Evicted at Gunpoint in Ibiza's Forgotten City: Pray for Sa PeñaLydie Hampson - 3 Jun 2016
We love Lydie and Danny Hampson, an incredible couple who packed up their lives in the UK to become part of 24-7 Prayer's work in Ibiza. They're pioneering a challenging mission to serve the Roma community, and devoting their lives to prayer, mission and justice.
“Suddenly, God opened everything up. Where doors had been slowly opening, He blew them off their hinges!"
It’s been just over 2 years since my family moved to Ibiza, following God’s lead to come to pray for an ostracised group of Romani Gypsies.
It’s been two years of daily prayer walking, researching Romani culture, history & values; two years of wondering if God really did want us to ‘just’ pray; two years of fielding questions about whether or not prayer is enough; two years of learning how God really feels about these people, and how he feels about us.
Then, two years in, suddenly God opened everything up. Where doors had been slowly opening, He blew them off their hinges! And He did it in one night.
The Roma here are treated as substandard, subhuman and not deserving of respect or basic human rights. For some reason, many people think it’s acceptable to be racist about ‘gypsies’. Here in Ibiza, people feel justified in holding on to their stereotypes without actually knowing any Roma to discover if their judgements are correct.
A big part of our journey has been challenging those stereotypes: unearthing truth about these people and being something of a bridge between two disconnected communities. Sa Peña, the area the Roma live in, is known as ‘The Forgotten City’. It’s hard to find and easy to forget about.
But on that night, my husband Danny was out on a late prayer walk & bumped into a Roma friend. This friend introduced him to an important man in the Roma community. God opened up deep conversation & immediate friendship. From 2 years of being on the outside, that night God drew us into the heart of the Roma: and all in His perfect timing.
Just 2 weeks later, a third of the Roma here were forcibly evicted, at gunpoint, from their homes.
They’ve lived here since the 1970s, but the land they live on is real estate gold. And here, money talks. So the Roma community have been evicted because the land is wanted to create more luxury homes.
They haven’t been rehoused; families have been turned onto the streets. Little children (my 5 year old daughter’s friends) have nowhere safe to call home. Now, their homes have been bricked up to ensure they can’t return, and €27,000 has been spent to build a wall around the evicted homes, just to ensure the families can’t return.
When have walls ever been helpful? When have they ever encouraged inclusion?
Yet, through all the horror and indignity of these past few weeks, we’ve been able to share the gospel with people, speak truth into situations, and align ourselves with the poor and outcast as Jesus did.
So please pray with us for justice for the Roma: Pray for finances and homes for our friends and that they can be rehoused as a community, respecting their culture and wishes. Please pray that they will experience the life-changing love of God, and discover that it’s not prayer that works, but Jesus.