In 2013, Dr. Sharon Chan, president of the Great Commission Center International (GCCI) read three different articles by Melody J. Wachsmuth highlighting the Roma. The articles portrayed God’s movement among Roma communities in Europe in the context of their formidable challenges. Sharon’s heart was moved and she, along with the board and others associated with GCCI, began to think and pray about how the GCCI could mobilize Chinese Churches to serve in Roma communities. In September of 2013, a prayer meeting was held in Hong Kong involving around 30 church pastors and mission leaders regarding the Roma. Many began to feel a burden for the Roma and committed to begin praying and trying to direct financial resources to Roma ministries.
Later that year, GCCI’s founder, Dr. Thomas Wang, Sharon, and a small group took an exploratory trip through Serbia, visiting Roma communities and meeting Roma Christians. At that time, they decided to host a conference that would offer a platform to connect Roma leaders and ministries throughout Europe as well as raise awareness about the Roma in other European churches and mission organizations.
In late September of 2014, GCCI hosted “Roma for the Nations,” a five-day conference in Budapest, Hungary. Around 160 representatives, including 100 Roma leaders, attended from 16 different countries. The conference served as a needed and vital connecting point for people to be exposed to what was happening at a regional level. Unanimously, the participants expressed desire for another conference, and a committee of six was elected from six different countries to carry forward the movement.
To read the complete story, click HERE for a 2016 article from Evangelical Mission Quarterly.