Establishment of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association (2001-2006)

July 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, News

chaplainWe are proud to announce that the Master’s of Chaplaincy Ministry Program, we designed and launched in Bulgaria in 2006, has been selected to be part of the Social Service Program of New Bulgarian University. After being for years a valuable part of the regular curriculum of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute and the St. Trivelius Institute in the capital Sofia, the chaplaincy program has received the highest level of recognition as successful graduates will be finally able to receive government recognized degrees and apply their knowledge and training in chaplaincy on a professional level. The chaplaincy program can also serve within the Integration Proposal of local NATO programs and be instrumental in dealing with the enormous wave of Middle East migrants crossing through Bulgaria today.

Tchaplaincy-in-bulgariahe Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was envisioned in the summer of 2001 to unite all underground chaplaincy workers within the territory of Bulgaria. This included several ministries already active in Bulgaria serving in various contexts like military, healthcare, benevolence, jail system and commercial marine. The main goal was to establish a context in which all of these ministries could come together and be represented before the Bulgarian churches and government.

Although various other projects in the area of Bulgarian chaplaincy had been undertaken in previous years, the foundation initiative was formed in response to an invitation of the Church of God Chaplaincy Commission to hold a training seminar in the National Palace in the capital, Sofia in the fall of 2001. Due to the September 11th crises, the seminar was postponed and held February 16-23, 2002 under the patronage of the Bulgarian Church of God. More than 60 people, actively involved in military, hospital and prison ministries, students and church members, attended the lectures. The seminar was a stepping stone for the development of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association. Similar seminars were held consecutively in 2003-2004 in various locations.

The following strategic actions continued the endeavor. On August 13, 2005 a regional meeting in the Sliven area discussed the implementation of future strategies in the light of NATO’s decision to place airbases on Bulgarian soil. Individual and group meetings with chaplains from various professional fields and geographical regions followed.

Additionally, a national training seminar was held in Veliko Turnovo on October 8, 2005 where ten regional chaplaincy ministries were represented. The major issues discussed were (1) media presentation of the chaplaincy work before the major evangelical denominations in Bulgaria and the secular society, (2) dealing with stress-related issues at the work place, (3) system restructuring to meet the needs of the growing ministry and (4) the mandatory legal affairs currently restricting chaplaincy in Bulgaria. The participants discussed and approved a six-month national agenda toward solving the above problems and developing timely practical solutions. A priority on the list was the presentation of chaplaincy ministry before Bulgarian evangelical denominations.

The presentation was successfully achieved October 18, 2005 before the national leadership of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance. Three educational levels were proposed in the area of chaplaincy: candidate chaplains, church and government.

A consecutive regional meeting on October 23, 2005 in Nova Zagora addressed current dilemmas and outlined the necessary steps to complete the above educational strategy. The first goal was to develop a basic chaplaincy course for the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute. The course was designed in the winter of 2005-2006 and after a series of meetings with denominational leaders and educational representatives, was submitted to the board of directors of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute on June 12, 2006. Prior to its submission, the course was presented in a pilot form to the regional directors of the Ministry to the Military at a training seminar in Veliko Tarnovo on April 8-10, 2006. The basic chaplaincy course designed by the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was scheduled to be taught in the fall semester of 2006 and plans were set to include it in the larger scope of the master’s level chaplaincy program with the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute in 2007.

After much anticipation, on August 19, 2006 in the city of Yambol, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association called a founders meeting to discuss its legalization by the Bulgarian government. Active chaplains from various fields, ministers, pastors and scholars were present at the meeting to represent over 200 Bulgarians nationally involved in chaplaincy ministry. An official resolution was accepted and signed by the delegates to become the establishing document of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association. With this event, the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association, which began in 2001 and has been instrumental in creating, recognizing and implementing such opportunities for ministry in the military as well as other fields of chaplaincy, has begun its final approach toward becoming a legal non-government organization active within the territory of Bulgaria.

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25 Years of Miracles: 2006

January 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

25 years of miracles 20062006: The Year of Promise (January 7, 2006)

As last April in 2005 approached, we already knew that our presence in Bulgaria was needed and quickly prepared for our return. The days of ministry which followed upon our arrival in the country could have only been characterized as a miracle. As we continued to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, new doors for ministry were opened, new relationships were established and revival was revealed to the hearts of many Bulgarians as the new-yet-old paradigm for church ministry and personal growth. While watching how at times hundreds of lives were being touched by His move, our understanding of God and His power, our way of doing ministry and theology and our very lives and souls were slowly transformed to accommodate God’s heart for national revival emerging from supernatural individual restoration.

Ministering in Bulgaria (April 30, 2006)

With a desire to return back to Bulgaria for another term of ministry, we did not know when or how it would come to be. After much prayer and belief that 2006 is our year of promise, we took a step of faith to do what seamed to be impossible and began to prepare for our trip to Bulgaria.  After taking this step, miracle after miracle took place in our lives.  The first was the fact that we were able to get airline tickets less than a month before leaving that were cheaper than if we would have gotten them months in advance.  Upon our arrival we again were blessed with someone to pick us up from the airport and take us to our final destination of Yambol.  Though after arriving in Yambol we did not stay there long, for our schedule for the end of March and the coming month of April were already full.

Ministering in Samokov (May 22, 2006)

This past Sunday the miracle occurred again. Led by the Holy Spirit we found ourselves in Samokov ministering to the same Church of God congregation there. We preached and prayed with the congregation and were to meet again with several old acquaintances. A citywide evangelization meeting in cooperation with the Assemblies of God Church was held in the center of town that same evening. Over three thousand were in attendance. We are already planning our next return to the city of Samokov to hold a regional youth conference there.

Ministering in Bulgaria (June 27, 2006)

An elderly lady testified that in our service in Yambol last month, the sharp pain in her heart disappeared and she has not felt it since. Many more testified of miraculous healings and spoke of receiving a fresh touch from the Lord. In The Bourgas the family of a teenage boy on drugs was blessed through the miracle of his deliverance. The local church was able to participate in the process allocating resources to provide care for his recovery and spiritual growth.

Healing in the Midst of Revival (November 10, 2006)

After the Monday night service of the revival we held in Sofia, a lady came to us and testified of a healing in her left arm where she had been experiencing tremendous pain to the point of not being able to move it. She further reported that during the service the pain completely left her body. While in revival services in Bourgas a similar healing took place. In the middle of the alter call, an elderly lady testified with a shout and with her hands raise to the Lord in thanks for a physical healing. This lady testified that before the service she could not move her arm or leg on one side of her body and that during the time at the alter she received an instant healing in which she was able to walk without hindrance and could move her arm and open her crippled hand. We held a total 33 services in 24 days in Bulgaria during the month of October as part of our 2006 Revival Harvest Campaign. Many were touched and transformed by the power of God while ministering during two revivals and a number of regional meetings and youth rallies in major Bulgarian cities. On Monday night during our last revival before our departure which was held in the oldest Bulgarian Pentecostal church in the Black Sea port city of Bourgas, a lady received her miracle and was healed from cancer. The case was later confirmed by her doctor.