Better known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Gypsies,Ã¢â‚¬Â the Dom people are originally from northern India. They speak Domari and the local language, such as Arabic.
For centuries the Domari have been socially excluded and prefer to hide their identity due to their bad reputation associated with begging or stealing. Being nomadic and poor, education is not easily accessible and there is high unemployment, although many Dom are talented blacksmiths and excellent musicians. Poor living conditions also cause widespread illness among them. Many gypsy cultures recognize the symbol of the wheel, which represents this nomadic lifestyle and, for some, the cycle of poverty in which they are trapped.
The Dom have adopted the major religion where they live and many are of Muslim background. However, this is intermingled with folklore and superstitions. New acts of love among this largely unreached group have started to open doors for the gospel.
PRAY FOR THEM
- The Dom have many physical needsÃ¢â‚¬â€for improved living conditions, healthcare, better education and job opportunities.
- Pray for more efforts to help the Dom thrive in the places they find themselves living.
- You may have noticed that we have featured the Dom two years in a row in the prayer guide! ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s due to the enthusiastic efforts of field workers who are working among them. Pray for these teams!