The Jesus Film Project Online

November 30, 2007 by  
Filed under Media

The Jesus Film Project in the Bulgarian vernacular is one of our web ministry projects in progress. We first introduced the Bulgarian version of the Jesus Film on the internet in 2006. It was offered in its original DVD form and in another compressed DivX format. To much of our surprise, over 10,000 copies of the film were downloaded in the first three days after it was posted. This number doubled every month that followed, but in September, 2007 it reached its peak of 46,000 downloads. That month our internet traffic surpassed ½ petabyte, which equals 500 TB. For comparison, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has a 1-petabyte hard disk store attached to the National Science Foundation\’s TeraGrid network. We give God the glory.

Research Trip to Urbana, IL

November 25, 2007 by  
Filed under Research

Our third trip to the University of Illinois’s library to discover books and materials on the subject of Bulgarian Protestantism was successful again. Among the findings was a very important book about the famous Pastor’s Trial in Bulgaria. Its story is indeed worth sharing.

In 1949, five years after communism took over in Bulgaria, fifteen evangelical pastors were tried and sentenced to years of imprisonment for allegedly serving as spies for the United States, England and France. This was the first of several waves arranged by the communist government to behead the evangelical movement from its true leaders while implanting secret agents as pastors and ministers within the church. In fact, the Pastors’ Trial was just a small part of a larger political scheme through which the Regime attempted to remove ideological leaders of various Bulgarian professional groups like political leaders, chief of military departments, lawyers, doctors, scholars and such. Unfortunately, following Stalin’s directives, the Communist party of Bulgaria was very successful in executing or imprisoning most prominent leaders in Bulgaria, thus dooming the country to an era of political, economical and social ignorism, which ensured the implementation of their proletarian agenda. As preachers of freedom and puritan values, evangelical pastors naturally opposed the drastic move of the Regime toward dictatorial totalitarianism.

While researching the subject at the University of Illinois, it became apparent that immediately after the trial of 1949, the Bulgarian Communist government ordered the publication of a book which was intended to inform the Western world of the “crimes” of the evangelical pastors. The book was written in satisfactory English, perhaps with the help of a native English speaker, printed in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia and then distributed around the world. To much of our surprise, the publication contained an English translation of the “confessions” which were extracted from the pastors during the trial and presented as evidence against them.

Later publications contain the memoirs of several of the pastors, as they describe the horrible ways of torture, starvation and depravity of sleep, used to obtain the confessions. Unfortunately, since many of them spent over a decade in various prisons without any means of communicating with the outside world and recording facts and events, the contents of the confessions were impossible to reproduce in their memoirs.

This publication, however, gives a full account of the texts as recorded by agents of the Communist militia. This is the first time that we have become aware of the existence of such publication, as it has been virtually unspoken of by both Bulgarian and foreign studies on the topic. In the future, we will be comparing the English translations with the partial publications of other “confessions” in various Bulgarian periodicals of that time in order to discover variants and modifications between the text intended for the Bulgarian public and the text translated and published for the Western reader.

10 Things we are Thankful for

November 20, 2007 by  
Filed under Missions

1. Another year of opportunities to minister in the United States and Bulgaria.
2. Provision for needs for the work in Bulgaria.
3. The prayers and support of family and friends.
4. Health and healings.
5. The registration of the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association in February, 2007.
6. Conference of Bulgarian Church in North America in May, 2007.
7. Four weeks of Revelation Revival on the book of Revelation in June, 2007.
8. Holding the “X” Youth Event at the Black Sea in July, 2007.
9. Completing the new Bulgarian translation of the Gospel of John in September, 2007.
10. Missions’ revival services in South Carolina in October, 2007.

Holiness Website Released

November 15, 2007 by  
Filed under Events, Media

For several years now our team has envisioned a new website as part of our website ministry, a website that deals exclusively with the subject of holiness. For over a month now, this vision has been a reality bringing thousands to the teaching of Biblical sanctification and holiness lifestyle through (meaning “sanctified” in Bulgarian).

I know that many would object to the idea of preaching holiness in the beginning of the 21st century. Who needs holiness in the world today, anyway? After all people today have more important issues with which to deal. In my opinion, perhaps many of the issues humanity deals with today, can be resolved though acquiring a lifestyle of Biblical holiness.

Historically, the Bulgarian evangelism lacks the evolvement of sanctification as a second work of grace, as it was present in North America at the end of the 19th century. Missionaries to Bulgaria did not concentrate on the teaching of holiness, as other important issues were being addressed. It was not until the dawn of Bulgarian Pentecostalism, that definite holiness movements within among Bulgarian evangelicals began appearing. And of course, since the Assemblies of God was the major organized Pentecostal denomination, sanctification was viewed as part of the experience of salvation and Holy Spirit baptism, and never as a separate second work of grace as described by Wesley.

Yet, the strife toward Biblical holiness was ever present in the Bulgarian context ever since Christianity entered the Balkans in the 10th-11th centuries. Since then, Eastern Orthodox Christianity has taught, although practiced very little, the doctrine of holiness. During the Communist Regime, various Pentecostal groups declared their holiness stand, thus bringing the attention of the government along with extra persecution upon themselves. The national Pentecostal revival after the Fall of the Berlin Wall increased the interest in sanctification, and the issue of how to live a holiness life often became a point of separation between older and younger believers.

And although holiness is not often preached today, it still remains the standard of God. For this very reason, we released with the vision to bring Bulgarian evangelism back to the basics of Biblical sanctification and to lift up the standard of holiness as a lifestyle among the Bulgarian people.

Ministering at Holmes Bible College

November 10, 2007 by  
Filed under Events

After the successful completion of the Deliverance Revival at Pendleton, we traveled to Holmes Bible College. Holmes is the oldest active Pentecostal college founded in 1898 in the old Altamont Hotel on Paris Mountain in Greenville, SC. The long term success of the college has resulted from its dynamic leadership and its solid setup as an independent Pentecostal educational institution. These factors, along with God’s provision, have guaranteed that Holmes Bible College has remained active and effective in a time when most Bible colleges are closing their doors.

Upon the invitation of the faculty, we visited the college and participated in the annual mission’s week held their. The time spent in ministry and fellowship was a blessing, as to most of our surprise, we were able to reunite with schoolmates and teachers who now serve in faculty positions at the college. We delivered a message on “The Liberty of the Spirit” and prayed with the faculty and student body, that the ministry and legacy of Holmes Bible College continues into the future.

Bulgaria Votes 2007 Finals

November 5, 2007 by  
Filed under News

Bulgaria’s ruling Socialists and the GERB party of Sofia mayor Boyko Borissov have emerged as the biggest winners in the final tally of mayors elected in Bulgaria’s 27 regional capitals. Socialist runners and independent nominees backed by the senior partner in the ruling coalition won 11 of the cities and towns that serve as administrative centres of Bulgaria’s regions. The biggest win for the Socialists was to retain the Black Sea port of Varna, where the nominee it backed, along with a host of other parties and local initiative committees, Kiril Yordanov was re-elected for a third term in office. The other ten cities are Blagoevgrad Lovech, Pernik, Razgrad, Russe, Silistra, Smolyan, Targovishte, Haskovo and Shumen. But the Socialists also lost several towns traditionally considered their strongholds, such as Burgas, Stara Zagora or Vratsa.

GERB, showing only at its second election after the MEP vote in May, has made its presence on the political scene known by taking three of the country’s big four cities – capital Sofia, Plovdiv and Burgas. It has also wrestled control from the Socialists in Stara Zagora and Vratsa, while also imposing themselves in Vidin, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Sliven and Yambol.

Rightist parties, represented mainly by the alliance between the Union of Democratic Forces and Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB), occasionally backed by other parties, won five seats. In addition to securing the re-election of rightist mayors in Veliko Tarnovo, Pleven and Montana, the alliance won Kyustendil and Pazardzhik.

The ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), a junior partner in the ruling three-way coalition, won only one major town – their stronghold of Kardzhali, where the incumbent was re-elected in the first round of voting.

Despite the fact that the Socialists secured more municipal councillors and mayors, primarily because of its strength in rural areas, GERB got a bigger chunk of the popular vote, thanks to its stronger showing in urban areas, and capital Sofia in particular. If the same figures as during the first round of voting last week were recorded at the next parliamentary polls, it would become the biggest party in the parliament, with 61 out of 240 seats.

The current ruling coalition between the Socialists, MRF and the ex-king Simeon Saxe-Coburg’s party, would get only 111 seats, well short of the current domination it enjoys in the legislature, where it has 168 MPs. The rightist coalition between UDF and DSB would see its presence boosted from 32 to 48 seats, with nationalists Ataka and MRF also seeing small gains. But the fairly even distribution of seats, without any party dominating the vote, and the fractious relationship between most Bulgarian parties would make it very difficult to create a workable majority in the legislature.

November Deliverance Revival

November 1, 2007 by  
Filed under Events

Covenant of Faith Church of God – Pendleton, SC

This Sunday, November 4, 2007, we are starting a Deliverance Revival at the Covenant of Faith Church of God in Pendleton, SC. Pastor Marion Snider and his congregation have extended a kind invitation to us for a time of ministry and spiritual renewal. Services will begin at 10 am and 6 pm on Sunday and 7 pm on Monday through Wednesday. If you are in the area, make plans to attend the services and experience anew the power of God.

The revival comes after we have been blessed with the opportunity to minister in a number of South Carolina churches this past month. We were privileged to hold missionary services at the Vineyard Church of God in Spartanburg, Newberry Church of God, La France Church of God, Liberty Church of God and the Seneca Church of God. We were also able to travel to Florida and minister at the Chokoloskee and Bradenton churches there.