Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Macedonian Call

Looks like we're going to Macedonia this year! We made plans last week to spend a couple of days during our trip visiting with a church in Macedonia, which is due west of Bulgaria. We're so excited about this new opportunity to serve and encourage the Body of Christ in Eastern Europe.

The Blaga Vest ("Good News" in Bulgarian) church in Sofia has planted several other churches around Bulgaria and one in Macedonia as well. The Dobra Vest ("Good News" in Macedonian) church is led by Pastor Mite Goshev. For many years, we have been blessed by the opportunity to spend time with him and his family, along with teenagers from his church at the Black Sea camp we help with. We have always rejoiced in the sweet, gentle spirit of the teenagers from the Macedonian church and have spoken at length about the challenges they face in reaching their country with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The Christian Church in Macedonia is encountering serious opposition, not only from the government, but also from a strong and growing Islamic presence. In fact, just last year, five young Christian men were killed on the eve of Good Friday by Islamic jihadis in Skopje (the capital city where the Dobra Vest church is located). Resulting arrests led to demonstrations in the streets with thousands of Muslims chanting "Death to Christians" and "Jihad". Yet, the Macedonian Christians we know have always set an example for us of gentle joyfulness!

We look forward to the opportunity to visit and encourage our brothers and sisters in their struggle. We also know that we will be encouraged as well as they minister to us with their example of grace under fire. We often take for granted our freedom and favor as Christians here in America, but their experiences remind us that persecution, not favor, has always been the mark of the Christian experience. We too may one day find ourselves struggling to bear the message of the cross in a culture that violently opposes it. I hope that when that day comes, we will follow the example of those who have endured before us!

Pray for the Body of Christ in Macedonia and ask God to show us clearly how we can bless and encourage our family there. God bless!

1 comment:

  1. It is so heart warming to see all the doors God is opening there, to minister in fresh ways.