Friday, April 04, 2008

Then, we went to the EEC 2008 conference. Here is the BCSU newsletter I wrote a few days ago about it (you can see more pics of it at

BCSU Bulgaria Newsletter
March 2008

“…live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…” (Eph. 5:2)

Because of Love

This was the title of our European Evangelism Conference that took place from 20-25 March in Linz, Austria. BCSU was represented by 50 people (40 students and 10 staff), and altogether there were over 2000 students from around 40 countries! EEC is a quadrennial event but this one was special to us as for the first time one of the main speakers was Bulgarian - the former BCSU National Coordinator Charlie Hadjiev. In 4 sessions Charlie spoke on 4 major events in God’s plan of salvation: creation, exodus, exile and return, and the coming of Jesus, encouraging us to keep the faith and grow in Christlikeness, as we are still between the ‘garden and the city’, between Eden and the new heaven and new earth we are promised by Jesus. The other main speaker was Becky Pippert (best selling author and internationally acclaimed speaker). In three sessions, drawing from her rich experience and insight in evangelism, she reminded us that because of love we are loved, because of love we are to love God, and because of love we are to love others. The last teaching session was a Commissioning Service in which Martin Haizmann (secretary for Europe) and Daniel Bourdanne (IFES General Secretary) motivated us to go into the world and make disciples of Christ of our nations.

Another important part of the teaching were the 22 tracks, each having 3 sessions and giving training in different aspects of evangelism (seekers’ groups, apologetics, evangelism among internationals, graduates, Muslims, in sports, through preaching, art and music, developing a campus/country evangelism strategy, developing national boards, etc).

Other highlights were prayer (’11:1 prayer’ using different phrases from the Lord’s prayer (the name comes from Luke 11:1 where the disciples ask Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray”), prayer partners and a pastoral care team), the praise and worship time led by the incredible Credo worship team, networks in specialised groups (Alpha course, Christianity Explored, art evangelism, graduate leadership training, etc), meeting points for people with similar interests during lunch, improvisations for putting into practice some of the skills we have learned, bookstalls, IFES tent, , art exhibition, Austrian Day, etc.

The conference helped our students get closer to each other and see ‘the bigger picture’ as they learned more about IFES and BCSU. During the long bus rides to Linz and backwards we had a special program in which we reminded to the group IFES and BCSU main distinctives and asked some of the older staff to share their memories from the ‘94, ‘98, ‘01 and ‘04 EECs. Then some of the students could share what motivated them to come to the EEC, what their expectations were, what this conference meant for them and what practical insights they had received. Here are some quotes:

“The whole organisation and the logistics work was brilliant. The Austrians, Germans and Swiss did a great job!” (Niki, Varna)

“I was greatly blessed at EEC. When I return I will organise a debate about Christianity just before Easter (which is happening on 28 April in Bulgaria). I suggest that we all have a time of praying for each other each day at 10 a.m.!” (Toni, Sofia)

“It was great to be able to pray for so many people at the conference. At one of the prayer stations we we encouraged to write our prayer requests on a note and stick it on the wall. Then we walked around, reading other students’ notes and praying for them. It was an awesome experience and I hope that we can do it at similar events in BCSU.” (Nadia, Sofia)

“At our music track we were asked to split in small teams, then to pick 4 key words and compose a song around them. We tried it… and it worked! Then we were able to sing and play it at the improvisation time. I’s incredible how God can use our gifts and help us complement each other, in order to create a song and use it in evangelism!” (Blagovest, Varna)

We thank God that for
the financial help from Bulgarian churches for some of our students’ fees and travel, as well as for the production of our Top Spot evangelistic DVD
motivating us to get to know Him better and spread His gospel because of the love He’s given us in Jesus Christ
the new contacts and friendships with many people from other European movements, particularly for the good relationships with the Serbs, in spite of the current tension between both countries (because of Bulgaria’s recognition of Kosovo).

Please, pray with us for
Our witness in the campuses of 7 cities where we have work and for founding student groups in both Svishtov and Bourgas; for God to help us accomplish the new ideas we have for evangelism
The Top Spot DVD project – for relevant ways of promoting it by the local groups, for interest among non-Christian students and for many conversations with them about Christianity and God as a result, that would lead to new students joining our groups and giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
Our leadership training using the Leadership Training material on the gospel of Mark, put together by Craig; may the Holy Spirit help us train student leaders who are willing to train others and thus enable the student groups to multiply