Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The summer took over again, so I thought it’s time to give you feedback on what’s going on in our lives and ministry.

The students have finished their finals. Long before that, Debi and Moni started their summer vacation. They went for a couple of days to their granny’s place, together with their cousin. Stefan still goes to the kindergarten. We had promised to him that while his sisters are away we would do something special for him, as a compensation for not being able to go to his granny’s. We took him to the beach and to a couple of walks in the sea park. He enjoyed that very much, especially the bathing in the water and the ice-cream we bought him J.

We have had just a couple of meetings lately due to the students finals. Vania was able to take a little rest after the busy semester. I had been busy with some seminars at church, and doing a couple of assignments for my theological studies. But today I am done with the last one. It was an interesting essay, the theme was: “A theory of the atonement that does not answer the questions of human suffering can have no place in the mission of the church today. Discuss this with particular attention to one theologian.” In this connection, for the first time I read a book from the German theologian Moltmann (“The Crucified God”) and am really impressed with his eloquent way of presenting Christ’s suffering and dereliction on the cross. Here are a couple of quotes from the book:

“The symbol of the cross in the church points to the God who was crucified not between two candles on an altar, but between two thieves in the place of the skull, where the outcasts belong, outside the gates of the city. It does not invite thought but a change of mind. It is a symbol which therefore leads out of the church and out of religious longing into the fellowship of the oppressed and abandoned. On the other hand, it is a symbol which calls the oppressed and godless into the church and through the church into the fellowship of the crucified God.”

“The grief of the Father here is just as important as the death of the Son. The Fatherlessness of the Son is matched by the Sonlessness of the Father.’ Thus, ‘the delivering up of the Son to godforsakenness is the ground for the justification of the godless and the acceptance of enmity by God.”

I have enjoyed particularly the second but last sentence and have had some interesting chats with Vania and a couple of other friends about it.

Anyway, now that I am finished, I am in a process of choosing my theme for my dissertation. Please, pray that I choose something that would be not only relevant to my situation and interesting to me, but also with literature available on the subject (the last has been a struggle all these years of study!).

On a different note, my sister is expecting a baby. It is due in end of July. She is OK and they both with her husband are quite excited to have a third child, and a boy! We are excited with her, especially the kids. One of her girls at the moment is at a Christian camp together with Debi and Moni. My sister has also come to church the last couple of months quite often (she is not a regular church goer yet) so we pray for her and her family.

We are also preparing for the summer project now. This year it takes place from 12-26 July and there will be about 10 students from Varna, 30 from all over Bulgaria. That’s exactly the number we needed, thank God! The other day we met with one of the new students who started coming to our student group and who is going to come to the project. She said that though she likes the city (Varna) she doesn’t like the fact that all her colleagues are so individualistic and materialistic. I encouraged her to get involved with the BHSS student group and look for meaningful relationships there, as well as at the summer project. As Stott puts it, ‘the quest for community’, together with the ‘quest for transcendence’ and ‘the quest for significance’, seems to be both among the biggest challenges and opportunities for the church of our time. I find this so relevant, especially when I chat with students!

So, please, pray for the summer project to be a time when the love of God breaks the chains of many students’ loneliness and encourages them to satisfy their thirst for the transcendent, significance and community in the Jesus Christ.

P.S. You can see more pictures at: