30 Years of Miracles: 2010

2010 was the year we felt led to stay in Bulgaria through the winter. It was not an easy decision. Bulgarian winters are hard on everyone, especially on churches and ministries. Even more so, to people who do not stay there all year around and are neither prepared not accustomed to the harsh snowy months. But it was important to be there as both the denomination and our local churches were struggling with difficult decisions ahead. 2010 was also the year where our ministry through the Bulgarian Chaplaincy Association was introduced to chaplaincy on the high sea. But this is another story…

By the fall of 2010, we had crossed Bulgaria several times ministering in most of the churches. Our count by October was at 200+ church services for the year. Dozens of cities and villages, multiple churches and denominations, and most often rented auditoriums for the evangelistic services, which have always been our main focus in ministry.

As the fall was approaching, we were invited to ministry with our Bulgarian churches in Cyprus. One of our students from the Bulgarian Theological College had started six churches in different locations across the small Mediterranean island among the Bulgarian migrants. October there was still pretty warm and allowed for extensive travel. We held services twice daily for two weeks with a special conference on the last day.

But ministry was not so easy in the first couple of days after our arrival. As a matter of fact, I often recall that the first services felt like preaching behind a wall. The message was simply not getting through until we realized a different type of warfare needed to be engaged before the Gospel could be preached freely with power.

Such deep spiritual opposition could be hard to understand in other parts of the world where Christianity has been part of the local culture for centuries. It was challenging for our team as well to pin-point the reason and address it in prayer. But when you see a lady moving like a snake or trace not one, not two, but three young deacons in the ministry who cannot have children, it is pretty clear what needs to be done.

Early missionaries call this “demonic displacement” realizing that in a heavy occult island culture like Cyprus, the powers of darkness must be first spiritually displaced before people can receive the Gospel and be saved. Prayer warfare and intentional fasting quickly became part of our daily routine, and before the first week was over we experienced tremendous outpouring in various churches and even in open air services in locations like Pafos where the apostle Paul was beaten in Acts. As a direct result to this new ministry approach, the conference on the last day were there was attended by some 700 people who came from across the island and filled the tabernacle to such an extent that some had to be seated outside in the yard.



This book should have been published seven years ago in 2013. Its original subtitle was going to read “7 Years in Bulgaria.” Instead, it took seven years to finish it with all documents, research archives and new cases. Now, it is finally here and it finally reads like a story – not just choppy interviews, deposition documented testimonies or court records, but a story of struggle, strength and solitude. A story of life and a story of us.

1995-96 The establishing of the first Bulgarian Church of God in Chicago and its first split

2000-01 The contracted building of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Sofia

2002-03 The church split in Southaven and what followed next

2005-06 The post-communist split of the Bulgarian Church of God and consecutive sub-denominations

2010-13 The social media network that cost us millions (of souls)

2016 The vote that forced to kill a church

2019-20 The sale of the ministry center for the Central Church of God in Bulgaria

READ: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher

To Mark Alan
We know not why good people have to die,
but we do know we must tell their story…

Chapter I: Beyond the Church and into God

Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always, even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong.
That is your oath.
of Heaven (2005)


Separation of church from politics of false religiosity

The phone rang heavy and long. It was 4 AM in Bulgaria, but I was already up. A friend on the other end of the line was calling from South Carolina with a warning of some bad situation. The following morning, I was going to be contacted by the Director questioning why we were ministering in churches outside of our denomination.

The truth was we had ministered in some 300 local churches across the Balkan country of Bulgaria crossing all denominational boundaries and gathering youth from just about every confession. God had used us not only to reach and minister and to lead, but to step into an untouched spiritual realm, to undertake an unfamiliar ministry paradigm and to approach a brand new dimension of reality where He was to be the center of it all. And we had obeyed without questions. Now it was time to pay the price!

* * *

Our denomination, the one to which I remain both critically loyal and loyally critical, spreads over some five generations. Through its century old existence, the struggles and tension between theology and praxis has been in the center. And there, in the very essence of Pentecostalism itself, while some are always celebrating and being celebrated in the office or temple, others are always pushed in the periphery of normal life, hidden from the world behind closed doors and seeking a much deeper experience with God.

These modern day mystics are not only forgotten, but often forbidden. For their riot for righteousness cannot be conceived, contained and controlled by the religious norms of organized officiality. They speak as prophets to a world they so fervently try to escape from, about a reality that does not exist in the normal believer’s mindset. A stage of spirituality that cannot be preached without being lived in the social existence. And a relationship of God that goes far beyond common relationism and into God himself. That God, Who does not abide in offices and temples, but on the cross outside of the city walls…

But I knew nothing of this until that cold winter morning when the phone rang through darkness of the night. Knowing what is coming, rarely changes what we have done to get here.

7 Years in Bulgaria: CONFESSIONS of a Pentecostal Preacher
by Dony K. Donev, D.Min.
Upcoming Releases for United States (October, 2020)