Monday, August 04, 2008

A week ago we came back home from our Summer Project 2008. It took place from 12-26 June in a hotel in the beautiful Stara Planina, right in the center of Bulgaria. There were more of 30 Bulgarian students (most non-Christian) and 19 students from IVCF America, UCCF England and the Free Will Bapstis Churches in America. Craig and Tania had done a great job in organising the whole project. The program was great, with many games, sport activities, language lessons, trips, small group projects and discussions, water park visit, informal time, etc., which helped all Bulgarians feel at home, make many new friends and share freely about their spiritual beliefs.

At the beginning there were some who felt quite hostile and unwilling to share. When asked what she thought about God, one of the students said: “Don’t ask me about God, I don’t want to speak about that.” Another one was sent to the project by her parents and was also quite distrustful and was thinking of going back home. It took them all a couple of days to begin appreciating the project – to meet with all the people, chatting with them, being engaged in different activities, etc. The same student who was not willing to discuss spiritual matters started asking so many questions that it was hard to answer them all!

At the small groups students discussed their relationships with God, with the creation and with themselves. There were all kinds of opinions and though some non-Christians still hold some of their old beliefs, the Word of God started working in their hearts and now they are willing to accept some of the claims of the Bible.

Another student said: “OK, I like Christianity. But there are so many other religions and God has blessed the people who believe in them, too. So, as soon as I go home, I will check up all the other religions and then will make up my mind as to what to believe. Yet, he was challenged to consider the fact that the fact that many nations who confess religions other than Christianity have been blessed does not mean they believe in the truth. It is rather a proof of what the Bible calls “God’s common grace” given to all the people. It was a new concept to him and he went to his room and prayed to accept Christ as his Saviour! It took him less time than he had thought, to decide!

Many of the Christian students had conversations with the non-Christians till late at night. Then, these conversations would continue during the small group discussions, the trips or the free time. With us there was also a couple (both of them university lecturers) who participated in all the group discussions and the other events. They were quite pantheistic in their thinking but towards the end of the project said they agree that humanity is sinful and Jesus is the Son of God. They still hold on to some of their old ideas but we could see God’d started work in them.

In the feedback on the project, 3 of the students said they had decided to become Christians. Please, pray for their growth in the faith. Pray also that the Christian students will be able to do the follow-up with them and see more people at their group meetings and churches!

Below are some pictures from the project. Enjoy!