Excerpt from Chapter 5: Roma Trouble

Elder Nelson and elder Penev were invited to visit a Rom family this Friday. They had met one of their younger sons, Yashar, at the bus station. They were waiting for the bus together. The youngster showed big interest in the Church, he even knew where the building was, but hadn’t gone inside. He had invited the missionaries to visit him in his neighbourhood, Stolipinovo. He promised to give them a ride on a horse carriage.

The elders arrived on the agreed hour at the address and found Yashar, his older brother Asan, and their father fussing around a carriage with a harnessed horse on the street in front of their house. They greeted each other, got introduced to the older son and father, and then the Roma asked the missionaries to help them with a very important and urgent job they had to complete and later they would go to the house and talk. The missionaries looked at each other and elder Nelson asked his companion to get on the carriage. Elder Penev frowned, looked at the means of transport, but obeyed.

Everyone sat down in the carriage and they went. The horse’s beautiful mane was blowing in the wind. They were struck with the smell, characteristic of the animal.

“Walk!” lively called out the father to the horse. “Come on, boys, we have some metal pipes to transport and then we are going back!”

The missionaries looked more than strange, dressed in suits and ties, sitting in the Rom carriage, going through the streets of Plovdiv. Passers-by were turning back to look at them and were amazed by the sight.

“The country is getting very bad, eh!” shouted an old man. “If the bosses are riding in horse carriages, we are doomed.”

Not long after, the strange group arrived at the destination. They stopped the carriage in front of a warehouse for building materials and the father nervously asked: “Erm, Asan, did you take the key?” Without waiting for an answer he said: “Ah, you forgot it again at home! You are very stupid, son, you’re good for nothing!”

After saying that, the father got off the carriage and skilfully broke the lock of the warehouse with a metal rod. The missionaries’ jaws dropped and they were just looking at what was happening. A slight doubt that something was wrong passed through the mind of elder Nelson.