Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dear friends,

It’s been a while since I last wrote. Things have been quite hectic over here. Let me give you some highlights from our lives in the past couple of months.

I had told some of you about the teachers’ strike which lasted about 45 days in most of the schools in Bulgaria. It was not easy for us as it coincided with the beginning of the semester. So for that time Debi and Moni (and Stefan for two weeks) were at home. Finally, last week they resumed school (they have had their first exellent marks already). Probably they will have to study during some of the vacations in order to make up for the missed classes. As for the teachers, they had were not happy with the outcome of the strike, so talks with the government are still going on.

We also had Stefan’s birthday last week. We gave him a skateboard as a present (see picture). He invited 6 kids from his kindergarten, there was nice food and interesting games we had prepared for them. I was also able to tell the Good Samaritan story to some of the kids which was fun (neither of them had heard about it). Here are some pics from the birthday party:

This semester has been similar and yet different from the previous years. My responsibilities have been mainly to help Vania in the region plus try to do some fundraising among grads and churches. I haven’t seen any specific fruits of the latter yet but it was great to be able to do student work on a regular basis. I have started regular meetings for mentoring and discipleship with two students, Blago and Joro (see pic). They are both great, very sincere and committed in their faith, and most of all, teachable. Besides, I reconnected with the Student Councils and met some deans at the two largest universities in Varna, the Technical University and Economical University. With the help of some students we presented an idea project for celebrating the International Students Day (November 17th) at the first uni and for the moment there are chances that we do that. There are hundreds of Turkish students in Varna and it would be great if we could influence them for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please, pray that we will get formal ‘yes’ besides the informal consent from the university authorities. The dean of the Foreign Students Department even suggested that we organised some trips to other places in Bulgaria in order to help the international students get acquainted with the country and culture, and said he would pay for this! We pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in all this.

From 1 to 4 November we had our national conference under the motto “Faith That Works”. This time we had less than 30 students but again it was a good time for Bible teaching, prayer and getting to know each other (see pictures at the BCSU website below). During the conference and the following week we videoed some interviews for the evangelistic DVD project. It was fun to do it in spite of the cold weather as the answers were pretty good. Work on that is still going, please pray that we have all the video we will need soon and for those responsible for the editing work. The idea is for our students to hand out free DVDs to their colleagues that would show in a modern (postmodern?) way what the good news is, who we are, what we do, etc.

Vania has been blessed this year with a very confident student leader, Toshko. Blago and a couple of other people have helped him. The group has had good studies on “Friendship Evangelism” and has had a couple of outreaches to orphan students already, handing out packs with sheets, clipboards, pens, chocolate bars, etc. to them. In October Vanya had a couple of meetings with a non-Christian student, Andriana. Andriana is a very friendly girl and she loves spending time with us. They both had a Bible study on Luke and even though Andriana is very friendly, when it comes to spiritual questions she closes up so we don’t know what she thinks. The last 3 weeks she hasn’t come to the group meetings, so we sould appreaciate your prayers for her.

I have also made an appointment with the US Embassy in Sofia for my interview regarding my upcoming trip to the US. The date is 18 December, so I would appreciate your prayers for that. With the help of some of you I have been able to fix some meetings while in the US, so I am looking forward to this time!

OK, that’s all for now.