Mission Bulgaria Week 23

January 27, 2002 by  
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NEWS – Week 23 – January 21-27, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA

The pope will also visit Bulgaria in May, a week after he turns 82. That trip will be part of his efforts to improve relations with Orthodox Christians, a visit the Vatican hopes will pave the way for a hoped-for trip to Russia. Church officials are also discussing possible trips this year to Belarus and Croatia and a possible stop in the summer in John Paul’s native Poland. Italian press reports suggested that the pope has expressed a desire to visit Ground Zero, the site of the September 11 terrorist attack against the World Trade Center in New York. The Vatican, however, said such a stop was not under consideration.

On Sunday, the Bulgarian Church of God called its ordained ministers in Sofia city and the area. More than 30 churches were represented by their pastors and deacons. Seven of them are newly started. A total membership of 4, 594 was reported for the churches from the denomination in the Sofia area which has an approximate population of 1,5 million people. Compared to the past 5 years, the membership in the Sofia area has doubled and it now represents almost 27% of the membership of the Bulgarian Church of God nationwide. Only 4 of these churches have their own building, while the rest are renting auditoriums in all regions of the city. A decision was taken to begin crusade meetings on Saturday afternoon for evangelization purposes.

Mission Bulgaria Week 22

January 20, 2002 by  
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NEWS – Week 22 – January 13-20, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA

Greetings form Bulgaria:

Just wanted to report with a great joy a few new developments in the ministry here in Sofia. On Mondays we have a home group that meats in a suburb of Sofia and studies Pentecostal events and practices in the Bible. On Tuesday we started an English speaking service for foreign students and immigrants who go to our church, but needed some special pastoral care in a language they could understand without any problems.

After finishing the expository series on the book of Revelations, I started a new one on Galatians on Wednesday. The series contain 6 lessons, one on each chapter.

On Thursday nights as well as Sunday afternoons, I have been traveling to the town of Pravetz, where I am now pastoring the local church since the leave of the pastor last December. Pravetz has been on my heart as the town where I preached my first sermon and received my first assignment with the Church of God as a youth pastor in 1990-1993. The church experienced revival in the spring of 1991 and more than 200 young people were saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately after 1995 the revival quieted down as many of the students graduated and left town.

This past Sunday Pastor Pavel Ignatov and myself traveled to Pravetz together for a coordinating meeting with pastors and members from the area. In the small upper room 64 were present not only from Pravetz but also from the towns of Botevegrad, Yablanitza, Etropole and I brought a short message on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, after which we had prayer for healing. People were coming to the front crying and kneeling wherever they found a place to receive prayer by the pastors. There was hardly any room to walk around the pulpit, as God poured out His Spirit and many were touched.

The Sunday School Pilot program is also continuing and increasing its influence. We have reached the number of 15 thematic Bible lessons, as more than 28,000 individual copies have been distributed. Beside in the more than 50 local churches, the lessons are now taught also in the Sunday morning service at the Central Prison in Sofia. This past week, I turned the lessons in for editing and publication as a book. Meanwhile, some of them have been reprinted in different magazines.

In March, I will be teaching three seminars in the Systematic Theology class at the Bulgarian Theological Evangelical Institute in Sofia. The seminars will be on the topics of Ecclesiology, Pneumatology and Eschatology. This coming Friday morning, I am also giving a brief lecture on Preservation of Pentecostal Primitivism.

Finally, an article, which I wrote in 1999 about the first Bulgarian graduate from Harvard University, will be published in the February/March issue of the “Bulgarian Theology” scholarly magazine.

For all of the above I praise the Lord with all my heart. I thank you for your continuous support, Please pray for us.

Mission Maranatha 2001

January 15, 2002 by  
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Excerpts from the testimonies given by Mission Maranatha ministry members, during the annual ministry retreat.

The village of Poliana: “We hold a regular church service in the village. I travel with two to four people approximately 70 km. (45 miles) when we have a car available. When we do not have a car, we take a bus and walk the last three miles to the village. What makes it hard is the fact that because of the financial crises, the busses of the public transportation have certain limits and they are not on a regular schedule.”

The town of Kamenetz: “The mayor of this little town and his wife just recently received Christ. They and two other ladies travel four times a week on their own expenses to the town Yambol where they attend the Bible seminars organized by the local Assemblies of God Church. Although I have recently graduated from the Bulgarian Bible Academy I go along with them to every seminar and support them in their studies.”

The village of Tchukarovo: “This village is at the border with Turkey, approximately 120 km. (45 miles) from Yambol. For the Bulgarian standards, this is very far away (Bulgaria is approximately 450 km. on the long side). There are three military checkpoints through which we pass in order to get there and we need a special permit to travel in this restricted area. Because of the closeness to the border, the population is predominantly Turkish. What makes it even harder to work there is the fact that a great number of underground mafia groups have interests in the area because it is a key point for commercial traveling, There are always kilometric-long lines of eighteen wheelers that are waiting to pass the border both ways.

Last month while having service in the local congregation, our team was disturbed by an armed group of Orthodox nationalistic fundamentals, part of a local gangster cartel. They surrounded the building with their BMW and Mercedes vehicles and ordered us to stop the services and leave. One of them, a representative of the local branch of the Nationalistic Party, threatened to arrest us using the authority of his office. Of course, we refused to obey and continued our service with the Lord protecting us and giving us great strength and wisdom.

After the meeting, one of the men on my team left our team saying that the work had become too challenging for him. Nevertheless, we increased our visits in Tchukarovo to twice a week, and at every second visit we show free of charge the movie Jesus. Last week we were told that the man who initiated the legal and physical action against us was released from his chairman position with a full majority on to independent electoral votes.”

Two new churches were added during the Christmas holidays. The Mission Maranatha team ministers to a total of ten churches in the Yambol area. Their schedule includes almost constant traveling and preaching, as follows:

Monday Total distance traveled: 138 km. (87 miles)

2:00 p.m. Poliana 20-25 people

Tuesday Total distance traveled: 100 km. (60 miles)

2:00 p.m. Kamenetz 20-25 people (plus children’s church)

4:00 p.m. Leyarovo 8-13 people (home church)

Wednesday Total distance traveled: 240 km. (150 miles)

4:00 p.m. Tchukarovo 5-7 people

Thursday Total distance traveled: 122 km. (76 miles)

1:00 p.m. Liulin 10-12 people

4:00 p.m. Bogorovo 10-12 people

Friday Total distance traveled: 138 km. (87 miles)

1:00 p.m. Poliana 20-25 people

Saturday Total distance traveled: 250 km. (156 miles)

9:00 am Borisovo 10-13 people (home church)

12:00 p.m. Saransko 15 people (plus children’s church)

3:00 p.m. Robovo 3-5 people (home church)

6:00 p.m. Tchukarovo 5-7 people (the movie Jesus)

Sunday: Total distance traveled: 140 km. (87 miles)

10:00 a.m. Tchelnik 25 people (Sunday School)

Leyarovo 54 people (Sunday School)

2:00 p.m. Kamentez 20-25 people (children’s church)

Luilin 10-12 people – Double Team Services

6:00 p.m. Tchelnik 25 people (plus children’s church)

Leyarovo 54 people

Mission Bulgaria Week 21

January 12, 2002 by  
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NEWS – Week 21 – January 7-12, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA

This is Kathryn Barton reporting from Bulgaria on behalf of my fiancée, Dony K. Donev and Cup and Cross Ministries International.

Due to the weather conditions here in Bulgaria my flight has been delayed a day and I will be leaving after the Sunday morning church service tomorrow. Dony has finished teaching his Sunday School Lessons on the 14 articles of the Declaration of Faith and this Sunday he will start a new series of lessons beginning with a lesson on fasting and prayer.

This week has been very successful one for the Bulgaria Church of God, because a new outreach ministry has been started. As of now, every Tuesday an English speaking service will be held at 5:00 p.m. which will minister among foreign students studying in Bulgaria, English speaking missionaries and visitors. This Tuesday Dony and I were privileged to participate in the first meeting where 19 were present.

On Wednesday night Dony finished teaching from Revelation. Now, he is planning to begin another series on Galatians. Also, Dony has been working on organizing a Chaplaincy course, which will be held in Sofia at the end of February.

Mission Bulgaria Week 20

January 6, 2002 by  
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Week 20 – December 31, 2001 – January 6, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA

Monday we celebrated New Years Eve with an address by the former President of Bulgaria, Peter Stoyanov and with firework displays all through out the capital. Then on Tuesday morning, the first day of the New Year, it is a tradition to “surovak” people. A “surovaknitza ” is a decorated branch used on New Years day to bring health and luck to the receiver of a pat on the back with it.

Wednesday night Dony preached on Revelation 21, a sermon entitled “A Place Called Heaven”. He spoke on how scripture tells us that there will be 12 gates in Heaven and he depicted the picture of 12 equal segments, which visually represents a clock and the center of all is God, the light source. Then on Sunday we moved to a different auditorium in the National Palace of Cultures and Dony’s Sunday School Lesson was on Tithing and Giving.

Some areas in Bulgaria have up to 10 feet of snow and it is extremely difficult to travel. The Danube River, which borders Bulgaria and Romania, is completely frozen and ships cannot travel freely. And because of the excess cold, the student holiday break will be increased by one week.

Dony has been invited to teach three seminars respectively on Pentecostal Ecclesiology, Pneumotology, and Eschatology at the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute (B.E.T.I.) in Sofia. He has also submitted an article to a local Christian magazine called “Bulgarian Theology”, who publishes a dialog between different Christian formations in Bulgaria. The magazine will come out in February. He is also raising money for publishing the 14-lesson Sunday School commentary on the Declaration of Faith.