30 Years of Miracles: 2004

October 15, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

2004 Ministry Strategy (January 11, 2004)

Recently, we held another training seminar for the Yambol region. More than 80 local church leaders joined together. Prayer clothes representing the needs of the sick were brought to the meeting, and our team had received a number of healings reports. Among them, Shtiliana Paskova from the village of Leyarovo was miraculously healed of a tumor the size of a tennis ball, which had been determined by doctors as cancerous. Also, Maria Miteva received a vision during the prayer for healing, that God was healing her. Immediately after the prayer she felt that the long-years of back pain for which no medicine had been able to help her had miraculously left.

Our active churches in 2004 (February 26, 2004)

Since September 1996, our work in Bulgaria has grown tremendously from two village churches to a Regional Pentecostal Fellowship of more than ten local congregations within the Church of God. As our team of eight ministers averages over 100 services per month, we are faithfully providing pastoral care for the following churches:

  1. Alexandrovo Church 45 miles away from Yambol has 10 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since May, 2001.
  2. Bogorovo Church 38 miles away from Yambol has 30 members including the mayor. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since October, 2000.
  3. Dobrinovo Church 42 miles away from Yambol has 30 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 3 services per week there since March, 2003.
  4. Iretchekovo Church 20 miles away from Yambol has 26 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since January, 2003.
  5. Kamenetz Church 32 miles away from Yambolhas 50 members including the mayor.  Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 5 services per week there since February, 2000.
  6. Kozarevo Church 7 miles way from Yambolhas 58 members.  Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since December, 2003.
  7. Leyarovo Church 38 miles away from Yambolhas 12 members including the mayor.  Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 2 services per week there since May, 2000.
  8. Lulin Church 28 miles away from Yambolhas 17 members including the mayor.  Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 2 services per week there since October, 2000.
  9. Parvenetz Church 35 miles away from Yambol has 6 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since March, 2003.
  10. Polyana Church 52 miles away from Yambol has 60 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 2 services per week there since October, 1999.
  11. Robovo Church 38 miles away from Yambolhas 10 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since May, 2000.
  12. Tamarino Church 30 miles away from Yambolhas 10 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 1 service per week there since December, 2002.
  13. Tchukarovo Church 52 miles away from Yambolhas 12 members including the mayor.  Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 2 services per week there since May, 2000.
  14. Vodenitchane Church 26 miles away from Yambol has 16 members. Cup & Cross Ministry Team has held 2 services per week there since January, 2003.

A MAN ALIVE (May 5, 2004)

The communion service our team held on the Thursday before Easter in the Kamenetz church lasted over five hours.  Close to midnight, my mother and her team opened an altar service and prayed for the sick. One lady whose brother was deathly ill brought for prayer a tank top that belonged to her brother. They prayed for the healing of the man and laid hands on the tank top believing for a miracle. Unfortunately, several days later the man died in his home. The family brought a casket to the home and began preparing for the funeral. In the Bulgarian villages this is usually done in the house of the deceased. His sister wished to use the tank top as a part of his burial clothing. As the tank top touched his dead body, her brother came back to life. Afraid that he may get shocked at the view of the burial preparations and the casket, the family did not allow him to see it. Right now, the man is alive while the unused casket is locked in another room of the house. On Easter Sunday, Bulgarians greet each other with the greeting, “Christ is risen.” The response is, “He is risen indeed.” Having heard of the story of the resurrected man, the people from our churches and from the villages in the region have been greeting each other with the words, “Christ is risen and we are risen with Him!”

Over 100,000 Bulgarian Protestants (September 1, 2004)

For the past two years, along with regularly-held weekly services, the Cup & Cross team in Bulgaria has been working on a survey purposing to establish the geographical location and historical background of all Protestant churches in the Yambol region. We are happy to announce that the completion of this survey was marked with a healing crusade in the town of Sliven. Our team has traveled and introduced our ministry to every Protestant church in the Yambol region and has compiled a detailed analysis which will become a  part of our ministry strategy.

A Weekend of Revival (September 17, 2004)

On Friday, September 17, 2004 a group with one vision gathered for prayer and fasting at the church in the village of Liulin. Each of the leaders brought five people from his or her local church to participate in the day of consecration before the Lord. The day finished with a powerful church service in the evening which continued with testimonies and praise. The group then traveled to the church in Kamenetz where they continued the fasting through Saturday and then held a healing service in the evening.

October Ministry Report (October 1, 2004)

In the month of September, Cup & Cross Ministries started a new service in the town of Zimnitza which is located northwest of Yambol. In the past, our team has held services and crusades in the area, however, the new weekly service is not alike any of them. The service is specifically designed for people with a terminal diagnosis. Since our ministry began holding healing services every week, the number of healing testimonies have grown significantly. This present endeavor has an evangelistic character and is organized exclusively by people who have been healed by God. The service purposes to create an environment in which people who have been healed minister to people who need healing. Here are the testimonies of the participants:

  1. Genka Z. from the village of Pollyana, 46 years of age and a member of the village ministry team presented a need for healing of her two baby grandchildren. They were sent home from the hospital with severe stomachaches after the doctors were unable to diagnose them. On October 22, 1999 our team prayed for two baby clothes which were brought to the children. Approximately two hours after the prayer, the pain disappeared and for the babies stopped crying. Last year, the children traveled with our team to a water baptism service and quoted psalms.
  2. The testimony of the grandmother Genka, however, is even greater. In 2000, at the age of 42, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. The Bourgas Oncology Hospital sent her home in April of 2000 with no hope. The church prayed for her and she is still living today.
  3. In 2001, a heavy roof collapsed on her. She spent the next six months in a cast with the left side of her body completely paralyzed, praying for healing and for the salvation of her family. The church prayed for her again and the Lord healed her. It was then that she opened her house for the prayer meetings each Monday and Thursday. Today her whole family including three daughters, three son-in-laws and three grandchildren are saved.

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.
~Kingdom
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)

30 Years of Miracles: 2003

October 10, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

February Ministry Report (February 27, 2003)

We held several training seminars as well as parallel prayer meetings. In the middle of the seminar on healing, a lady from one of the local churches stood and announced that she must leave the meeting because her husband who had a stroke was at home alone. Apparently, he was unable to move due to the stroke and needed her care. Her vocal announcement was the least to say discouraging for the healing hour of the seminar. However, the feeling of disappointment did not persist much longer. Several hours later as we were gathered in prayer, the same lady phoned the church where we were gathered to tell us that as she returned home from the meeting her husband had told her that he wants to get up and walk. She listened to him with disbelief since the doctors had said he may never walk again. That same day he slowly walked on his own around the house. The next day he was able to make several steps in the yard. God’s power followed his wife from the meetings to their house and healed him. The newer people who attended our meetings were strongly impressed by the numerous healings and the fact that none of the several hindered people who are members of our Christian movement is sick. Our prayers for healing are always supported by strong and continuous fasting. Now these newer people have began chain prayer and fasting in their villages and are constantly reporting of healings in their areas as well. Most of our recent meetings have turned to testimony services where people who have been sick just a week ago travel to our meetings to testify how God has healed them after the prayers of the Pentecostal Christians.

Second Regional Training Conference  (March 30, 2003)

In our last report we shared with you that at the training conference in February 2003, in the middle of the seminar on healing, a lady from one of the local churches stood and announced that she must leave the meeting because her husband who had a stroke was at home alone. Apparently, he was unable to move due to the stroke and needed her care. Her vocal announcement was the least to say discouraging for the healing hour of the seminar. However, the feeling of disappointment did not persist much longer. Several hours later as we were gathered in prayer, that same lady phoned the church where we were gathered to tell us that as she returned home from the meeting her husband had told her that he wanted to get up and walk. She listened to him with disbelief since the doctors had said he may never walk again. That same day he slowly walked on his own around the house. The next day he was able to take several steps in the yard. God’s power followed his wife from the meetings to their house and healed him. This lady brought her husband with her to the training conference on Saturday March 15. They both sang songs which the Spirit has given them in the past several months through which the husband has been sick and testified about God’s mercy and healing power. After the seminar a 53 year old lady from the church in Polyana, where we have been struggling to purchase a building for a church for almost two years, reported that the Lord healed her at the conference. All her life she has had severe heart problems. For years she has taken heart medications and followed the advice of her family doctor. The night after the seminar she had a dream in which a team of doctors dressed in bright white clothes operated on her heart. She woke up in the middle of the night feeling that the heaviness in her chest had diapered. In the morning, she threw away all her medications as she felt no need to use them any longer. Several days later she went for her regular check up with the doctor who she had been seeing for the past 15 years, and who for years had been recommending her for surgery. After the checkup he told her that her heart seemed to be completely restored and fully functional. Being familiar with her medical history the doctor was amazed how such a thing may occur.

Easter in Bulgaria (May 11, 2003)

At the end of the Easter service we had a prayer for the sick. Several healings took place. A lady from the village with a severe lymph infection that had deformed her whole neck area was momentarily healed as the large nodes on her neck disappeared during the prayer and was witnessed by all present. The following Saturday, May 3, our team led the third Women of Godliness seminar this year organized in the Yambol area. The topics discuss were Mary Magdalene as the first witness of the resurrection and the women which Paul mentions in Romans chapter 16. We were unable to finish the second topic as the Holy Spirit gave a prophetic word to several ladies directing the seminar toward an all night prayer meeting. All through the night God dealt with the people who were praying as several were healed during this time. Since this spontaneous prayer meeting, many have testified of God’s miraculous power.

Pentecost Sunday in Bulgaria (June 16, 2003)

Several miracles happened during the water baptism. A 52 year old lady from the village of Polyana with a ruptured disk who has spent the past several months in a cast was carried to the service to be baptized. She was healed momentarily. A 58 year old man from the Luilin church who has had a similar condition for the past 20 years due to a work injury was healed during the water baptism service as well. A lady with 75% blindness in both eyes received water baptism in the Black Sea. After the baptism she washed her eyes in the sea water with faith and God restored her sight completely. A couple from the Luilin church, who have been separated for several years, took water baptism together and made a commitment to restore their marriage vows. This is the fifth divorced couple whose marriage has been restored under our ministry in the past year.

St. Peter’s Day in Bulgaria (June 30, 2003)

Many of the people of our congregations had been fasting and praying for this event all week. More than 200 people attended. Among them were presbyters and pastors from several congregations from the Yambol region. The meeting had three parts as the opening one was the presentation of the history of our ministry as well as our vision and strategy. Then a message on Christian living was brought in the second part. The third part included several testimonies of God’s power and presence. A great number of healing testimonies were presented as a result of three days of fasting which the people have undertaken. The conclusion of the third meeting included prayer for the sick as people were singing, “There is power, power, wonder-working power in the blood of the Lamb!” We were also able to provide lunch as time of fellowship before the closing of the conference.

Praise Reports from Bulgaria (July 29, 2003)

In the village of Bogovrovo, while the people were eating lunch several remained in prayer for a lady born with both her arm and leg deformed. During the prayer the lady through her cane away and began praising the Lord who had completely healed her arm. The lady is from the village of Polyana and she has been attending our services there for several months now. It had not rained at all in the village this spring. Several years ago as they experienced similar draught they called on our team for prayers. As we prayed for the village the weather suddenly changed and it rained for about 10 days. As the draught repeated this year several people in the village suggested they call on our team for prayer. The mayor of the village sarcastically noted that things like these are impossible. As our team arrived to Polyana, the people immediately asked us to pray for rain. It happened in exactly the way the village mayor had mocked. As we prayed outside the Orthodox Church building it started to rain. The whole village gathered around us to observe4 our prayer and to rejoice for what God had done.

August Ministry Report (August 30, 2003)

We have had a very successful month of ministry. Although we have been pressed by the hot weather our team traveled regularly and we again held over 100 services in July. We are continuing to receive healing reports from our training conferences in June and July. The people who were healed during the services have been examined by doctors as their deliverance has been certified by medical records. Some of them have traveled with our teams to different churches to testify in the services for their healing miracles. This has brought an extraordinary anointing and faith in the services and has helped in bringing a great number of new converts. So far ten miracles have been reported as follows:

  1. Tonka Dimitrova (age 31) from Zimnitsa healed from breast cancer.
  2. Velichka Panaiotova (age 68) from the village Vodenichane was healed from ulcer she had for more than ten years.
  3. Penka Boeva (age 68) from Lulin had a fractured shoulder seven years ago that did not heal properly and a pinched a nerve disabled the control over her right arm and developed into Parkinson. She was healed instantly.
  4. Shtilqna Paskova from Leyarovo (age 70) had a tumor in the left arm since the age of 23, severe kidney infection and osteonecrosis in the right leg. She was healed at the water baptismal service.
  5. Stoiana Dimitrova (age 70) with an atrophied right arm for 11 years was healed instantly.
  6. Maria Zheliazkova (age 66) from Bogorovo with long-term osteonecrosis – healed instantly.
  7. Genka Zlateva (age 40) from Polyana with muscular atrophy with a pinched nerve unable to move for 1Ѕ years, was brought to the meeting and was healed after the prayer.
  8. Todorka Atanasova (age 58) from Leyarovo with a severely damaged third spinal vertebra was healed after the meeting.
  9. Ginka Petrova (age 65) from Leyarovo with constant migraine and headache conditions since the age of five was healed at the water baptism service and reports that she has no headache since.
  10. As we reported in the last newsletter, our churches united in a prayer for rain. We provided a copy to each member with a special prayer calling on all believers, Protestants, Orthodox, Catholics, Jews and even Muslims, to ask God for rain. As a result, in the month of July every village where we minister has been blessed with abundance of rain.

Revival Harvest Campaign (September 5, 2003)

Among the several healing reports which we received in September one stands out among the rest. It is the testimony of a 68-year old lady who had been sick for many years. After supporting her in a 21-day fast in the middle of the night she felt a strong electrical power going through her body and heard a voice that told her, “Go and testify, God healed me, God healed me, God healed me. Needless to say she did not go back to sleep that night. Early in the morning she went to the doctor who after a thorough check-up certified a complete healing of the disease.

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.
~Kingdom
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)

30 Years of Miracles: 2002

October 5, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Week 22 of Mission BULGARIA 2002 (January 13-20, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

This past Sunday we traveled to Pravetz for a coordinating meeting with pastors and members from the area. In the small upper room 64 were present not only from Pravetz but also from the towns of Botevegrad, Yablanitza, Etropole and I brought a short message on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, after which we had prayer for healing. People were coming to the front crying and kneeling wherever they found a place to receive prayer by the pastors. There was hardly any room to walk around the pulpit, as God poured out His Spirit and many were touched.

Week 24 of Mission BULGARIA 2002 (January 17-February 2, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

On Wednesday we started the service with a new worship team of seven musicians and singers and then I preached on Galatians chapter three. During the altar service we witnessed a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit as many cried, prayed and received miracles from God. Another good report came from the small village in the Rodopi Mountains (Southern Bulgaria). The village is close to the Turkish border and it is completely Muslim. The only three Christian converts were Pentecostal. In the beginning of this week they were approached by the Muslim imam (local chief of the town mosque), who asked them of their faith. As they explained what they believed, the imam who was in a wheel chair said, “If your God is real he can heal me now, can’t He?” The Christians prayed for him right on the small city squire in front of the mosque and the village people. The imam was instantly and completely healed. It was reported that by the end of the week the mosque was closed because no one attended any longer.

Week 24 of Mission BULGARIA 2002 (February 3-10, 2002 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

On Sunday we held a Communion service in the Pravetz Church of God. There, the more traditional for the Bulgarian Church of God style of taking Communion is still preserved, as it includes foot washing and a special prayer for the sick with anointing. After the service two reported instant healing.

Reporting from Bulgaria (October 1, 2002)

We have had services every day since July 9, 2002. Our team was able to start a new church in the Nedaialsko village. At first we began our meetings in the Orthodox temple there. As the congregation is growing rapidly, we believe for miracles among the younger people in the village. In another village, Kamenetz, the mayor sent us firewood to prepare for the coming winter. He and two other men cut and split the wood themselves and now we are ready for the winter. We have 5 services every week in that village. The believers have organized a continuous chain fast and prayer as God has answered many prayers, healed and given miracles in various situations. They are also very committed in helping our team.

December 2002 Day by Day Ministry Report from Bulgaria (December 31, 2002)

December 1: Dinner at the Gipsy church of Apo, Yambol

Services in Alexandrovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 2: Services in Polyana, Kamenetz and Leyarovo (80 miles traveled)

December 3: Regular radio broadcast and Bible study seminar at Kamenetz

(60 miles traveled)

December 4: District service with people from Polyana, Kamenetz, Saransko and Leyarovo (60 people present/ 86 miles traveled)

December 5: Services in Lulin, Bogorovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (80 miles traveled)

December 6: Services in Blatetz (44 miles traveled)

December 8: Services in Alexandrovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 9: Services in Polyana and Kamenetz and Leyarovo (80 miles traveled)

December 10: Regular radio broadcast and service at Kamenetz (60 miles traveled)

December 11: Services in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 15: Services in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 16: Services in Alexandrovo, Polyana, Kamenetz and Leyarovo (83 miles traveled)

December 17: Regular radio broadcast and service in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 18: Service in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 19: Services in Lulin, Bogorovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (80 miles traveled)

December 21: Services in Lulin (65 miles traveled)

December 22: Services in Alexandrovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 23: Services in Leyarovo (86 miles traveled)

December 24: Regular radio broadcast and service in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 25: Christmas service in Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 26: Christmas service in Lulin (73 miles traveled)

December 27: Christmas service for the churches of Saransko, Tamarino and Lulin (110 present)

December 29: Services in Alexandrovo, Polyana and Kamenetz (65 miles traveled)

December 30: Home prayer service in Yambol because of heavy snow

December 31: Home prayer service in Yambol because of heavy snow

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.
~Kingdom
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)

30 Years of Miracles: 2001

October 1, 2020 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

Week 7 of Mission BULGARIA 2001 (September 30 – October 6, 2001 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

We had two meetings in Varna – on Saturday night in the largest auditorium in the city and on Sunday morning in the Evangelical Pentecostal Church in town. More than 3,000 attended. The Lord touched us all, as the Gospel was preached. Many were healed and testified in the services.

Week 8 of Mission BULGARIA 2001 (Week 8 – October 7-13, 2001 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

On Saturday we had two meetings in the largest auditorium in Bulgaria at the National Palace of Culture. More than 7,000 attended as people came with buses from their local churches. More than 150 Church of God congregations were represented, as many of the visitors were from other denominations as well. We preached, prayed worshiped and ministered to the people throughout the whole day, as the Lord confirmed his Word with miracles and healings. The services continued on Sunday as well. At the later service some 300 men, women and children gave their lives to Christ. More than 40 people testified that they have been healed since we started the series of crusades four weeks ago. The most amazing fact is that God touched children who testified of their healing.

Week 9 of Mission BULGARIA 2001 (Week 9 – October 13-20, 2001 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

My further work has daily included a few hours as coordinator at the Bulgarian Church of God Headquarters in Sofia and the participation of the last four crusades organized in the cities of Lom, Samokov, Varna and Sofia. The numbers total to more than 300 saved and 40 healed.

Week 14 of Mission BULGARIA 2001 (Week 14 November 17-24, 2001 Sofia, BULGARIA)

I had to take a trip to my hometown Yambol this week to check on the ministry of the mission team there and to renew my driver’s license. On the way back to Sofia on Friday, we stopped at a town called Sliven nearby Yambol. As mother and I walked in the street a lady in her mid 40s stopped us and asked if we recognized her. I did not, but mother did and even remembered her name, Maria. Maria attended the church in Yambol a few years ago when I served as an associate pastor there. She had a large tumor-like mass in her back and the doctors urged her to let them operate. In one on the services, she said, I prayed for her and the Lord healed her. As she went back to the doctors a few weeks later, they could not find even a trace of a tumor or cancer formation.

Week 15 of Mission BULGARIA 2001 (November 25 – December 1, 2001 – Sofia, BULGARIA)

This past Wednesday night (November 28) we had the best church service since I have come back. About 150 were present and I preached on Revelation chapters 14 and 15. The text finished with the passage about the glory of God. Then God touched us. At the altars people were crying everywhere, kneeling and falling on their faces. Four were healed – one from severe headache, one from pain in the kidneys, one from heart problems and one from pain in the lower back. I praise the Lord for all these and expect even more reports.

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.
~Kingdom
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)

The Great Decline of religion in 60 years

June 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Featured, News

Great Decline in religion graph

Religiosity index shows the changes in religious activity in the United States.

Religiosity in the United States is in the midst of what might be called ‘The Great Decline.’ Previous declines in religion pale in comparison. Over the past fifteen years, the drop in religiosity has been twice as great as the decline of the 1960s and 1970s.

How do we track this massive change in American religion? We start with information from rigorous, scientific surveys on worship service attendance, membership in congregations, prayer, and feelings toward religion. We then use a computer algorithm to track over 400 survey results over the past 60 years. The result is one measure that charts changes to religiosity through the years. (You can see all the details here).

The graph of this index tells the story of the rise and fall of religious activity. During the post-war, baby-booming 1950s, there was a revival of religion. Indeed, some at the time considered it a third great awakening. Then came the societal changes of the 1960s, which included a questioning of religious institutions. The resulting decline in religion stopped by the end of the 1970s, when religiosity remained steady. Over the past fifteen years, however, religion has once again declined. But this decline is much sharper than the decline of 1960s and 1970s. Church attendance and prayer is less frequent. The number of people with no religion is growing. Fewer people say that religion is an important part of their lives. All measures point to the same drop in religion: If the 1950s were another Great Awakening, this is the Great Decline.

90 Years Ago Pastor Nicholas Nikolov Established the Pentecostal Union of Bulgaria

March 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Events, Featured, Missions, News

By the fall of 1927 the Pentecostal revival from Bourgas extended to several outreaches. Appropriate recognition was given by the General Council of the Assemblies of God in their September, 1927 meeting. The Latter Rain Evangel also reported revival in Bulgaria, workers trained at the Bible School and a good number saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit.

 With this avid success and the arrival of Nikolov’s first-born son on November 9, 1927 came the second attempt to unite Bulgarian Pentecostals. A preliminary meeting was held in February of 1928 in Rouse where the Union’s establishing meeting was scheduled for March 28 in Bourgas.

To no surprise, only 14 delegates representing five congregations attended. The delegates voted and received the Union’s by-laws and statement of faith, based on the same documents by the Assemblies of God in America. The first annual conference of the new Union followed in October in Varna. A national General Council was set and the Executive Committee was chaired by Pastor Nikolov – at the time of his appointment he was only 28 years of age.

Trained in the United States and familiar with the Assemblies of God structure, Nikolov purposed to replicate the same organization in Bulgaria. Unfortunately, most Bulgarian Pentecostals in 1928 did not have a clear perception of the Assemblies of God and hardly felt part of the denomination. With only 20 members, the new organization was a small minority and did not represent the vast diversity within Bulgarian Pentecostalism at the time. Neither did it cause the split among Bulgarian Pentecostals as often held. The official registration of the Pentecostal Union simply confirmed the deepening division among Pentecostals in Bulgaria that had taken place since Zaplishny was deported in 1924.

Bibliata.com celebrates 20 years in ministry by reading through the whole New Testament in one day

September 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, News

After a week of revival services in Rousse, on Saturday we held a public reading of the New Testament in about nine hours with the whole congregation. We recorded and published the video of the reading as an encouragement for the rest of the churches.

110 Years Ago the First Bulgarian Mission in Chicago was Started

May 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Featured, Missions, News

bulgarian-churchIn May 1907, sponsored by the Chicago Tract Society, Petko Vasilev opened the Bulgarian Christian House in Chicago. The facilities had beds and a kitchen and served as a hotel and a shelter for new immigrants. In 1908, the name was changed to Bulgarian Christian Society and later was relocated several times.

A second similar work was started at the same time by Daniel Protoff called the Russian Christian Mission. Located in Chicago, it supported church services and a Bible school. In 1909, the City Missionary Society called Basil Keusseff to lead the mission. Keusseff was a Bulgarian born minister who was converted in Romania and was a graduate of the school in Samokov and Cliff College in Sheffield, England. In the 1890s, Keusseff pastored the Baptist church in Lom and then moved to Pittsburgh where he worked with Robert Bamber, pastor of the Turtle Creek Christian Church. The mission ministered to Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Croatian, Macedonian and Turkish minorities.

Around 1910, the ministry of the Bulgarian Christian Society was aided by Reverend Paul Mishkoff, a student at Moody Bible Institute. Coming from a poor but strong Protestant family, Mishkoff was called to preach at a very early age. He studied in the school at Samokov and was often sent to preach in the nearby villages. After finishing the school, Mishkoff decided to come and study at the Moody Bible Institute. He was helped by a Methodist missionary who gave him four dollars – the price of a third-class ticket from Sofia to New York where he was put on the immigrant’s train to Chicago. He was denied admission to Moody with the explanation that there was neither room nor funds for him. With no job and no money, the young preacher had to find food at the saloons where it was offered free for ones who drank. During his struggles, Mishkoff had lost all his possessions except a pocket size New Testament. In his personal story, he recalled, “But I had the copy of the Bulgarian Testament in my pocket not only to keep it, but to read it when I was sitting on the benches of the Union Station and other public places night after night. My soul was wakened anew. An ambition was roused in me: I must prepare myself for a preacher any way.” Through a financial miracle, Mishkoff was eventually able to graduate from the Moody Bible Institute. During the course of his studies, he was supported by Chicago Tract Society and he was able to minister to the 5,000 Bulgarians living in Chicago.

Also in 1910, the Bulgarian Christian Society established a library which served the Bulgarian community for over twenty years. The congregation of the mission numbered about fifty. The ministry included English classes and immigration law seminars. Several changes in the leadership of the mission began in 1921. In 1924, the mission was headed by Zaprian Vidoloff and the mission was renamed the Bulgarian Christian Mission. Vidoloff was a graduate of the Samokov School in 1910, a student of philosophy at the University of Sofia and a graduate of Union Theological College in Chicago. He entered pastoral ministry in 1915 and later served as the secretary of the Baptist Union. At the same time, he was secretary of the Bulgarian legation in Washington, D.C. from 1921 to 1923.

All Bulgarian religious organizations initiated by evangelicals before 1930 existed as missions. In February 1932, the First Bulgarian Church pastored by Joseph Hristov was started in Chicago.

How to Start a Bulgarian Church in America from A-to-Z

Chicago’s Narragansett Church of God Celebrates 70 Years

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, News, Research

Rev. James Slay of the Narragansett Church of God in Chicago was commissioned to write the book entitled, THIS WE BELIEVE in connection to the 1948 Church of God Declaration of Faith.  During the forties, you could see him driving around Cleveland in a white and green Packard. His hair was much longer then and somewhat wavy. Later, he was heard preaching a sermon at the Narragansett Church of God in Chicago a sermon titled: “God setteth the door ajar and flings it wide open when necessary.”

On August 30, 1948, the Church of God General Assembly adopted the Church of God Declaration of Faith. Rev. James L. Slay was the chair of the committee that drafted the 14 item statement. Along with its adoption, the Assembly also recommended: “That the same Articles of Faith Committee, consisting of James L. Slay, Earl P. Paulk, Glenn C. Pettyjohn, J.L. Goins, J.A. Cross, Paul H. Walker, R.P. Johnson, E.M. Ellis, and R.C. Muncy, prepare a full document of the ‘Articles of Faith of the Church of God,’ to be presented for acceptance at the next General Assembly of the Church of God.” Despite the General Assembly recommendation, the Declaration of Faith has not been modified since its adoption in 1948.

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Ocoee Church of God Celebrates 40 Years

November 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Featured, News

ocoee-church-of-godHistorical Significance of the Tennessee/Georgia Old Federal Road in the Trail of Tears and its Connection to the Church of God

New Echota, Georgia was the capital of the Cherokee Nation from 1825 to 1838.  This is the location where the Treaty of New Echota or the Treaty of 1835 was signed on December 29, 1835 by U.S. government officials and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction called “The Treaty Party” or “Ridge Party”. This treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council nor signed by Principal Chief John Ross. Regardless, it established terms under which the Cherokee Nation were to receive a sum not exceeding five millions dollars for surrendering their lands and possessions east of the Mississippi river to the U.S. Government and agreeing to move to the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River, which later became part of Oklahoma.

The Red Clay State Historic Park, located 17 miles southwest of the Church of God Headquarter in Cleveland, Tennessee, marks the last location of the Cherokee councils where Chief John Ross and nearly 15,000 Cherokees rejected the proposed Treaty of 1835. Despite the questionable legitimacy of this Treaty, in March 1838, it was amended and ratified by the U.S. Senate and became the legal basis for the forcible removal of the Cherokee Nation known as the Trail of Tears.  The name came from the Cherokees who called the removal “Nunna-da-ul-tsun-yi,” which means “the place where they cried.” The last pieces of land controlled by the Cherokee Nation at that time were North Georgia, Northern Alabama and parts of Tennessee and North Carolina. The forced journey was through three major land routes. Each route could have taken some 1,000 miles and over four months to walk. The removal of the Cherokees and other tribes from their homelands in the Southeast began May 16, 1838.

The Georgia Road or present day Federal Road was a route of the Trail of Tears that the Cherokee people walked during their forced removal from their homelands.  The route was built from 1803 to 1805 through the newly formed Cherokee Nation on a land concession secured with the 1805 Treaty of Tellico with the agreement that the U.S. Government would pay the Cherokee Nation $1,600.00. The Treaty was signed on October 25, 1805 at The Tellico Blockhouse (1794 – 1807) – an early American outpost located along the Little Tennessee River in Vonore, Monroe County, Tennessee that functioned as the location of official liaisons between the United States government and the Cherokee. The route was originally purposed to be a mail route because of the great need to link the expanding settlements during the westward expansion of the U.S. colonies. It was in 1819 after improvements to the road that it was called “the Federal Road”.

The Tellico Blockhouse was the starting point for the Old Federal Road, which connected Knoxville to Cherokee settlements in Georgia.  The route ran from Niles Ferry on the Little Tennessee River near the present day U.S. Highway 411 Bridge, southward into Georgia. Starting from the Niles Ferry Crossing of the Little Tennessee River, near the U.S. Highway 411 bridge, the road went straight to a point about two miles east of the present town of Madisonville, Tennessee. This location is 20 some miles north of the Tellico Plains area that marks the site of the beginning of the Church Cleveland, Tennessee. The road continued southward via the Federal Trail connecting to the North Old Tellico Highway past the present site of Coltharp School, intersected Tennessee Highway 68 for a short distance and passed the site of the Nonaberg Church.  East of Englewood, Tennessee it continued on the east side of McMinn Central High School and crossed Highway 411 near the railroad overpass.  Along the west side of Etowah, the road continued near Cog Hill and the Hiwassee River near the mouth of Conasauga Creek where there was a ferry near the site of the John Hildebrand Mill.  From the ferry on the Hiwassee River the road ran through the site of the present Benton, Tennessee courthouse.  It continued on Welcome Valley Road and then crossed the Ocoee River at the Hildebrand Landing. From this point the road ran south and crossed U.S. Highway 64 where there is now the River Hills Church of God formerly the Ocoee Church of God.  Continuing south near Old Fort, the route crossed U.S. Highway 411 and came to the Conasauga River at McNair Landing. Near the south end of the village of Tennga, Georgia is an historic marker alongside of Highway 411m which states the Old Federal Road was close to its path for the next twenty-five miles southward.  It would have been at this point in Tennga that the Trail of Tears would have taken a turn onto GA-2 passing the Praters Mill near Dalton Georgia to connect in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Out of the 15,000 Cherokee who endured the forced migration west after the Treaty of 1835, it is estimated that several thousand died along the way or in internment holding camps. This Old Federal route is where some of Cherokee holding camps would have been located. The Fort Marr or Fort Marrow military post constructed around 1814 under the 1803 Treaty, is the last visible remains of these camps.  The original fort was built on the Old Federal Road near the Tennessee/Georgia state line near the Conasauga River. It was relocated in 1965 beside U.S. Hwy. 411 in Benton and then to it’s current location in the Cherokee National Forest on the grounds of the Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park Ranger Station at Gee Creek Campground in Delano, Tennessee. This location provides access to popular Church of God water baptismal sites.  In June 4, 1838 Captain Marrow reported having 256 Cherokees at his fort ready for emigration.

The Native Americans were forcefully removed from their homes, plantations and farms all because of greed.  Thousands of people lost their lives including the wife of Chief John Ross.  Parts of the Old Federal Road have been washed away with floods of tears, but there are parts that still remain.  The Church of God, having its roots in the same territory of the Cherokee, Chickamauga, Muskogee Creek, Choctaw and Chickasaw people, plays a vital role in the process of reconciliation among the descendants of the Trail of Tears. And the historical buildings and markers along the Trail or Tears must be preserved.  The churches along the route even though they were not actual structures during the time period are a historical beacon of hope which still crying out for those lost on this tragic journey.

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Famous boatyards near Benton, Tennessee and nearby Spring Place, Georgia were operated by the Cherokee Hildebrand and McNair families respectively. These were opposite ends of a portage of very long importance in eastern North America. The eleven mile canoe portage or, latter, a wagon transport portage, between the upper reaches of the Ocoee River in Tennessee and the Conasauga River in Georgia, provided one of the most significant “shortcuts” in the East.

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