The Roma people are a minority group in Macedonia and are primarily Muslim. Today, though most Roma people live in the capital city, Skopje, around 15,000 live in Prilep, where twenty-five years ago, there were none. In 2009, the Roma people in Prilep tuned in to their first FM Christian radio program: The Voice of Truth. Today, Pastor Edijan and his team continue to create and produce this one-hour weekly program specifically for the Roma people of Prilep.
Pastor Edijan and his church are unable to reach out to all the Romas living in Prilep; however, The Voice of Truth reaches into the homes of those who would never consider entering a church. It breaks down barriers and introduces the Roma people to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Romas believe that their ethnic identity and their religious identity are connected. Therefore, when someone professes to be a Christian, the Roma people think this new Christian believer is no longer Roma. Therefore, Christian Romas face condemnation from others in their community.
In The Voice of Truth, Pastor Edijan presents Christianity in a culturally-appropriate manner and answers the common questions asked by the predominately Muslim listeners. They ask questions such as, “Why did Jesus die?” “Who offers eternal life?” “Do we have a purpose on earth?” “Is the Bible authentic?” The Voice of Truth programs answer these questions and discuss what it means to be a Christian and Roma. When listeners call or text in, the production team is able to speak with them about their specific questions and invite them to church.
Currently, the local Roma church has around 80 members and has a strong program for children and youth. Reaching out to the older generation has been challenging as they come from a strong Muslim background and are resistant to the gospel. However, Roma youth are more open and accepting of the gospel. They are active internet users and have been seeking out livestreams of church services and recorded sermons on YouTube.
Trajko is one of the youths who is open to the gospel. Another church member invited him to a special Christmas service when he was 15 years old. This was the first time Trajko had ever experienced a Christian gathering, and he loved the atmosphere! His parents banned him from returning to the church, but Trajko started listening to The Voice of Truth. He converted to Christianity and has faced opposition from his parents and friends as a result. He says, “I can go through all of this because I have truly accepted Christ. I have received heavenly peace and joy.” Today, Trajko serves at the church and works with the children and teens. He is praying for his parents and friends, that they will understand God’s truth soon.
One of The Voice of Truth team members tells us: “My main motivation for recording these programs is that I see the results of my effort. God works! Before I began to record the programs, I was an assistant to my pastor. At that time, I sometimes had the opportunity to be a guest on some local radio and TV stations. I saw that the radio could be a good tool for spreading the gospel. Later, the Muslims started their radio program. Currently that's one of the reasons why I do not want to stop producing and broadcasting programs. It is necessary that my people hear the truth and find hope and salvation that is not possible to find in the Muslim tradition. The topic that is the most debated is ‘Who is Jesus?’ We are happy for every fruit and all the results we can see.”
The work of the Roma church and The Voice of Truth programming are interconnected. Pastor Edijan and his church are able to reach out to their community with the love of Christ. Their community is able to tune in to The Voice of Truth to learn more about Jesus. This is especially important if they are not comfortable attending or unable to attend a church. The Voice of Truth reaches into the homes of those in Prilep who Pastor Edijan and his church are unable to reach directly, and it introduces the gospel to them.
Please join us in praying for the Roma people in Prilep, Macedonia, that they would hear and accept the truth of Christ. Pray also for Pastor Edijan as he pastors the Roma of Prilep and produces The Voice of Truth programming.