It was my pleasure to travel to Bulgaria at the beginning of April to minister at our fifth mission school in corporation with “A Time For Harvest” run by Sofi Pranczk, a Bulgarian evangelist. This year we had students from Belarus, Estonia as well as Bulgaria and drew on evangelists from throughout Europe to teach in the school. It was great to spend time with these believers both young and older who where truly hungry to learn how to minister and lead people into a relationship with Christ. The school has both theory and practical elements to it. The week I was there I taught them in the classroom from 9am – 1pm three sessions each morning and in the afternoons and evenings they went out into the community to put into practice the things they were learning. This ranged from on the street witnessing to visiting in an old folks home to visiting a children's home as well as ministering in churches. The course finishes with a mission event which this year was a tent festival in Bulgaria. Previous students are now pastoring churches, heading up evangelistic efforts in their home churches and actively involved in evangelism in their nations.
While in Bulgaria I took the opportunity to travel each afternoon to meet with pastors that I've had regular input into over the last few years and minister in their churches. Most days this meant a four hour round trip returning to the school in Sofia between twelve midnight and one in the morning. It was wonderful to spend time with them and hear all that God has been doing in them and through them. This winter has been partially difficult as it was the worst winter weather for sixteen years with temperatures -20c and below. This always puts a strain on the resources of the very poor with heating costs going up steeply leaving less for food etc. The mixture of poor nutrition and extreme cold also leads to health problems so it’s a double whammy. Yet with all this going on their faith stands strong.
Another challenge for this nation is the mass exodus of those under forty years of age to other European nations looking for a better life. When I first went to Bulgaria it had a population of about nine point five million people. Now that stands somewhere around six point five million and is still dropping. This can have devastating effects on some communities as villages are left with only old people in them and some communities are now mostly made up of women and children as many men work abroad only returning for a few weeks a year. Please pray for this nation.
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