Summer Project 2007
This time it took place in Liaskovec, near Veliko Turnovo. As I came back from Canada a few days later, we joined the group while they were in Varna, visiting some of the nice Bulgarian Black sea beaches. It was good to meet with new people and see them interact during their discussions on John, English lessons, informal time, culture events and so on. I helped Craig, who organised it, with some translation. With some of the Bulgarians we had interesting conversations about who God is and weather he really exists. I even took part in the football games, it was fun, though I nearly got my glasses broken.
There were two American and one English teams of students and it was good to get to know some of them. I am happy for being able to chat with one of them, in particular. His name is Ben, and he studies at UOP in Stockton, CA. He asked me some quite interesting questions regarding Bulgarian culture, history, etc. He asked me what would be the most effective way of sharing the faith with Bulgarians, having in mind the specific traits of Bulgarian mentality. At our staff meetings and chats with students we have often discussed this and have touched on different aspects of Bulgarian culture and the common ground it has with the gospel. For example, our communist past has made people quite reluctant to have anything in common with parties, politics, etc.
Besides, and this is what I told Ben, all their lives people have been lied to: first by the communist party, that we will build communism and defeat our capitalist enemies; then, at the dawn of democracy, that we can reach the standard of living of the west in a couple of years; then, by the new parties, that each of them is different and comprises 'new people' who are not corrupt... Even our former king's son managed to sell his lie and win the elections some years ago, only to see his rating going down dramatically a few months later. People have been also cheated by their bosses (that they will get a big salary if they stay on), their tenants (that they will pay all their bills on time), their parents, children, husbands, wives, friends, business partners... It is a culture full of lies and we seem to live in Lie City.
So, in this situation, where no one trusts others, we can go to the people and say that there's Someone whom they can always trust and Who always keeps his word and that is God's Son, Jesus Christ. This is tricky, though, because for them to trust our words, they first must trust us! So, it is not just the truth but also the love that matters. We should know the Text (the Bible) but also the context (the people). We should not only Preach but also be Present, be there for the people.
And, this is hard not just because we all are busy and tight-fisted when someone demands our time or money. The further and bigger problem is that we haven't seen role models around us who do that. So, if we want to follow Jesus, we must be the role models for our generation. The good news is that we have lots of role models from of old, including our Lord. So, we are not without a clue, not at all, and have no excuse if we don't show love and don't share the truth.