Bulgaria Set for Yet Another Election in the Spring of 2022

November 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Current Socialist Bulgarian President won a second term with the overwhelming support of President Biden. However, during the election debates, President Radev slipped and claimed the Ukrainian Crimea belonged to Russia. By the time the election results were finalized on Monday, both the European Union and the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria issued notes of warning stating that, Crimea is part of the Ukraine and is currently under Russian occupation. Also on Monday, U.S. Congress forwarded a letter to the Bulgarian government for an immediate decision on the acceptance of Macedonia in the European Union.

These escalations occur in the midst of Bulgaria unable to form a government after three consecutive elections in 2021. As it is highly improbable the current election winner with only 26% will be able to form a government without a political majority, another election may be on the horizon of 2022.
Apart from the Crimean and Macedonian questions, the next Bulgarian government has committed to President Biden’s tri-sea initiative leading to most drastic political restructuring as follows:
1. Accepting the cross-gender Istanbul Convention
2. Pushing Bulgaria toward military involvement in the Crimean Crises
3. Opening Bulgaria as a regional big-pharma hub for modern vaccine testing

Changes in the Bulgarian Constitution may push the country from Parliamentarian to a Presidential republic alike the Russian model set by Putin’s “democracy.” But before all this happens, an actual government will have to be formed in the midst of a very cold winter with rising gas prices and electricity prices already increased by some 30%. Drained by the 2020 pandemic and with no government help or any tax break, the evangelical churches in Bulgaria are not prepared for any of these new challenges.

Bulgaria: What to Watch for in the November 14 Elections

November 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

Although the third for the year, on November 14 for the first time the elections will be 2 in 1 – for president and MPs. The vote is taking place at the peak of the fourth wave of coronavirus in Bulgaria and anti-epidemic measures will again be observed, and the number of those who voted with a mobile ballot box will be clear on election day.

For the second time, the voting in the sections with 300 and more voters will be only with machines, but for both votes the voting procedure will be with one device, and it will be necessary to indicate what to vote for and wait for the printing of two receipts. Therefore, it is expected that the process will be slower, and if the cases of patients in the coming days increase – this will affect the turnout.

In front of the voters
The third election of the year will be held at the peak of the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic, which may be a cause for concern among some eligible voters. For now, there will be no stricter anti-epidemic measures in the polling stations and they will remain known until now – wearing masks, disinfection, distance and frequent ventilation in the premises. From the previous two votes it cannot be concluded that the incidence will be denied by voters, as on April 4, when the peak of the third wave was, voter turnout was 50.61%, while on July 11, when there were few registered cases – only 42.19% .

Quarantined voters will be able to ask to vote with a mobile ballot box at the address where they are isolated, even on election day. It would be an obstacle if by the day of the vote in a given settlement there is no section for quarantined, as a condition to have only 10 applications submitted before. However, the Central Election Commission did not know whether it would be possible to open so many quarantined sections in recent weeks.

For the first time this year, the elections will be 2 in 1 – for president and MPs, which could lead to delays and queues in some sections. In the sections with 300 and more voters, the voting is only with machines, and the voting time is expected to be 5 minutes again.

There are two points that a voter using a device should be aware of. The first is at the beginning, when the machine asks which type of election the voter wants to vote for and whether for both – he/she can mark once and by continuing, confirm, after which he/she has no right to correction. The second is when printing the segments with the choice at the end – if the voter has exercised his/her right to vote in both votes, he/she must wait for the machine to print two receipts – one short and one longer, and pull them out after hearing a beep. If it does so while printing, the machine may lock.

The voter will also have a problem if he/she decides to take pictures of how they vote, as the recording of the vote is prohibited and the sanction is BGN 1,000.

Possible problems for the election commissions
There seem to be two main challenges for sectional election commissions – one is related to the machines and the other is to the counting of the voting receipts.

The problems with the machines can be of different nature – technical malfunctions, errors in the lists as on April 4 in Veliko Tarnovo, when there were exchanged names and numbers in one of the candidate lists, errors in cleaning, which can only be done with alcohol, etc. . A technician will be available, but if the fault is not rectified, a paper ballot will be put to the vote following a decision by the district or central commission.

Difficulty and delays in reporting the results would be caused by the decision to count all machine voting receipts, which were taken by the Central Election Commission but revoked by the Supreme Administrative Court. The commission should now determine in how many and in which sections the control receipts should be counted, and the result will be taken from the protocol printed by the machine, and the result of the control count will not be entered in the protocol.

However, the count will slow down the section commissions where it is done. After the end of the election day, the commissions will have to open the box with the receipts, divide into two piles those for the presidential and those for the parliamentary vote and then count, without taking into account the preferences for MPs. According to experts, voluntary or unintentional human errors are possible during the counting, as well as manipulations by destroying part of the receipts. This will certainly delay the transmission of the results to the district election commissions.

THE STEFAN BANKOV STORY

October 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News, Publication

One of them was Dr. Stefan Bankov, perhaps the immigrant with greatest influence for the Bulgarian Protestant scholasticism. Immigrating to the United States in 1969 after being severely persecuted in Bulgaria, Bankov earned a doctoral degree in theology and dedicated his life to one great purpose, namely the preparation of the first concordance of the Bulgarian Bible. The concordance was completed in 1986 before the era of the personal computer. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Bankov returned to Bulgaria to work with his home church of Bourgas. He is the founder and president of East-West Christian Solidarity, a nonprofit religious organization based in California which aims to provide Christ-centered evangelism, preaching, teaching, and humanitarian for Bulgaria.

Marked Man: The Rev. Dr. Stefan Bankov (1934-2021)

October 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Publication

Marked Man

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1978/november-3/new-firepower-for-fighting-war.html

The mysterious deaths in London last month of Bulgarian defectors Vladimir Simeonov and Georgi Markov didn’t surprise fellow defector Stefan Bankov. Bankov, a Christian who left Bulgaria with his family in 1969 to escape persecution, now preaches the gospel by radio to his countrymen. Working with Underground Evangelism in Glendale, California, he says that he and his family have been subjected to Communist harassment, threats, and assassination attempts.

While flying from London to Seattle in 1974, a man and woman spilled a liquid on Bankov’s shoulder that paralyzed his side and made him violently ill for several days. Two months ago, shots were fired at him outside his home. Bankov says that during his stay in the United States, there has been an attempt to kidnap his daughters. He reports that strangers have made attractive offers to his wife and daughters to get them to return to Bulgaria, and that his family has received hundreds of abusive telephone calls. A note taped recently to a window at the Bankov home warned: “You are marked. We follow you all the time.”

Bankov made these threats public only recently and after the deaths of Simeonov and Markov, who were among a group of five Bulgarian broadcasters who defected. Markov died after being stabbed by a poison-tipped umbrella. Simeonov died after falling down the stairs inside his London apartment (London authorities aren’t discounting the possibility that he was pushed), and Vladimir Kostov survived a poisoning attempt similar to that which killed Markov. A fifth broadcaster now working for Radio Free Europe hasn’t been attacked.

Currently under police protection, Bankov is cooperating with the FBI and Scotland Yard in an investigation of the deaths of the Bulgarian defectors—victims, he is sure, of foul play on the part of Bulgarian Communists. “I think their (the Communists’) main purpose is to scare every member of my family,” Bankov said of his own situation. “They want to keep us under constant psychological pressure.”

The Bulgarians apparently are upset by Bankov’s radio witness that is beamed to his homeland of nine million people. He recently received a letter from Bulgaria that warned him to leave Underground Evangelism, an organization with an evangelistic outreach to Communist countries, or “the troubles will never stop.”

Bankov attended a Bible college in Los Angeles for four years before starting his radio ministry. He works seven days a week preparing sermons and lectures in systematic theology for his Bible College of the Air. Broadcasts are aired once a day over Radio Trans Europe in Portugal and over Radio Malta.

The Bulgarian government frequently uses “ground wave jamming” to block Bankov’s broadcasts into major Bulgarian cities, according to Underground Evangelism president Joe Bass. Copies of a two-volume set of Bankov’s sermons and lectures, as well as cassette tapes of his broadcasts, are being smuggled into that Communist nation.

Bankov became a Christian in 1953, and he later pastored an independent church in Bulgaria until the government closed it in 1964. Bankov still owns the tattered New Testament, held together by a rubber band, that was his only resource during his ministry in Bulgaria.

The forty-five-year-old Bankov is accustomed to persecution. Before he escaped Bulgaria, Bankov says he was “constantly under pressure.” “It was a difficult time with the Bulgarian government.… They accused me of being mentally sick because I could not see the progress of the Communist party or of the Socialist society.”

Bankov, who creates most of his own teaching materials during twelve- and fourteen-hour working days, fears most for the safety of his family. As he intends to continue his radio ministry, he says, “My prayer every day is just, ‘Lord, help the kids and my wife to understand.’ ”

East-West Christian Solidarity, Inc.

Glendale, California 91225

Mission:

East-West Christian Solidarity was founded by Dr. Stefan Bankov, an internationally recognized Christian leader who survived Communism and the Cold War. Rev. Bankov was an underground pastor in Bulgaria from 1958 to 1969. He emerged from behind the Iron Curtain in 1969, after escaping a prison death sentence by the communist leaders in Bulgaria. He has survived communist torture, beatings, and attempted murder. After his escape, Pastor Bankov continued to preach to the Bulgarians by radio broadcasts from Trans World Radio and Radio Ibra. Dr. Bankov has spoken before members of Parliament in Australia, in churches of countless denominations, and his name has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and on television in several countries. Dr. Bankov has also authored many books–including the first Slavic Bible Concordance for the Eastern Bloc countries. After the fall of communism, Dr. Bankov returned to Bulgaria, his native homeland, to plant new churches, minister to the needs of people in this third world country, and contribute to the country’s long-term development. East-West Christian Solidarity offers preaching, teaching, literature, and humanitarian relief, in addition to planting, building and supporting churches even in the large Muslim population in remote areas of Bulgaria. Dr. Bankov has over 35 years of experience in providing underground evangelism, outreach and humanitarian relief in Bulgaria. For more information, please contact us.

BULGARIA represented with 5 lemmata in the printed BEGP

October 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, News

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism (BEGP) provides a comprehensive overview of worldwide Pentecostalism from a range of disciplinary perspectives. It offers analysis at the level of specific countries and regions, historical figures, movements and organizations, and particular topics and themes. The published volume is now available along with the online version of the Encyclopedia

Trends and Issues Affecting Asian Missions and The Next American Spirituality

September 30, 2021 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, Publication

“Three Trends and Three Issues Affecting Asian Missions” and the figures given by David Barrett present a Macedonian Call to 3.7 billion people with some 9% Christians, which is no small issue in global missions today. At the same time, America becoming the third largest mission field in the world is the obvious antipode of missionary need in the Western hemisphere. The parallels in post-modernity are many.

About 20 years ago, a book called “The Next American Spirituality” summarized the culture of today’s American spirituality and its relation to the apostolic church. The main question is, “What would a theology of the church look like that took seriously the fact that North America is now itself a mission field?”

To answer the question, Gallup and Jones examined how America does Biblical spirituality, using the gathered data to analyze its shift and direction. According to their survey, the marks of the next American spirituality were going to be (in short):

  1. Bull-market church growth
  2. Self-centered religion of me and thee
  3. Hunger for experience – any experience
  4. Search of roots amid the relativism
  5. Quest for community resulting in self-belongingness and self-realization

In our current context of ministry two decades later, all of the above signs are evident and true. This is due on hand to the constant shift in the cultural paradigm, as well as the obvious shift in the identity and practices of the Christian church in the postmodern context. It almost seems like instead of being the model, the church is following a model, which not only changes the churches identity but interferes with its original evangelistic goal and global mission.

2021 Catalog of Immigrant Bulgarian Evangelical Churches around the World

September 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchBulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European  Union (2017 Report)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in America (2017 Report)

  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Chicago (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Texas (2017 Report)
  • Bulgarian Evangelical Churches – West Coast (2017 Report)
  • Atlanta (active since 1996)
  • Los Angeles (occasional/outreach of the Foursquare Church – Mission Hills, CA)
  • Las Vegas (outreach of the Foursquare Church – http://lasvegaschurch.tv)
  • San Francisco (occasional/inactive since 2012, Berkeley University/Concord, CA)

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in Canada (2017 Report)

  • Toronto (inactive since 2007)
  • Toronto/Slavic (active since 2009)
  • Montreal (occasional/inactive since 2012)

CURRENTLY INACTIVE CHURCHES/CONGREGATIONS:

  • New York, NY (currently inactive)
  • Buffalo, NY  (occasional/inactive)
  • Jacksonville, FL  (occasional/inactive since 2014)
  • Ft. Lauderdale / Miami  (currently inactive)
  • Washington State, Seattle area (currently inactive)
  • Minneapolis, MN (occasional/inactive since 2015)

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Bibliata.com celebrates 25 years in online ministry by reading through the whole New Testament in one day

September 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

One of our first ministry websites, Bibliata.com just celebrated 25 years of ministry online. It began in the fall of 1996 with the sole purpose to reach Bulgarians online with the Bible. We began the Bibliata.com anniversary celebration with an out loud reading through the whole Bulgarian Bible on September 16 involving many churches and Christian communities in Bulgaria and abroad.

After 25 years with several million annual views and visitors, it has become the standard for the Bulgarian Bible online. Through the years, virtually all Bulgarian Bible versions as well as many others in foreign and original tongues were published. Audio Bible, Video Bible, extensive Bible commentary, a national sermon archive, multiple device apps and Bible study platforms are only a few of the projects completed. Additionally, a new Bulgarian translation in the works since 2007 is close to its publication date for the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. But this is not all…

The story of the Bulgarian Bible online is centered not only in products and projects, but in the very people we work with to create a community of believers, who pray, talk, grow and live together in the footsteps of the Savior. And this is worth much more than just 25 years of work and perseverance…

9/11 REVERSAL: Prophetic Restoration of a Nation and the Glory of God

September 10, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, News

In 1994, as a prophetic warning to the nation some seven years before the 9/11 attacks, Dr. David Franklin wrote “A Call to Righteousness: Impending Judgment.” Drawing conclusions from Ezekiel’s chapter 12 desolation, destruction, dispersion, despair and prophetic hope in chapter 14, he warns that:

(1)   When a nation persists in violence, the Sovereign Lord confronts and holds responsible
(2)   When a nation forgets God, He allows for times of repentance
(3)   If repentance is ignored, God will expose and execute judgment on an unfaithful nation.

The book continues with a call for international righteousness (p. 10) and a critique of the debt-free myth proclaiming a time of economic shift (p. 11-12). Remember, this warning was written two decades before anyone in America had mentioned foreclosure, crises or global economic crises. But my favorite chapter still is the interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision of the departure of the Glory of God (p. 20-21).

I read this book back in 1999 and frankly had forgotten about it until 2011 when, at a young ministers training camp in the mountains of Bulgaria, we experienced what we consider the most genuine appearance of the Glory of God in our whole ministry. We wrote about it then and presented our observation at the 2012 Missions Conference at the Good Shepherd Church of God inPahokee,FL. The four points of our observation carry a tremendous prophetic resemblance to what Dr. David Franklin had proclaimed in his book 18 years ago:

(1) Every time God renews His covenant with His people, He shows His presence.

(2) We know that God is present in the covenant, because He shows His glory. It happened to Moses and his generation. And it also happened to Solomon several hundred years later.

(3) When a generation looses the vision of the Glory of God, God begins renewing His covenant again with a new generation.

(4) God is not satisfied with a people who know the signs and the blessings of the covenant. He rests not until He is revealed as the God of the covenant.

 

Bulgarian Evangelical Churches in the European Union (2021 Report)

August 5, 2021 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-church

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