30 Years of Miracles: 2011

Our ministry in 2011 and the years that followed is better understood in the context of the year 2010, which became formative for the next decade not only for the work of Cup & Cross International, but the Church of God in Bulgaria as a whole.
Our work in 2010 began with ministry in cold winter Bulgaria. The dealings there, especially with the last days of the Minister Center in Sofia, are already subject of other writings. The second history tour among Bulgarian churches in North America followed in the Spring with the book on Ivan Voronaev presented at SPS in Minneapolis, BibleTech in California as well as several church services there and then in Arizona and Nevada. The Bulgarian congregations counted 14 strong at that time, though now most of these have dissolved into other Slavic or even American ministries. Nevertheless, in light of the 2021 pandemic a decade later, 2010 was the last one to report a proper count for these active Bulgarian congregations.

Returning to Bulgaria by the summer was marked with an intense month of services followed by our ministry visit to Cyprus. One of our students from the Bulgarian Evangelical Institute had started churches in six cities on the small Mediterranean island. We ministered twice a day, plus small team leadership training once daily, for several weeks with a large conference planned for the final weekend. The power of God became so evident at times, that our very perspective on deliverance ministry was tremendously changed. Three couples that served as deacons in the churches all struggled with not being able to have children. Today, they all have children that were born after prayer in 2010.

The miracle events that followed opened tremendous opportunity for the Bulgarian churches on Cyprus as well. After timely restructuring in a couple of years, they are still enjoying liberties to minister even during the pandemic period in 2020-21. In fact, the Mediterranean tour ministry of 2010 was so impactful that it opened doors for ministry on Malta, and several Spanish and Portuguese islands where pushed by the economic crises Bulgarian migrants had formed communities of faith. And ultimately determined the next decade of ministry on the High Seas.

With this in mind, 2011 followed strong and quick. After the initial holidays services, several revivals and a mission’s conference, we followed with our annual leadership training for the Bulgarian churches in Chicago. The Chicagoland churches had just celebrated their 15 years’ anniversary and the excitement for better times ahead was quite evident. The annual conference was to be held for the first time at the Bulgarian church in Las Vegas and leadership ministry pre-training was very much needed. Looking at it from the distance of another decade in ministry today, the churches who adopted new ministry leadership style are still going strong, while the others were forced to close down for one reason or another.

We were scheduled to return to London later in the Spring for the annual conference of Bulgarian churches and ministries in the EU, which became foundational for the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance in Europe. Except, in the time between both events the 2011 tornadoes struck Cleveland. The damage and the ministry during those days are

preserved in the pictures of each day after the tornado. Let’s just say that being immobilized with all vehicles destroyed by the storm, house and property damages, as well as the overall dramatic change in the context of ministry presented a significant challenge that had to be overcome.

Nevertheless, only two weeks after the tornado, we proceeded with the annual conference in London and then back to Bulgaria. Among other ministry projects, we were able to hold the all-denominations ministry camp in the Bulgarian mountains. This particular camp of 2011 is still being recalled today by many young ministers who were called and confirmed for the work of the Harvest.

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 1

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 2

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 3

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 4

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 5

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 6

Cleveland After the Storm: Day 7

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)