Friday, January 4, 2013

New Year, Renewed Vision

2013 is upon us and that means only six more months until we return to Bulgaria. We recently held our first meeting for those in our church interested in joining our team this year and I'm encouraged by the heart of our body to serve. Most of those who traveled with us last year are planning to go back, and we have a number of new people considering the trip as well.
Ministering in Fakulteta
As we  begin to assemble the new team, we are also considering several new opportunities for ministry this year. The Elin Pelin church recently purchased property for the construction of a new church. We are excited for the congregation there and looking forward to being able to help in any way we can. Also, after our initial visit to Fakulteta (a large Roma ghetto in Sofia) last year, we are excited about returning to serve the churches and people there. Also, we are looking into spending a few days with the Church in Macedonia.
Of course, we will still be serving at the children's camp at the Black Sea and visiting with the Blaga Vest church in Sofia and the churches in Elin Pelin and Stolnik. We are also looking to return to the orphanage we visited last year to minister to the children there.
More important than our plans though, is our vision... our understanding of what God has called us to do and why He is sending us to Bulgaria. It is so easy to get locked into repetitive, comfortable ministry that simply follows the pattern of what we've always done... even on the mission field. We can be so busy with the What of ministry that we forget the Why. We also sometimes overlook that, while God is the same yesterday, today and forever, He is constantly doing a new and fresh work in His Church and individual lives. We must be sensitive to His direction so that He can use us to carry out His plans and purposes, not our own.
American and Bulgarian teens hanging out at the mall
With that in mind, we have felt the Lord leading us to be more active in the areas of discipleship and evangelism. Our primary mission continues to be to encourage and serve the Body of Christ in Bulgaria, but we also want to come alongside and help them reach the lost of their nation for Jesus. Also, we have been blessed with a unique connection with many of the teenagers in the Bulgarian Church as God has developed strong friendships between them and members of our team. We have a responsibility to work within these relationships to help disciple these young men and women who are the future of the Bulgarian Church.
What it comes down to is this... God is doing a great work in Bulgaria and we are blessed that He has called us to be a small part of it. We have a responsibility to learn how God wants to use us and then be faithful to obey and serve where He leads.
I can't wait to see what He has in store!

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