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1990 We began serving in the Yambol area along with the local Pentecostal churches in the early 1990s after the Fall of the Berlin Wall
1992-93 Our team participated in a number of revival campaigns in the Gipsy Ghettos of Yambol, Sliven and Stara Zagora
1996 Along with Dr. Miroslav Atanasov of Sofia, we invested into the purchase of a building that is used for the meetings of the local Church of God led by its first pastor, who had mixed Gipsy-Turkish roots, brother Mitko Mohamed
2000 This was a turning point for the local congregation and many other minority groups in the region, as we led a Church of God campaign in several of the neighboring villages and regions stretching our outreach all the way to the Black Sea and the border between Bulgaria and Turkey
2001-04 In the years that followed, we completed a number of evangelistic campaigns in the Strandja Sakar region in South Eastern Bulgaria populated with predominantly Bulgarian speaking Turkish and Pomak people groups
2005 We renewed holding services in the Gipsy Ghetto of Yambol where by that time there were a dozen active Pentecostal congregations
2007 We helped restore the local United Church of God congregation after it had burnt down in a fire.
2008-09 After collaborating with local social services workers, our team devised an ethical guideline proposal for working with abused and abandoned children while consulting on project “Care for Orphans,” which worked with gypsy children of the area Ghettos
2010-11 We held services with many local youth groups, preaching the Gospel and praying for the people after showing the film Jesus for Children, after which dozens of people, both children and adults, accepted Christ as their personal savior confessing their sins and joining the local churches
2012 We have written extensively on the subject of Forming a Roma Gipsy Evangelical Identity in Bulgaria and our book on the subject is coming out for publication in the near future
Record low temperatures were reported this morning in Yambol our ministry base location. Thermometers in the early morning in showed minus 8.14 degrees Fahrenheit and in the most southern point of the Yambol region in Elhovo thermometers showed minus 9.4 degrees. This is the lowest temperature measured in the city of more than 40 years. Similar freezing temperatures were reported in 1979 of minus 5.26 degrees Fahrenheit.
January 26, 2010
Some 200 people from over a dozen regional churches gathered in the village of Malomir on Saturday at a regional prayer conference. Several ministers and representatives from the Bourgas, Stara Zagora, Haskovo and Sliven regions attended as well. This is the third of four prayer meetings held each year in the area to encourage the village churches, gather the people together for time of rejuvenation and set quarterly goals for each season of the year.
The churches that gathered were congregations with which our teams have worked and ministered with for some 15 years now. Many of the congregations were started and registered during this term of ministry, while others continued their operation having gone through the trials and tribulation of Communism. Unfortunately, the last 20 years of economical, political and social crises in Bulgaria have left their scar on the both the people and the churches. The villages, once flourishing and prospering, are now left to the elderly as the young generation has moved in search for a better life in the big city or in many cases in a foreign land. Thus, the evangelical churches in the Bulgarian villages remain one of the few strongholds of moral encouragement, family values and life as we know it.
The answer to such a great spiritual need is rooted in deep prayer and personal piety, which is exactly what our teams have been trying to accomplish through these quarterly prayer conferences. As the attendance in years past has gradually grown, the Lord has called these people to the ministry and they have faithfully helped our teams in the progress of the work. Therefore, they were all encouraged to gather once again while we shared the Word in several sessions throughout the day. Our message focused on the subject of personal prayer and its leading role within the life of the local church. The efforts of all were well rewarded by a powerful move of the Spirit during the time of prayer, after which people were encouraged by the announcement of one more regional prayer conference for this year, which will probably take place during the holiday season.
The Military Ministry, with the support of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association and Cup & Cross Ministries, is holding a Chaplaincy educational course in Yambol, Bulgaria. The course comes after a year of preparation and is part of the national strategy toward the accreditation of a nationwide master’s level chaplaincy program, which our team successfully complied since its envisioning in 2005.
This year, the International Association of Evangelical Chaplains is sending their training team to conclude the annual chaplaincy training for Bulgaria. Classes will be presented by: (1) Chaplain (COL) Bernie and Eshter Windmiller, US Army Ret., Team Leader (2) Major General (MG) Clay and Clara Buckingham, US Army Ret and (3) Chaplain (Colonel) Rich Young, US Army Ret. The IAEC team members will be traveling with their spouses and conduct services in the local churches after classes. Planned for the concluding event is an official lecture on the ministry of the chaplain at the Bulgarian Military Academy in the capital Sofia.
The weekend of the 16-19th of September Cup and Cross Ministries, along with Yambol based Mission Maranatha, held a Leadership Training Retreat for the Yambol region. Ten delegates from the area were chosen to represent various areas of ministry including ministry to the villages, children, home groups, women, elderly and the military. Representatives from Spain and the United States were also present.
Throughout our time together we were able to share personal experiences of ministry successes and growth areas in order to brainstorm through appropriate techniques and strategies to effectively resolve dilemmas in ministry. We discussed topics such as burnout and addressed how to nurture on-going motivation within each specific area of ministry.
At the conclusion of the training each delegate was encourage to take the resources which they had acquired and implement them into their specific areas of interest and take on the responsibility of training those whom are under their leadership.
Unfortunately we were unable to broadcast this training event live due to the remote location, but we are hoping to be able to make it available again in the near future, as we are planning our next event in which we will be reviewing leadership and communication styles. This series of training events is a part of our humble contribution toward the redevelopment of evangelical education in Bulgaria and the move from static training methodology to a dynamic strategy of empowering ministers throughout church-wide discipleship.
After the storm in Plovdiv quieted down some, our team returned to one of our bases in the city Yambol for a special service with Bulgarian Church of God Roma Bishop Iliya Panov. As his praise band from Sofia’s Life Church of God worshiped the Lord and ministered the Word, the Holy Spirit fell with power over the Yambol congregation. Some hundred people came to the altars raising their hands toward the heavens, crying and praying. They pleaded with God for a spiritual revival in a way that we have not seen in Bulgaria since the early 1990s.
While this mighty move of the Spirit was literally being absorbed by the people, the director of our regional ministries gave a call for prayer for the baptism with the Holy Ghost. Immediately, prayer groups were formed around the people who raised their hands for prayer and only minutes later several received the baptism and were speaking in heavenly languages. People were crying and praying all over the church house now transformed in a heavenly sanctuary by the presence of the Holy God. A lady with a spiritual gift reported seeing a vision of the Holy Spirit descending as a cloud over the church during the service.
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We realize while writing these words how close they sound to the reports of the Azusa street revival from the beginning of the 20thcentury. And having seen the power of God moving through churches and people all across the country of Bulgaria, we cannot remain silent any more. We must testify what our eyes have beheld, that we have seen the glory of God and He is doing a new thing in Bulgaria again.