Convention on Gender Violence Draws Backlash in Bulgaria

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Moves to ratify the so-called Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe are encountering strong opposition both from parties in the Bulgarian government and the opposition.

Members of the Bulgarian government and of the main opposition Socialist Party have joined forces to oppose the government’s decision to pass the so-called Istanbul Convention on gender-based violence to parliament for ratification.

The cabinet approved a national program for prevention of domestic violence on Wednesday, and, as a part of it, advised MPs to ratify the Council of Europe’s convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which was adopted in Istanbul in 2011. Following the government session, however, the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of social and economic policies, Valeri Simeonov, from the nationalist United Patriots, told the media that eight of the 21 ministers had voted against the document.

“Not only the United Patriots [who have four ministers] but eight ministers voted against,” he said. The names of the ministers who opposed the convention will be revealed on Friday, when the minutes of the cabinet meeting are published. The plan to pass the Convention, which Bulgaria signed in April 2016, for ratification in parliament, drew sharp criticism especially from one of the parties from the United Patriots Coalition, VMRO.

On December 28, the party, led by the Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, published a statement which claimed that, through the convention, “international lobbies are pushing Bulgaria to legalize the ‘third gender’.

The party declared itself firmly against the document, which it accused of “introducing school programs for studying homosexuality and transvestism and creating opportunities for enforcing same-sex marriages”. Over 30 civil and religious organizations had sent an open letter to Karakachanov, urging him not to allow ratification of the convention. As a result, he said, he had given a negative opinion of what he called the “scandalous text”. What has most upset nationalists is mention of the term “gender” as a social construct as opposed to the biological “sex” in the text of the document, although the explanatory report to the convention notes: “The term ‘gender’ … is not intended as a replacement for the terms ‘women’ and ‘men.’”

2017 in Retrospect

December 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Books, Events, Featured, Missions, News

Grateful for several revivals in 2017, along with our regular preaching schedule in Bulgaria. We held our annual Harvest Campaign and celebrated the 20th Anniversary of our Electronic Bible with a reading through the whole Bible in a day. For the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation on October 31, 2017 we were finally able to publish a decade-long project: “Greek-Bulgarian New Testament Interlinear.”

Restorative Significance of the Gifts Given to the Christ Child

December 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication, Research

It is recorded that the Magi gave the Christ Child three gifts upon his birth; gold, frankincense and myrrh. We understand the gold today as a physical gold, representing His kingship and the other two as an incense to symbolize his priestly role and oil for his foreseen death. Yet, what if the gold that was given to the Christ child was for another reason and perhaps it was not “gold”, but a golden spice or a golden salt. Of the gifts, one could be ingested, one could be inhaled and one could be absorbed. If we look at all from a medicinal viewpoint, these three gifts may have more symbolic meaning than once perceived.

MAGI

So who exactly were the “Magi”. We know that they followed the stars and were from the East. The East was a region of the world known, at the time, for its great knowledge of natural remedies. So it is not unimaginable that they could have been natural healers or homeopathic doctors of their times. This could explain the hypothesis that all three gifts had a therapeutic purpose in the life of Christ.

GOLD

If we view the gold in compound form, it can be used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Gold is a type of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medicine (DMARD) that dampens down the underlying disease process. This meaning it treats inflammation and stops the immune system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Gold can also be used to treat other auto-immune conditions. If we think of the gift of gold as a spice, the first one that comes to mind is curcumin which is known as the “golden spice” of the East. It also has the ability to reduce inflammation and provides immune system support along with anti-cancer effects. This golden spice seems to have the ability to kill cancer cells and prevent their regrowth.

FRANKINCENSE

When frankincense is inhaled, it is the most effective method of delivery to send a chemical message to the brain. The oils in frankincense have a high level of sesquiterpenes, an agent found in plants that has the ability to go beyond the blood-brain barrier. Sesquiterpenes from frankincense increase oxygen availability in the limbic system of the brain which leads to an increase in secretions of antibodies, endorphins and neurotransmitters. In layman’s terms it has the ability to go straight to the brain without traveling through the bloodstream and brings healing properties to reset and repairs its internal communications. It’s almost as if it can unlearn a disease or degenerative disorder passed down in our DNA.

The amygdale glad of the brain’s limbic system plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with fragrance or the sense of smell. This may help us understand how we are able to release emotional trauma with aromatherapy of frankincense.

MYRRH

Myrrh also can arouse the limbic system to release emotional trauma. It also has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties among with many other health benefits. Once applied to the body, oil molecules pass through dermis, into the capillaries and directly into the bloodstream.

The substance know as monoterpenes are present in almost all essential oils. They are what enhances the therapeutic values of other components and are the balancing portion of the oil. They inhibit the accumulation of toxins and restore the correct information in the DNA of the cell. Sesquiterpenes are also found in myrrh and delete the bad information in cellular memory or memories that are hypothesized to be stored outside the brain in the body.

REMARKS

This is quite interesting, to say the least, that all three gifts can protect the body from such dramatic trauma. The body of Christ from infancy was being safeguarded against what was to become his destiny of great suffering and pain. The cathartic releasing of emotional trauma provided with the gift of frankincense would lay the foundation for the harrowing experience of death by crucifixion.

All three offerings had anti-inflammatory properties and helped support the immune system by preventing the system from attacking its own body’s tissue. Christ’s earthly body was protected right down to the minuscule cellular level. Even the cellular memory of his body was restored with these gifts. At a molecular level, His Heavenly DNA was being guarded. The gifts purposed to protect the Christ child’s from disorders genetically passed down and to restore the information in the cells of the DNA.

One gift was for the body, one was for the blood and one was for the brain. One gift purposed to go beyond the blood-brain barrier while the other was via the bloodline. The Christ child was both a descendant of a Heavenly father and an early mother. The father’s bloodline was supernatural while the mothers’ was a physical line.

We will never truly understand this side of Heaven all the care that went into protecting the Christ child. Yet since we are descendants of a Perfect Deity, we too have this promise of complete restoration of curses, sickness, disease, imperfections, degenerative disorders, mental impairments, and any physical, mental or spiritual attack of the body, mind and soul. We have been given a choice of living a life of blessing or curse. Just as the gifts of the Christ child had to be accepted, we too much choose to accept this promise.

PentecostalTheology.com

Bulgarian Evangelical Church in Sofia

December 5, 2017 by  
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Bulgarian Evangelical Church in Kazanlak

December 1, 2017 by  
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Bulgarian Evangelical Church in Ruse

November 30, 2017 by  
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Bulgarian Evangelical Church in Plodvid

November 25, 2017 by  
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Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European Union (2017 Report)

November 15, 2017 by  
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Is Migrant crisis in Europe really under control?

November 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Turkey deal may have stopped refugees from reaching France and UK but it has not resolved the crisis

Less than two years after the European Union was confronted with an unprecedented influx of refugees, during which over a million people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond flooded Europe’s borders, EU officials are saying that the migrant crisis is under control. For this, the EU credits its March 2016 agreement with Turkey, which was intended to curb entries into Greece via the Mediterranean Sea and end onward movement into Europe across the western Balkan route. At the time, one European Commission senior policy official said the agreement, which stipulated that Greece send back to Turkey those migrants who do not apply for asylum or have their claim rejected, was seen as necessary to “ensure the future of the EU”, where the migrant situation had become “explosive”.

Just over a year later, crossings on the eastern Mediterranean have dropped from a weekly peak of 1,400 in early March 2016 to a weekly average of 27 for March 2017. The western Balkan path into Europe has seen a similarly significant decrease in crossings, from 764,000 in 2015 to 123,000 in 2016. Declarations of success have come despite criticisms by NGOs and experts, who have condemned the Turkey deal as an outsourcing of responsibility. This tactic may have stopped refugees from reaching France, Germany and the United Kingdom, at least temporarily, but it has not resolved the crisis at Europe’s borders.

Crossings of the central Mediterranean, which predominantly impact Italy, are actually on the rise, and the stalemate over relocation of refugees from Greece to Turkey, a key part of the 2016 deal, continues. A new report by the German think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) shows that EU states along the western Balkan route are systematically – and violently – pushing back migrants. This route, which was at the forefront of the 2015 crisis, remains active, but it has slightly changed: movement has been redirected from Greece to Bulgaria’s land border with Turkey.

In 2016, 18,000 migrants crossed into Bulgaria. According to the FES report, Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia have responded to the new influx by intensifying “efforts to prevent entry into their territory”. Hungary has further restricted its asylum legislation which “taken together with the physical push-backs, amount to the systematic violation of human rights” in the country, which already has the EU on edge with its ongoing crackdown on civil liberties. Attempts to forcibly close the borders in Hungary and Bulgaria have created a bottleneck in Serbia, where about 10,000 refugees and migrants are reported to be stuck. Border tightening across the western Balkan region has also led to an increase in the use of illicit smuggling networks, which is precisely the problem the EU claims it is seeking to tackle.

Meanwhile, the stalemate on relocation has left thousands of refugees trapped on the Greek islands. Thus far, only 1,000 people have been sent back to Turkey. With serious overcrowding and a lack of meaningful access to asylum procedures, the security situation in Greece is increasingly dire. The EU’s support for a possible agreement with Libya displays a lamentable lack of lesson-learning.

Italy had a similar deal with Libya in 2008, which collapsed with the Arab Spring. This directly contributed to the sharp rise in migration flows from 2011. Nor is the Turkey agreement the first time that the EU has tried to outsource responsibility.

The so-called Dublin Regulation, which from 2003 designated asylum responsibility to the country of entry, quickly became unsustainable, with Italy and Greece unable to tackle the massive influx. By turning a blind eye to the problems that the 2016 Turkey agreement is wreaking on Balkan states, the European Commission will again struggle to formulate a cohesive shared response to the ongoing migration crisis. As one European Parliament official stated, the tendency instead has been “to try and keep the problem out of the EU as much as possible so as to not have to deal with the situation.” But one European Commission policy official from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs suggested in an interview that “containing the numbers through third country deals is a precondition” for all EU states to determine a common policy. Having “more predictable numbers”, she said, would give national governments the “breathing space” needed to sell voters on the need for a stronger, common approach to refugee arrivals.

But with the EU in a deadlock over the new Dublin negotiations, it is unclear whether member states can actually agree on a plan to effectively share responsibility in the continuing migrant crisis. Frontline member states are acutely concerned that the outcome of current talks may worsen the situation by further overburdening them. Inaction is not an option. Under international human rights law, European states are obliged to ensure safe and effective access to their territory for those fleeing persecution. It also has a legal mandate to find a solution: article 80 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union requires the bloc to pursue a common asylum policy grounded in the “principle of solidarity”.

The recent decision by the Commission to open sanction procedures against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for failing to comply with the relocation decision is a step in this direction. Confronting recalcitrant member states – perhaps by cutting off access to EU funding – the bloc can halt the current a la carte mentality that leads states to pick and choose when they share responsibility. Because, when it comes to Europe’s migration crisis, as one European Parliament member for the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs put it, “either you get with the programme or you’re not in the club”.

2017 Catalog of Immigrant Bulgarian Evangelical Churches around the World

October 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2017 Report)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2017 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2017 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

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