Thursday, December 17, 2009

Are you talibans?

I have just come back from Sofia where we had our Christmas evangelistic outreach. For three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, a group of students handed out flyers/invitations to the Christmas party that was going to be held at the American university on Wednesday evening. I joined them on Tuesday and Wednesday. The way we invited people was quite attractive – we all were dressed up as Joseph and Mary, the shepherds and wise men. Altogether about 10 students took part in these ‘live pictures’ and in spite of the cold weather we handed out 4,000 invitations in the 6 biggest universities in Sofia. Besides, there were many posters put up on the walls.

Due to the ban for Christian organizations to hold events on campus we had to stay just outside the university at entrance doors. At the Technical University we went in the inner court but soon afterwards three body guards came to tell us that we need to have permission for that (we had already managed to hand out a few hundred invitations). Students usually would just smile and pick the invitation but with some we managed to start a conversation. Some asked whether they could have a picture taken with us. There were also others who asked whether we were Hare Krishnas, talibans or some other cults :). As one student later commented, “you wouldn’t hold your event here (at the American uni), had you been talibans.” Anyway, it was a good publicity for BHSS/BCSU in Sofia. We also hope that many students will now visit our website which was also written on the flyer.

The party itself went well. There were music performances, a choir, a pantomime, 3 short greetings and Charlie gave the main talk. I did one of the greetings but also challenged the students to consider the Present of presents (the birth of God’s Son). I took out of my pocket a banknote of 20 Leva (equivalent of 10 euro) and said that I wanted to give it as a Christmas gift to a person in the audience who comes first to me to take it. I ensured them that there is no trick and I am not going to ask the person to do something in return. A girl came and I gave her the money. Then told the rest that perhaps, many of them were saying to themselves now, “Why didn’t I take the chance and go get the money?” Then I continued that the reason only one person did it was because we are not used to getting things for free. I explained how we are raised to believe that ‘there is no free lunch’ with a few illustrations and finally challenged them to forget about the money but to try not to miss the Present of presents, God’s gift to us, given 2000 years ago on Christmas.

After the programme was over we invited the students to the tables with drinks and yammy stuff prepared by students from the BHSS group. I managed to talk with 3 of the non-Christian student who came to the event. One of them came up to me and said: “Mr Trifonov, what you said touched my heart.” We exchanged our telephones and I hope that they will join the student group.

Also, last week we had another evangelistic event here, in Varna. We rented a local piano bar and invited non-Christian friends from uni. Our goal was to make friends with those who came for the fist time. Our students had invited a good number of friends but only 4 non-Christians came. We put a small greeting card in front of everyone with a Christmas message, chatted while listening to the band playing and then I gave the same as above message. Afterwards a BHSS graduate played a couple of more songs on the guitar. The whole company (about 25 of us) went to a pizza place and continued conversations till late at night. We have now arranged to meet with two of the girls and one guy after Christmas.