MISSION 2002: 6 Months in Bulgaria

February 16, 2002 by  
Filed under News

6 Months in Bulgaria
Six months have passed since I returned to my home country Bulgaria. Although the many difficulties, limited finances and lack of advanced infra structural organization, I was able to:
1. Serve as a pastor of the Pravetz Church of God (40-60 members)
2. Serve as an Associate Pastor of the Central Church of God in Sofia (1,400 members)
3. Developed and integrated a Sunday School Pilot Program with 20 lessons in more than 70 local congregations nationally as more than 30,000 lessons were distributed freely
4. Start a Saturday crusade services and successfully build it up to a 380 attendees
5. Actively help a mission team ministering to 11 churches in the area of my home-town Yambol
6. Organize a chaplaincy seminar for more than 60 Bulgarian chaplains active in hospitals, prisons, military and police force
7. Completed an expository series on the books of Revelation and Galatians
8. Organized and led a Bible-study home group of 12 in the Buxton suburb of Sofia
9. Began weekly services for English-speaking people
10. Preach a total of 61 times in various church services, crusade meetings and ministerial conferences
11. Teach at Pentecostal Department of the Bulgarian Evangelical Theological Institute (BETI) in Sofia

Bulgaria: Politics
Through the past 12 years Bulgaria has become one of what is now known as a Post – Communist countries. This rather explicit name integrates a low life-standard, negative economic status, and the hopelessness of the people. In the summer of 2001 as the Democratic Party lost the elections, a newly formed movement led by the son of the ex-Bulgarian King whose family was expulsed by the communists in 1944, headed the Bulgarian political life. The royal descendant, Simeon Saxcoburggotsky, became the Prime-minister of the Bulgarian Government. Furthermore the Presidential elections that followed shortly were won by a socialist, George Parvanov, who entered the office of President of the Republic of Bulgaria in January 2002.

Bulgaria: Economics
The political changes reflected significantly on the economic situation of Bulgaria. Considerable changes took places in the already high tax-laws in parallel with significant increase followed in the costs of fuel ($2.49 per gallon), electricity, central heat, water and services. Yet, the drastic changes were unable to satisfy the $8 billion external debt and the 3 times higher internal debt of the Bulgarian economics.

Bulgaria: Society
The only hope that the Government gave to the people was to wait until the 800 days program of the Government was fully integrated and the first results were seen. This did not help much the seven million Bulgarians who had to go through a heavy winter with 15 inches of snow and constant temperatures of 20° C bellow zero.

Bulgaria: Church
The past 12 years of democratic government and politics in Bulgaria have created a relatively balanced atmosphere of religious tolerance. Although the Orthodox Church is still the official religious denomination, and that single anti-Protestant actions still exist, the evangelical churches in Bulgaria are experiencing a time of freedom and revival. As a result, the Protestant churches have grown more than 780%. For example, while in the mid 80s the Bulgarian Church of God had only 800 members today there are more than 380 churches with 31,000 members, as 37 churches with 5,200 members are in the capital Sofia alone. This is the context in which we minister every day, preach the Gospel, advance the Kingdom and declare that Jesus is Lord of Bulgaria.