Early Life as a Gypsy
My late wife Dolly (of over 45 years) and I are fourth generation Gypsies here in the U S. Our ancestors came from different parts of Europe after the turn of the century. We were raised in typical Gypsy homes. Dolly and I were married in 1971. Our marriage was prearranged by our parents. For the first nine years of marriage Dolly ran a fortune telling parlor in the fall and winter months, and I was a con man in a traveling carnival during the spring and summer.
I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour the first week of October 1980. After nine years of marriage, operating a fairly successful family business since age 17, and the birth of our fourth child, I had become disillusioned and disenchanted with life as I was living it. Caught up in the world of materialism, I knew there had to be something better. I had a sense of emptiness, a void I could not fill. I knew I was incomplete, undone, and without a personal relationship with my Creator. A business acquaintance of mine had been telling me about the Lord since early spring of 1980. He told me that I needed Jesus and needed to be born again. Something inside of me was in complete agreement. I knew that Jesus was what I’d been looking for-the answer to my void and emptiness. Soon after, I knelt down in my bedroom and prayed to receive Christ. My wife, Dolly saw such a dramatic change in my life that she began to question me about what had made me so different. I told her that I had been saved and that Jesus changed my life. She too wanted to know more about the Saviour and received Christ as well. After we were saved we knew that we had to change our lifestyle. We took a chain saw to our fortune telling sign and eventually sold our carnival business and joined a good Independent Baptist church in southwest Ohio.
Christian Service and Call
From the very first day I was saved, I wanted to serve the Lord to show Him how much I loved Him and how much I appreciated what He had done for me. I witnessed, studied my Bible, and prayed, trying to please my Lord. It wasn’t long before I felt a tugging upon my heart to preach the Gospel and do something for Christ. I felt I needed to be faithful to what I knew God wanted me to do-faithful to the church services, soul-winning visitation, and to my Pastor. By the winter of 1985 the call was not answered and God’s voice was louder than ever. After a church service one evening that winter, I went forward and surrendered myself to full-time Christian service and whatever God would have me to do.
Early Ministry and Call to Missions
After being trained by my local church pastor I became his youth director in the spring of 1987. Almost exactly one year after that, God called me to be the Associate Pastor of that same church. Totally content in what I was doing as, with many opportunities to preach in our church and school chapels. God called again. This time it was not so easy to answer for God was calling us away to the mission field to reach to “…mine own kinsmen according to the flesh…” -GYPSIES. On August 6, 1989, my family and I surrendered our lives to answer God’s call to the mission field. After deputation we started the Gypsy Outreach Ministry at Cleveland Baptist church in 1990.
Since 2003 we have been serving in Eastern Europe among the Gypsies of Hungary and Romania. We have seen souls saved and baptized. We have also established the Eastern European Gypsy Baptist Institute to train nationals and a MANNA feeding center to feed poor hungry Gypsy children. I am currently president of Roma Outreach Missions Association, located at Bible Baptist church in Bradenton, FL. R.O.M.A. is an organization helping not only to reach the Gypsies of the world but also other misplaced and marginalized people. Since Last October I am now working with the Roma of St. Petersburg and surrounding areas. We meet for worship and Bible study every Tuesday evening but soon will be adding Sunday services.
This year God brought a precious lady into my life. Simone and I have been married since August 2019. She has a gospel singing ministry and together we are serving Christ in the ministries God has called us to.