Friday, July 1, 2011

Visit With Elin Pelin

[Note: Due to technical difficulties with the Internet access here, this is being posted at 9 AM on Saturday morning AFTER a good night's sleep!]

It's a little after 1 AM Saturday morning, and the team is just returning to our flat and preparing to go to bed. We're all still a bit amped up from an amazing evening with the Bozhe Sila church in Elin Pelin. We joined them for their Friday evening service and Pastor Niki turned the pulpit over to Pastor Chuck while his wife, Tsveta, translated for the Bulgarians. Our pastor shared a powerful message on living a life worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27) that ministered not only to the church, but the team as well.
Following the sermon, Pastor Niki invited the rest of the team to also share with the body. It was incredible to see the Holy Spirit lead the group as, one by one, each of us shared a word from the Lord that not only spoke to the congregation but was in complete sync with what every other team member was sharing. In the past, when the teams have been given an opportunity to share, they usually bring a greeting from the Bullhead City church and share a bit of their testimony. Tonight, however, each one of us had a more in-depth word of exhortation or encouragement that all tied together to really speak a unified message to the body. It was a blessing to see how the Holy spirit works through a people surrendered to, and dependent on, Him.
After the service, we hung out at the church and talked for awhile. At Elin Pelin, a rural town outside Sofia, a good number of the brothers and sisters speak little or no English, but the spirit of fellowship truly overcomes the language barrier and we had some good, meaningful conversations with a very limited vocabulary. I had the pleasure of spending time with Victor, a new believer who has only been a Christian for two months. It was a joy to listen to his experiences as a baby Christian and to offer advice and encourage him in his walk with the Lord.
We finally headed out of the church and drove to a nearby restaurant where a number of the Elin Pelin congregation treated us to dinner. We enjoyed a traditional Bulgarian meal of shopska (tomato and cucumber salad with feta cheese), kyufte (flavorful sausage patties), and french fries covered in feta cheese. For dessert, we shared plates of crepes covered in chocolate sauce and whipped cream. We learned that today was Victor's birthday so we sang "Happy Birthday" to him loudly Calvary Bullhead style to everyone's delight!
After being filled spiritually and physically, we called it a night and headed back to home base in Sofia. Tomorrow, we meet with the team from the Blaga Vest church in Sofia to plan final details for the Black Sea camp on Sunday. Keep us in prayer and give God thanks for the great things He is already doing!

 Leka nosht! (Good night)

[P.S. - Once we get our internet issues sorted out here, I will post lots of pictures.]

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