Thursday, May 09, 2013

Truth Pulls Down Strongholds at University

From March 25 to 28 ran the Veliko Turnovo University mission’s week. It was a very encouraging time in spite of the difficulties. In the mornings we advertised with flyers, questionnaires about religious beliefs, and picture boards, asking students which picture describes best the way they feel/religion/God to them. Each day we would invite them to the lectures given by prominent university professors from the local university, Sofia University and New BulgarianUniversity. There were from 15 to 30 new students present at those lectures and this all gave us a good publicity at the university.

Opening lecture given by Prof. Plamen Tsvetkov.

For the evenings we had rented the “Bestseller Bar”. The first evening went well, although there were just a few new students students. The talk was on the theme of relativism (Are All Religions The Same Thing?). Then, in the middle of the night I got a text message from the owner saying that we can’t hold the other three events there. 

Cafes are a great venue for bringing the Truth to student culture.

Prof. Spasova during her great talk on "The Word as a means of expressing the spirituality of a nation".

So, next day we found another venue for the evening program that was even a bit nicer. The evening again went very well although there were again just a few new comers. 

More people came the second night...
There were again some songs sung by a Christian guitar player and singer, after which our main speaker gave a short but very engaging talk on Suffering, followed by questions. But just before that we had to taste a bit of the theme as the owner told us that we can’t hold next evening program at his restaurant (we had agreed to run all the three remaining evenings there).

Niki Ivanov gave a great talk on Suffering
During the day our students continued to advertise the events. The picture boards were undoubtedly the thing that triggered the most interesting conversations.

"Which picture describes best the way you feel about God?"
The third morning lecture at uni was unique. I haven't heard another lecture at any university in Bulgaria where the words "God" and "Jesus Christ" were mentioned more often that Magdalena Legkostup's lecture. Not only did she often refer to God but she really spoke with much confidence in the eternal truths of his Word. Praise God for such lecturers!

"Are we done with marriage?" - Magdalena Legkostup's answer was a definite "No!"

The same evening I found a third place and everything seemed well until I got another phone call in the morning from the owner of the new venue. Without explaining why she told me we can’t go there. We looked for a venue again and after having seen a couple of other places I decided to take a look at restaurant even though it didn’t seem very promising from outside. But as I got in there the manager showed me another room which they had decorated recently and which was perfect for our meetings! The rent was only 30 leva (15 euro), and besides that, all the restaurant staff were wonderful!

"Is there life after Life?", an engaging talk by Plamen Sivov
I think that this was the answer to our persistent prayers. Because of the many changes of the venue, every day we had to update the info on the flyers. This left less hours for advertisement and made us all even more tired. But we kept on praying for God to remove the strongholds in the minds of people and let many hear the message of the good news.

"How about coming tonight?"
The last couple of evenings there was a breakthrough in the attendance. From a few people in the first couple of days the non-Christians suddenly grew in number. There were almost 20 people in the third evening (Is There Life After Life?) and more than 25 the last one (Grill A Christian).

Todor Velchev gave a very profound lecture on the past, present and future of Bulgaria and the Bulgarians.
One more thing we did helped us have more attendance. After the first couple of days I noticed that the local students, although they told their friends about the mission, were mainly with us meeting with new students whom they didn’t know. So, I told them that maybe we should change the strategy. I suggested that in the last couple of days the flyering could be done mainly by the students from other places while local students should go to meet with their non-Christian colleagues and roommates and try to bring them to the venue. Thus one of the student leaders brought 4 of her colleagues!

Some students wrote their questions to God. 

At the Grill a Christian at first there were some antagonistic questions there but then we had a 5-min. break and some of the new students left. This changed the atmosphere a great deal. This enabled me to answer the questions with greater liberty. Those who stayed till the end didn’t leave until 10:30 pm!

I was 'grilled' by some tough questions.

The cold weather (rain and snow) added to the difficulties but all our students (almost 10 from the local group and 10 from other BHSS groups) stayed in the cold and made the most of every minute. Their commitment was impressive even to the non-Christians and led to great conversations.

Last evening there were a lot more people in the hall.
The Veliko Turnovo group organised an outing on Saturday with those of the non-Christians who were interested. We are praying for the group to be faithful in doing the follow-up.