Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe

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Learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression… also to the Roma people? [blog]

Roma Baptist Church, Lom, Bulgaria

There are up to 15 million Roma people living in Europe today, but very few Evangelical missionaries among them. Some believe that they originated in India and over a thousand years ago migrated to Europe in numerous waves, not necessarily because they were settlers, but because they were persecuted and searching for freedom. The ordeal of the Roma over the last thousand years – enslavement, persecution and banishment – are essential parts of their day-to-day life since their arrival to Europe. They have been excluded from ordinary society throughout Europe up until the present day. Even today they are largely marginalized economically, educationally, ethnically, medically, even in their citizen’s rights to vote and run for political office. It is a life of “accumulated misery.” Most of the Roma do not even have personal identity cards or birth certificates and, hence, they are not citizens of any country. A rather small percentage of the Roma have received proper education and jobs, and they are considered to be the elite. What is normal, everyday life for the non-Roma is considered elitist when it comes to this people group.

Ministry among Roma peoples is a vital part of the ministries of TWR National Partners in the region: Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, Hungary, and also in Romania for the last several years. In some cases, our programs for Roma have helped in the founding of new local churches (Bulgaria), and in others, programs are aired freely on local FM stations (southern Serbia).

We are trying to develop various Roma ministries not only because we have a biblical mandate to spread the Good news, but also because it is a genuinely felt need by our Partner organizations that are producing these programs, and often it is connected to the needs of the local churches. Interestingly, all of the projects in various dialects and in different countries that have developed over the years have done so independently of each other. Perhaps now the time has come for a more unified approach, especially because of the EU focus on the Decade of Roma Inclusion 2005-2015.

Let us pray to the Lord of the Harvest for this beautiful and joyful nation with no passports, state, written history, unified language or world renowned culture that constantly endures all the hardships of life as today’s Samaritans. And then, one day, at the Great Banquet, where there is still plenty of room and the Master is calling also for ‘the poor and crippled and blind and lame’ (Luke 14:21), we all will be joining in the song of the Lamb.

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Is there a need for a classical PR today? No. [blog]

morning newspapers... really

This is the age of hyper-transparency. You are either on Internet or non-existent. I am not sure if there are libraries that still use the printed cards for indexing books? Even your garden does not exist unless it is in one of your FB or Flickr galleries. And then, there is the whole issue of privacy – or of the non-existence of privacy…

When did you write your last real letter?

So, who are the good, old PR specialists now? Most of the companies, and I think all of the politicians, nowadays increasingly also the non-government and non-profit organizations, are questioning communications as a function – as they are misusing it in all ways possible. They have changed its function, from a critical interface between the audience and the organization/group or so – to a hyper transparency. A meaningful, content rich communication is disappearing. From a brochure to booklet to letter to E-mail to shorter E-mail to tweet/short message. More is less.

Reason, partly, is also because of the PR nature of work. When the media, and the politics, and others, started to misuse communication, becoming spin-doctors and propaganda advisors, driving more and more influence and subsequently revenue, the days for a classical PR were numbered, weighted and scaled.

This model was in Mission Impossible - now already forgotten

It is the end of Public relations. There is no more top-to-down communication, it is going to p2p (peer-to-peer) model every single day. PR is now in social media, PR magi are kids with good ideas how to stand out from the crowd. Less is more.

Just face it: internet – social media – mobile as a channel, nothing of that existed when the best PR books were written. No one needs PR now.

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One Photo from Asia [blog]

I was recently in Asia and took some nice photos there. This portrait I would like to share with you. He is a Bible school graduate and at present an intern in a small village church helping pastor with what ever the need is. Our Brother is radiating Hope and helping people in their life struggles. He is looking into serving the Lord all his life.

A new generation of leaders is coming, are we making space for them?

Bible school graduate - now local church intern in Asia

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Global Christian Media Conference is needed [blog]

Do you also think that it would be good to exchange the best practices and expertise in the field of Christians using digital media? As I walked recently on the streets of Singapore I saw a great number of people using their smart phones, tablets, players – and some other gadgets/devices I think I do not even know what they are. But the Gen Y does. Certainly, the Internet is the backbone of all the buzz and traffic, and it appears to be all over South East Asia. Hundreds of millions of Internet users, then again hundreds of millions of phone owners are constantly looking for quality content on-line. TWR and its Partners produce such materials on a daily basis, and in increasing numbers.

Recently discontinued UniWave Di-Wave 100 DRM radio receiver

What is a digital media platform for a Christian media ministry, one might ask? It is any unit, gadget or device that provides a person with a Gospel message in a digital form – from a phone to a PC desktop. The baby-boomers (born in 60-ies and 70-ies of 20th century) need Gen Y born and raised with Internet to understand better all the opportunities. “Information flow is what the Internet is about. Information sharing is power,” says Vint Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet in the latest Forbes Asia magazine. Later he adds: “That is what the Internet was designed for; it’s what it does best.” Clearly, when we put more information on the web it will reach a larger number of people, and such activities are not limited to a web only. ‘An SMS from Jesus,’ ‘Counseling SMS in Philippines,’ downloading programs from the Internet, sharing the Gospel message via SD memory card, utilizing DRM radio in the near future on almost abandoned and forgotten short wave frequency range, Megavoice devices with pre-recorded messages, streaming on-line and on demand, downloadable books and essays, not to even mention social media and networks alike Twitter and Facebook – are already a daily portion of our work and mission. Why not addressing such issues in an organized and structured way? Discuss the new job descriptions and admit that we do not know enough by ourselves alone.

The time is ripe for the international media ministries involved in digital platforms and delivery to meet and talk together. But, who is to convene it?