Friday, July 3, 2009

Elin Pelin

We spent another day today painting in the church here in Sofia. We now have at least a first coat on all five Sunday School rooms and should be able to wrap it all up tomorrow. Linzi has begun the creation of her amazing "Bible Heroes" murals for the walls. Here is a picture of the early stages of her Noah's ark. As I write this at 12:45 in the morning, Joey and Linzi are actually continuing to work on this by the light of a video projector hooked up to my laptop. Now that is a dynamic duo!

After spending about five hours painting and pulling weeds around the church, we cleaned up and headed out to Elin Pelin, a nearby town. There, we spent some time in the home of Pastor Niki, his wife Sveta, and their two great girls, Cali and Viki before heading off to their church. The Friday night service was scheduled at the last minute, but the room was full as the congregation came out to spend time with our team. We enjoyed a great time of fellowship and an even greater time of worship together with them, singing along in our best Bulgarian. Then, Pastor Niki welcomed the team and our pastor taught from God's Word.

Afterwards, we spent an incredible 45 minutes in fellowship with the body before heading off to a nearby pizza restaurant with the pastor's family and some of the church. We visited the same pizzeria last year and it was as great as I remembered. In fact, I've had trouble showing any appreciation for Pizza Hut and Domino's since last year and tonight I remembered why. The food was amazing, but the fellowship was even better. We told stories, laughed together, and shared some fun dinner table games with our Bulgarian friends for about 2 hours. Then, we finally headed home for some much needed rest.
Tomorrow, we plan to wrap up all the painting here in Sofia. Sunday morning, Pastor Chuck will teach in the Blagavest church here in town, while I will have the privilege of teaching at Elin Pelin. Also, some of the teenagers will come along and get the opportunity to share with the congregation as well. Then, Sunday afternoon we meet with the Sofia teens to plan out our activities for the camp at the Black Sea. Finally, Monday morning we are off on a drive across the country to our week at camp.
Even though our schedule is exhausting and physically strenuous, the team continues to be in great spirits. our group devotional time each morning has been a great time of teaching and sharing and everybody is so excited to see what God is doing. Although our labors around the church have been appreciated, the real ministry has been in our relationships with the people here. It has been so amazing to see our Bulgarian friends blessed, encouraged, and helped by our visit. Truly, the relationships between our church bodies has been edifying for all!
Please continue to pray for the team for strength (physical, emotional, and spiritual). We covet your prayers and are so grateful for those of you that have made time each day to lift us up before the Lord. You probably have no idea how much your prayers are a part of the ministry that is taking place over here but we could not do what we are doing or see what we are seeing without you! We love you and thank you for your support.
Благодаря и слава на Бога!
(Blagodarya ee slava na Boga... Thank you and glory to God!)

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