Yablanitza Church of God

yablanitsa.jpgBy the summer of 1991 the work in Pravetz grew tremendously. I held an extensive study on the book of Revelation, which drew more people to our meetings. The missionary Keith De Mayo opened a Bible school in Sofia, and many of our teenagers traveled every week to attend the seminars and services. At that time the youth group had exceeded several hundred, but there was much more to be done.In the fall of 1991, the Lord called me to a more extended ministry. Beside the Tuesday evening meetings with the youth group, I traveled and preached every Sunday at the Yablanitza Church of God. At that time the church there had neither a pastor nor a building. For years the few members gathered for service and prayed to God for a pastor.

Being only 17 and living in a post-Communist country, I did not own a car. Every Sunday I hitchhiked on the highway, which at that time went through Pravetz. We would have the service and then I would hitchhike my way back. This went on for about a year. I spent many hours on the frozen highway, but they turned out to be an experience in the presence of God that changed my life.For several weeks we held a Bible study on Song of Solomon from a Pentecostal perspective. The emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit drew many to our meetings. One Sunday seven people received the Holy Spirit and this single event gave means for a great move of God. On the following Sunday, several Gypsies from the local Roma community joined our church. The church soon grew and by the spring of 1993 we were running 60. Many came to attend our meetings traveling from the local towns and villages such as Teteven, Djurvo and Skravena. God saved a number of young people as well. Several of them joined the church along with their families.

It was during this time that we received a vision for a church building. The members provided both the plans for the church and the materials. Yet the process went on with much delays and resistance from the local city government who disliked the idea of a Pentecostal church in their community. The building was finally finished in the spring of 2001. In September 2001 a member of the Pravetz youth group was appointed to serve as pastor of the Yablanitza Church of God.