These are some photos of a new village we started going to this past February. They were very open to the gospel. There are only about 25 families that live in this village. The first day we drove into their village they looked at us with such wonder as to why are these people here, but they very quickly warmed up to us and opened their homes and lives to us. Now, having gone there a few time they are wanting us to go and visit 3 other villages near by and bring this same good news to them as well.
Tonight church started out as any other night, everyone glad to be there, eager to worship the Lord and to hear what He would have to say to the church। Like I said, it started out the same but what happened next is something totally different। As Mitko preached everyone was somewhat distracted, to the point that there was so much chattering going on that Mitko had to stop preaching and asked them to stop and if they needed to go outside to finish their conversation to do so। It’s so funny that when ever there is about to be a move of the Spirit that there is always so many distractions. Mitko continued, and I could feel the shift beginning to take place and the Spirit rising up in me. As Mitko closed his message about David and how God sent His prophet Samuel to anoint him to be the next King of Israel ( I Samuel 16).
Mitko began to call certain leaders up and others that felt God was calling into the ministry.
Well, with in the next few minutes as I stood there looking into the faces of all these precious brothers and sisters . Some of them being brand new babies in Jesus. I was over whelmed. I stood there and counted, there was close to 50 people standing in front of me. 50 people that God was about to pour into and pour through. 50 people to preach the gospel around the globe! 50 people that were willing to run where ever He called them to run. 50 people willing to lay down their lives to be the hands, feet and mouths of God. 50 people to be world shakers. 50 people to be lovers of God. I was in awe and the expressions on their faces as they worshiped the Lord were of pure love for a savior, lost in Him not caring about anything around them only Him. As a minister what this does to you is beyond words, your heart swells with such joy and contentment, seeing God continue to grow what He has called you to.
As we began to lay our hands on them and impart into them they fell to the floor, there were bodies everywhere. Husbands and wives piled together, young and old, covering every bit of space.
Lord let them run with the fire of the Spirit, let run to the ends of the earth, let them run Jesus let them run…………….
The power of His death and resurrection An inheritance that matches no others, Hebrews 9
There is a woman in the church here named Kartia who I admire; she’s just full of joy, full of Jesus. Well several weeks ago she came into the coffee shop where a friend that was visiting, Mitko, Altanka, and I were and began to tell us through tears that she had just come from the doctor and was told she had a very large tumor on her liver and they were going to have to operate. Please understand when they are talking about major surgery here that it is a very, very scary thing. The hospitals are still the same from communist times, very dirty. Let’s just say that the worst of hospitals in the United States is top notch compared to these, and they have even been known to experiment on the gypsies. Kartia so touched my heart and I was truly upset about the whole thing because she was about to have to go through this whole thing alone. Her husband is off in Slovenia working, her mother refused to come or to be of any support to her, and she had no idea what was she going to do with her children. I don’t know about any of you but I had to go through something pretty much the same in my own life so I totally understood what she was facing. That night during church the Spirit spoke to me to anoint her with oil and to pray for her and then go and anoint her house and pray there as well. I told Mitko as he was telling the church what was going on with her, and Mitko called her up and some of the other women to come and pray with Altanka and me. As I laid my hands on her along with the other women she went to the floor. As she lay there she began to demonically manifest, twisting and distorting as we prayed. We continued to pray till this thing left her and she lay there in peace. I talked to her after service and she said that she could feel this thing being pulled out of her. From there we went to her house and while we were walking there she told me she hasn’t been able to sleep, that every night she is tormented. I prayed and anointed her house and prayed for her children. And when I saw her the next day she told me that was the best night’s sleep she’s had in some time. She was supposed to go to the hospital in Starz Zagora the same day but the doctor told her not to come, to wait a few days to see if her husband could come from Slovenia. He had tried but he had car problems and couldn’t get here. After a couple of weeks’ time the doctor informed her to come and have the surgery. This whole while we all believed in faith that she was healed. Some in the church even fasted and prayed for her corporately. Mitko, Altanka and I had planned to go to the hospital and be with her through her surgery so she wouldn’t be alone, but to our surprise at the last moment her neighbors came and brought with them her youngest son and her mother, who had a change of heart. Go Jesus! We stood there in the hall during her surgery which was to take several hours and I still kept believing Jesus. So after several hours they came and told us that when they went in they found the tumor which was about 4-6 inches across but it was dead!!!!! And all the roots of it that were reaching throughout her body were all dead too. GO JESUS GO!!! And I am sure that if we would have waited a few more days it would have been totally gone from her. We waited for her to wake from the anesthesia and we she woke up we told her about the report. I so wish you could have seen the look on her face – one of total joy! I think if she could have she would have gotten up out of the bed and danced. What awesome God we serve!
Ohhhh Jesus help me put this into words, please………
Things are major busy for me right now, besides getting ready for the holidays, I have been trying to get several projects here taken care of, my things packed and my house in order to be able to leave for the U.S. in a few days. And then I came upon this:
Yesterday one of the most disheartening things was confirmed. There is this wonderful young teenage girl in the village, she is handicapped, but it doesn’t stop her by any means; she doesn’t have any shoulders. (Now I am sure there are many of you who know who I am talking about.) Well anyway for several months now I have noticed that everyday she wears the same clothes. I was wondering if these were the only clothes she had, and she usually has body odor. So yesterday I was spending some time with Zarah and I thought about this young girl, so I asked about her.
Wellllllll yes, these are her only clothes, and she is not able to bathe herself. Her best friend Bestra does it for her. Can you imagine only having one set of clothes and having to depend on your friend to give you a bath? Thank you Jesus for such a wonderful friend she has and bless Bestra beyond anything she could ever imagine.
Needless to say, my heart just broke for her, and it just brings me to tears even thinking about it now. So on top of all the things I HAVE TO DO, yes, I went shopping today, and had to have one of the guys take me. (Ohhh Jesus bless Joseph!)
So I went and bought her a whole new set of clothes, undergarments included. I bought shoes, pants, sweater, socks, panties, coat, everything. Just think about it, it’s cold here, very cold, and if all you had to wear was one sweater a denim jacket jeans and slippers, how would you like spending your winter like this??? And you know this young girl, she never never ever complains about anything.
Does she have parents? Yes. Do they take care of her? No!!!!
So anyway, I brought the new clothes to the village and was going to just leave them for her, but when my friends saw them they were so excited they sent for her. I didn’t want her to be embarrassed by any means at her state, but all the same they went for her. And upon her entering, they began to show her her gifts. And yes Bestra was all “come on let’s get a shower and change!” So off to the shower they went and within a short time they were out, and she was wearing her new apparel. Then Bestra began to do her hair and to apply makeup to her face and within moments here was this beaming beautiful young woman!
I can’t even begin to tell you how my heart is overwhelmed with joy beyond words at the sight of her face and knowing that God let me be a part of this Blessing!…………. Now with all the hustle and bustle that Christmas brings isn’t this what it all really is about??????? Bringing joy to those little ones out there, they are every where maybe even living next door to you.........
I just wanted to send you an update on how things are going here in Bulgaria. After returning from visiting with family, friends, and some churches in the States this past summer, I returned to discover we had an outbreak of violence in the Gypsy community here in Kazanlak. Several days before my return, there had been a hatchet fight between a father and son, I’m not sure what sparked the fight, but it left both the father and son injured. The father had been hospitalized with injures to his head and the son with injuries to his arm. The wife and mother is a faithful member of the church here, so I was asked to visit the family. Picture all of them living in a two room house with everyone sleeping in the same room! Upon entering, I saw the husband in the bed and a few moments later the son entered. I took a few moments to talk to both the father and son and then prayed for them and the family when the mom/wife fell to the floor under the power of the Holy Ghost. (I love it when that happens, they just kind of crumple!) The father is a Muslim so I shared Jesus with him, and we’ll see what happens there.
A few days later we had another hatchet fight - this time between two cousins. It seems one got a little too rough while playing around and the other got upset about it, so a fight broke out. Only one was injured in this fight, thank you Jesus! Just a few days after this, another dear sister in the church came informing us that her husband had been having relations with their daughter-in-law for several months. And she informed me that the son had wandered the village all night, totally distraught about the whole thing. Nothing is a secret in the village so when I went to talk to them, the village people saw me going to the house and many of them came also! I just sat and waited till they all left so that I might talk with the son and his mother alone. The husband moved out and the daughter-in-law went back to her mother’s home saying she would become a prostitute like her mother -- very sad. When I talked to the son and asked him what he was thinking and all he could say was “I have no father and I have no wife…” Very, very sad as they have one young boy about the age 3 who now lives with his dad but keeps asking where his mom is. I tried to set up an appointment to speak with the husband who is also an active member of the church, but I was unable. But now within the last several days, the father has returned to the village and it seems that the whole village has taken this very seriously and has totally shunned him, they won’t speak to him or even look at him and his brother-in-law even beat him up. Now he is saying that this is not true! So we are trying to get to the bottom of this tracking - down the original source. Please pray for all these people, you can only imagine what all these families are going through!
Now for some encouraging news, we are still doing a lot of outdoor evangelism! We held an outreach to a small village nearby and it was huge success. About 50 people from the church here pitched in and were able to take the local bus to this village. At the end of the evening it broke into one huge celebration with everyone dancing and celebrating. Immediately following this, Nancy Alonzo from New Orleans arrived in Bulgaria and I was able to spend some time with her in Sofia holding outreaches in the Gypsy neighborhood there. We had awesome time sharing Jesus and ministering to the people there and many were healed, but of course we did a bit of seeing the sights while in Sofia!!!! What great fun, we had several times of Holy Ghost explosions in the car leaving our driver not knowing where to go, and he was a local!!!! HAHAHA This was new for him, he had never been intoxicated with the JOY of the Holy Ghost before. Forever changing his life and that of his church!!!!! You can only imagine what it was like in that car, the cloud of Glory was so thick and over whelming………………..
Winnie, Ben and a friend of his were recently here also and we had a pastors conference for 2 days. And then we visited some other villages around the country. We had such Holy Ghost times! We went to one very small poor village just outside of Sofia, where some of the people live in tents as homes and many of the children have no shoes. There was a woman who came to me for prayer; you could tell she was very poor and very sweet. Towards the end of the preaching, Winnie felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to tell the story of the widow with only a handful of flour, and went on to say that maybe there was someone or perhaps the village as a whole that could gather an offering and to give it to another village and watch what God would do.
That same sweet, elderly widow woman I mentioned earlier was moved by what Winnie said and asked us to come to her house. Upon arriving you could see the intense poverty, but she was so eager to take us into her little room where she got down on the floor and started to rummage for something under her bed. In a moment, she pulled out her little treasures of 4 pumpkins and presented them to Winnie, Zhoro, myself and the Pastor who oversees this village. We all knew that God was going to pour out a blessing on her that she wouldn’t be able to contain and I look forward to finding out how this story ends! She couldn’t stop hugging myself and Winnie and kept saying that she loved us as if we were her own daughters! It never ceases to amaze me when I see God move on the hearts of the people and my heart is always over whelmed by it.
Now I am in the middle of working out the details to start feeding some of the children on a regular basis... We are going to start off small and see how it goes, feeding about 20 or 30 from the church, children who really don’t have any parents. They either live with a Grandparent or other family member, (there are so many in the village like this), but this is where we will start. Our plan is to bring them in the morning where we can get them to brush their teeth, wash up, eat, read a little Bible and pray before we send them off to school. We are going to only do Saturdays for a few weeks to work out details before we move to five days a week. We should be able to do this for $1.00 per child.
In November we will start feeding soup to several hundred on Sunday afternoons after church. In the cold weather we feed soup to those who are out of work, but this winter we are going to try something a little different. We are going to do it right after church where the whole church can stay and eat and fellowship, plus feed those in need. If any of you are interested in getting involved with any of these projects, please send me an email.
Can you imagine not being able to take a shower all winter...... Well, for a lot of these children that is what happens. Most of their homes don't have water and then there are families that only have a faucet out in the yard. Can you imagine having to go out in 0 degree weather to get water to cook or do dishes much less, to take a bath? That is such an unpleasant thought I get cold just thinking about it.
All winter I've seen these same children dirty. Some of them have sores in their ears or on their faces because they are dirty!!!! It has bothered me just like it would anyone of us, soooooooo I got to thinking how we could get some of these kids a shower and I am happy to report that yesterday we were able to get 13 boys a shower and tomorrow we will do the same for some of the girls. At the moment our focus is mostly on the desperate ones and the kids from the church with a vision to expand. There is a bathroom in the church that has been out of order but it is very large so we are making plans to see about expanding it and putting in a shower where we can do this on a regular bases. We have to see what kind of expense this incurs. Anyone interested in getting involved with this project send me email.
I have to tell you the joy that flooded my heart from seeing some of these small boys prancing around the room in their new socks and new underwear. I've never felt this kind of joy before. It was beyond words, all I know is that at that moment I could feel my heart swell. I just kept thinking of the line from that old hymn "O the joy that floods my soul" They were so thrilled to get their hair washed and fixed. After they were dressed, they strolled around with such pride in how well they looked. I was amazed by this one young man here, he so blessed me, he gave each everyone of these boys a shower. How many guys do you know that would do that! This added even more, to the blessing of it all. How can Jesus top this I don't know but I know He will!!!!
Why in life does man think he has to strive to achieve the things Christ has called him to? Even when he doesn't realize that he is striving.
If Christ calls you to something, doesn’t He also provide the vehicle which you need to fulfill that very same thing? That being, finances, relationships, etc.
We need to fully catch the revelation that our "steps are ordered of the Lord" and to rest in that.
Does that mean we sit back and do nothing, NO! He always causes us to join in the venture; it's a partnership, a marriage between us and Him. He told the lame man to pick up his mat and walk, told the disciples to go, get the picture, but it was always what He asked them to do, not what we think we need to do. We need to learn to fully enter into the REST of GOD and just do what we see him do.
Here in Matt 11:28-30 I think He said it best. My favorite version is The Message. "28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
And then take a look at Phil 4:13 Where Jesus said "we can do all things because, He the Christ has strengthened us" or to paraphrase that Jesus has given us the ability, gifting to do whatever He has called us to.
So let's just chill and rest in the Marvelous Arms of the Master and watch how He does it and follow in His footsteps!!!
"28 Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." 29 Take my yoke on you and become like me, for I am gentle and without pride, and you will have rest for your souls; 30 For my yoke is good, and the weight I take up is not hard.
The Complete Jewish Bible
28 "Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
25 Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: "Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. 26 Yes, Father, that's the way you like to work." 27 Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly. "The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does. But I'm not keeping it to myself; I'm ready to go over it line by line with anyone willing to listen. 28 "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. 30 Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.
Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
I got my first piece of real mail here today, a dear friend sent me a couple of CDs from her church. I know this sounds trivial, but it is still nice to get real mail now and then. And last week I finally got a *real* bed, and not one that’s 6 inches off the floor either, but a real grown-up bed. It’s funny about the things you miss and how much you appreciate them when you get them. I do have to say I’ve been sleeping *so* much better.
Today I was on T.V. !!! With Pastor Mitko of Kazanlak! It’s funny because when I was in the states in Jan. I visited this same friend’s church (the one who sent me mail) and someone there had prophesied over me telling me that I would be on T.V., and now, here you go! I don’t usually put any stock into a prophesy from someone I don’t know, but when he was prophesying I was like: "ok is this the Lord??? ". And then the anointing was all over me, and he started telling me things that he could have had no idea of in the natural. And when he was saying that I would be on T.V. I was thinking "This is awesome because I can’t speak the Bulgarian langage, but we can use it for Mitko, Georgian and others that to get the gospel out!!! ".
So I was like, ok let’s see what happens here. And when I got back to Bulgaria, Mitko told me he had started doing these 5 min. spots on TV every week! Someone had donated the money to pay for the cost of getting 5 minutes a week on air. When you pay the money the film crew and comes out to the hood and films Mitko outside the church. The money is all spent on the TV time now, so now we are believing God for the finances to continue so Mitko can continue preaching on TV. Thankfully the station gave him a super cheap rate because he is a Gypsy and they know Gypsies have no money. So we’ll just see what Jesus does about it.
And I guess I should have started with this story………… last night in church it started out as normal, I was talking to the kids and this sweet elderly woman that I love very much, her and I just connect. We both love to worship and drink the Holy Ghost!!!! Oh, I just have to tell you this story about this same woman: The Gypsies do this thing where when they are, like, kissing your cheek, they suck in your cheek and then they bite! And the other day, my old lady friend, she went to kiss me and did that suck/bite move on me. It totally caught me off guard, needless to say, and I must have had this surprised look on my face cause she started motioning concern like "Did I hurt you?!" And she’s all rubbing my check, and all concerned that she caused me pain. You have to understand that the majority of her teeth are broken off (!!!) so when she bit me...and as she's all concerned she is showing all those broken teeth to me, she thought they hurt me! And I just started to laugh and laugh because that wasn’t it at all - it just caught me off guard and freaked me out! - You have to imagine the scene: Here she is, not knowing any English, and there I am, and I only know a little Bulgarian, so I’m trying to explain to her "oh no - your crazy teeth didnt hurt me - that’s not it - it just freaked me out." So I pray you can picture this, the sign language, the chopped up sentences, because of the language barriers, and the hysteria of joy all at the same time.
So back to last night, when worship had ended we sat down, and as soon as I sat down next to her I was totally over come by the Holy Spirit and I just started laughing, laughing, laughing so hard!!!!! (If you know me you totally understand.) So the pastor puts the microphone in my face to amplify my laughter, which always only makes it intensify. So I ended up falling onto my old woman friend's shoulders, and I’m still laughing! and now I’m crying because I’m laughing so hard! So she takes her scarf off and begins to wipe my tears from my face, which in turn only made me laugh more because the whole time I’m thinking: "THIS SMELLS! and I need to make sure I wash my face when I get home!" Which is so insane because why *wouldn’t* I wash my face when I get home?! and what a thing to think of in such a time?!?!?!?!?!?! And now the whole church congregation is just going off the hook in hysterics! It reminded me of the beginning days of Revival in our church, when services were always a roar of laughter and joy, as a friend would have called it a JOY EXPLOSION! *SO* the next thing I know is that the Lord is wanting me to pray for this man in the church that I know is sick, and I get up to do it, and then several others are wanting me to pray for *them*, and then the Pastor is calling all the youth up front for us to pray for, and need I say, within a few minutes there are bodies EVERYWHERE! Some are shaking, some, whom I know are not saved, are in this line, and as I’m praying for them I can feel their hearts beating so fast! And the look on their faces is beyond words! And then there are the others that are so just hungry for more. Oh my!!!!, what can you say about times like these?! I so wish that I was better about putting into words the things that I see. I’m so blessed to be a part of. I just pray that as you read this you are able to get some sense of what happened here in the last 24 hours. The Lord keeps saying to me ”winds ofchange” and I guess it has begun…………
Man, talk about starting the New Year off with a bang, we sure did here! After spending 6 weeks in the United States visiting my family and friends over the holidays, I returned to Bulgaria to continue this joint endeavor with Jesus, (which is the most amazing thing I could imagine) and to think He does all the work and I have the sheer pleasure of being His partner in it!
Upon my return to Bulgaria, it was a pleasure to have my good friends Ben & Stephanie as my house guests (thanks for coming and pouring out on our beloved gypsies) and we were soon joined by my awesome friends from Dobrich. We have such an awesome network of Spirit-filled friends!!! …”Let’s Party!!!”
We immediately went into week-long meetings with Georgian & Winnie and their dear friends Roland & Heidi Baker from Mozambique. This was a set up from the Holy One – the plan was for the Bakers and Banovs to go to Sudan and then only to be here a few days (which in itself would have been awesome)...BUT GOD!!!! The Lord closed the door on their visit to Sudan and that left them here those extra days!!!! YAY for us!
It seems wherever Georgian & Winnie go these days, some sort of unusual phenomenon happens. This visit was no exception, as Bulgaria was having the coldest days in over 100 years. The hall that we rented for the conference had no heat; the temperature at night was zero degrees and below, brrrrr! In spite of this, it was the most amazing place to hold the meetings – there was a huge stage and plenty of comfy chairs for those who chose to sit. We placed the band in the center of the stage which left the rest of the floor available for dancing and worshipping. It was amazing - try to picture hundreds of gypsies and their pastors running, dancing and jumping in worship --- men, women and children. We were all right there in the middle of it – Georgian & Winnie, Heidi & Roland and myself, lost in unbelievable worship!
With expectations of miracles we weren’t disappointed. One woman was healed of cancer, she even had her doctor verify it. The entire village was so excited, because they all knew the pain she had been in and the church here in Kazanlak had been praying for her. One young boy around 10 years of age was losing his sight and not able to see at night – he was healed. There was also this older man who appeared to have had a stroke and was in a wheel chair - he is now able to walk again, (not perfectly), but getting better every day. There was also a young man who was born deaf and is starting to hear for the first time! He had a problem with his knees that affected his ability to walk – he is walking now with much more ease, and the list goes on!
I was so impacted by the sweet and meek demeanor of Heidi and Roland, amazed at how God moves through them in such a simple manner. I loved how Heidi would use the children to pray for the sick! I watched the expressions on their faces as they saw the people healed when they prayed for them and I especially watched the look on their parent’s faces, amazed that their own children can be used by the Lord! You could tell this was a totally new concept for them.
The Lord kept reaffirming the simplicity of the gospel! He showed us how it’s about everything He did. It was comforting to see and learn that a lot of things I’ve been putting into practice here are the same things Heidi has taught, things like using the children in ministry. And now I’m going to start taking some of the children with me as I go door to door and use them in even greater ways now!
While Georgian was here he was speaking to Zoia, one of the women that goes door to door with me and he was asking her how it was going. She doesn’t speak English, (nor do I speak Bulgarian) so we are not able to communicate easily. By Georgian speaking to Zoia, I discovered that these miracles have been happening: one family that had been tormented every night by fear and was set free and they are now able to sleep - another woman was healed not sure of what the sickness was but she was to have surgery and now she has a clean bill of health, it seems that everywhere Zoia and I went, something happened. Thank You Jesus!
I can’t begin to tell you how much all of this has impacted me, being a part of so many things in such a short span of time - the changes in the weather, the awesome words that were spoken to me and witnessing all the amazing miracles that are happening here. There is no doubt that God is on the move here in Bulgaria! And these precious Gypsies - the ones the world seems to have thrown away – it’s as if God is saying “NO these are my chosen people and I have put my robe on them and a ring on their finger.” It causes me even more to pursue the things of Heaven, to stir up these awesome gifts of God that I know were imparted from Georgian & Winnie and Heidi & Roland and I can’t wait to see what else the Lord is going to do here!
Today we went to Sofia for the day me, Winnie, Mitko and Dessy. And I must say I’ve really enjoyed spending these last few days with Winnie, I always enjoy spending time with her, we had the best fellowship, nothing special just hanging out, having us a little Gypsy Time.
Mitko dropped us off so we could go take care of a couple of things and as we were walk back to the van Winnie went into a market to buy some gum, while Dessy and I waited on the corner. While we waited there, we were just chit chatting when this elderly lady came walking up and just stopped, and was starring at me. I said hello and she said hello. She walked over and just couldn’t stop staring at me and I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray for her I told her I was Christian and I would like to pray for her and she excitedly said yes.
So as I began to pray for her I and asked if there was anything I could pray for, she said she had no pain and all her family was killed when the communists took over. So as I prayed for her she began to weep, I explained to her that it was the Holy Spirit touching her, she was speechless. Winnie came walking up and was like hey! What’s going on, and just laughed saying, I leave you for a just a minute and look what happens. You have to understand this kind of thing happens a lot to me here, even the first time we went to Rumania the men in the Gypsy Village wanted to know what I did to make their women cry. Dessy was telling me the woman kept saying she was drawn to me because she thought I was beautiful had to speak to me and that she felt like she could be my mother.
I’ve prayed for years that when people saw me that they didn’t see me but Jesus. He’s Soooo Amazing! Jesus said in John 12:32 When He was lifted up from this earth He will draw all men to Himself; it just never ceases to amaze me when He does it. To think here is this sweet elderly woman who has encounter with God on a street corner in Bulgaria, going home from the market buying bread and is forever change. In just a moment of time coming to know the true bread of life! How much more simple can it be, to share this great treasure that dwells in us. This simple gospel, it was a simple message to a simple people and is the same today! Christ and Christ Crucified we were all changed in a moment of time never to be the same from now to the end of eternity, we just need to keep it simple. “When the Spirit of Truth Comes”!!!!
It seems so funny, every time I get on the bus here I always think back on all our infamous bus rides, criss-crossing the country, and the sweet fellowship that was shared, let alone the drinks of the Holy Ghost! So now I’m on the bus again - on my way to Varna to meet with Pastors Mitko and Albena of Dobritch. Peter and Melda; the Gypsy Pastor in Varna, had told them about some very poor Gypsies living next to their neighborhood in the trees like the ones in Romania. So we are going to see if we can find them. I’ll let you know.
It’s very strange riding the bus here. I get a little freaked sometimes, because I’m taking this 5 hour bus ride and I can’t tell when they stop if it’s ok to get off and take a toilet break or not. LOL I know some where along the way, we will have a break, but when and where who knows, I sure don’t. HAHA! Let alone knowing when I get to Varna since I can’t read the signs either. So ok it’s an adventure, want to join me? I really am loving this, the challenges are just part of the way.
Tonight we had an evangelistic out reach in the village it was so great. I love doing that kind of thing, to me that is more fun than anything. I just love watching the peoples’ faces as they try to figure out what’s going on, and why are these people out here doing this, they must be crazy. AND THEN!!! God shows up and the fun begins. He always starts showing me different people and I’ll just go over and ask them if I can pray for them and He touches them, sometimes it’s His peace, sometimes it’s healing, or just His love that envelopes. I just love that feeling, when He wraps His arms around you like a blanket.
They had this one woman tonight that was standing in back of the crowd just watching, so I went over to her with one of the kids from church (Mikal’s daughter) and we just began to pray for her, and she started to cry and fell out under the power. When she got up she was shaking all over and over, of course I had a problem figuring out what she is trying to tell me, but I did get the fact that she had a problem seeing out of one of her eyes. So we began to pray again and she hit the dirt again but when she got up this time she had NO problem with her eye!!!!! Yay GOD! It is so simple we just need to be available for God to use. We are nothing but clay pots for Him to pour through, like that children’s song I’m a lil tea pot, (which I’ve always said must have been born out of revival!)
And Pastor Mitko and I were talking on the way home about doing this in the village Maglish (baby Winnie’s village). I pray we get the chance to do it before it gets too cold. The Pastor there really needs a breakthrough in his church. The village is against the “River” of course, you know it’s that same old thing. It’s funny no matter what country you’re in, there are always those same Pharisees, oh those temple police. And you know those temple police never know that they are being temple police. I wonder if that will ever change.
Well during worship the Spirit began to speak to me about praying for Zera (she is 8 months pregnant) and for someone in the back. I didn’t know who it was going to be, just that they were in the back, and to pray for healing. So I prayed for Zera and went to the back and there was Emile’s Grandmother, she’s a very petite women, must be in her 60’s; and very sweet and I know she must really be missing her family since they have moved so it was good to see her andWe have church every night on some nights Mitko’s father does service and I’ve yet to go to one of his, but tonight it was awesome. It is so strange to be in the service and even though you don’t know what is said you know what to do and what is going on by the Spirit.
During worship, which was awesome, which is different when Georgian is here, when he’s here its all high energy and we thought that this is how they always do which is not the case. It flows pretty much like it does in the states, they are not great musicians but they know how to follow the Spirit which isn’t that what’s all about! get a chance to pray for her. I prayed for her and her 3 elderly friends they are all so sweet. And then I realize that Pastor Mitko had in his hand a piece of clothing that they were praying over and then began to pray for healings for all that were sick. It was awesome, truly a night for healings. God is awesome! And it’s always very encouraging to know that your swimming in the same stream.
Today was so much fun, regardless of all the mayhem going on back home. When I went to the village today I took along with me one of those boxes of 64 Crayola Crayons, you know the one that you always wished you had when you were a child and if you had one, everyone always wanted to share it with you.
My kids always wanted them but it usually wasn’t in the budget to get when it came time to buy school supplies, sorry kids. It’s funny what you remember from your childhood; ok, so now what memories has this stirred for you??? And now, looking back, I wish I had found a way to have bought those boxes of colorful crayons and pottery wheels, etc. I was way too practical when I was raising my children, it’s so funny when you look back and think of what you would do different. Now I was a good mother, we did girl scouts and boy scouts, and all those lessons for this and that so by no means my children were totally deprived.
Ok now that I’ve gone on a rabbit trail let me get back to today. Oh those rabbit trails where they lead. HAHA!!! Ok so I took this box of colors and 2 vary large easy to color coloring books - the kind where you can tear the pages out - and went to the soup kitchen, where they serve soup to widows and children 2xs a week which is great and hopefully we can do it more in the future. Usually we feed about 500 at time, which is awesome because a pot of soup only costs about $50.00 US dollars.
So I pulled them out with only about 2 or 3 kids there, and they began to color, and before you know it I have about 20 kids of all ages sitting there coloring and they were loving it. It’s so funny how the simplest things can be so much fun. They were coloring from the out side leaning in on the window sill, the tables were full only leaving one open for customers, and they also use the soup kitchen as a little coffee house, which is great because it helps to generate a little money for the kitchen but by no means does it even pay the water bill.
It was amazing not one child was fighting over the colors or anything else they were all totally orderly which is a total and complete miracle from God. If you have ever been here you know exactly what I’m talking about. HA HA It usually doesn’t take much to get them going. They all were just having so much fun coloring, the boys and the girls they didn’t even think about it. They were surprised that they even could keep their pictures and take them home; it was so awesome and so much fun. Altonka and Mitko stood out side the window and watched with such joy on their faces. It’s those simple things!!! I also have with me is a Twister game and I can’t wait to see what kid of fun that will bring!
Tonight we had church; oh man did we have church!!!! We had JOY EXPLOSION!!!!!! There were only about 30 people but God’s glory came down with this explosion of JOY. Worship was amazing, it’s funny you don’t even have to understand what is being said to enter this place of corporate worship and get caught up together to that secret place. And Mitko began to preach and joy just hit the place, remember those spontaneous eruptions of joy that would start at one side of the room and like a wave consume the whole building, that’s what happened. Michael was sitting behind me and he would just explode and the next thing I know he’s doing this dance, and on the floor he goes! How Awesome!!! I just love it. Mitko was barley able to speak, he would say a few words and then begin to laugh how awesome, church as we know it! Now, he did give a message out Gal. 2 about a circumcised heart which I know was great even though I don’t know what he said, LOL! Oh that language barrier!!!! But, we’re working on that. But I know what my spirit received and it was GOOD!
Wow, second day in Bulgaria and we are on the road. It’s great, riding in the van with Zhoro, Marina, Dessy, Winnie & Georgian, great friends and great conversation. We had about 3 hour ride so there was plenty of time to catch up and get the schedule for the next few days before the team landed.
When we got to Kazanlak I finally got to go see my apartment, and can I tell you that it’s even better then the pictures I saw, so I will get to stay in it for a couple of days before we take off again. Dessy will stay with me and help me kind of find my way around during the day and at night we will have meetings, and Krassy is coming from Dobritch. Which sounds like a party to me!!!! What you think? Krassy is great! She is Mitko and Albana’s English speaking secretary.
After really long flight, no sleep on the plane, and no sleep before I left New Orleans I landed safe and sound in Sofia. It was really strange going through customs by my self. They kept looking at me and my passport. I kept thinking why they looking back and fort between passport and myself did I really look that bad that they had to make sure it was me!!! HA HA I really would like to have known what they were thinking. Oh well, Welcome Bulgaria! And then coming through the gates I see Winnie, Zhoro and Alxsandra, Winnie greeting me with flowers, they were so beautiful.
And we were off, with Alxsandra, she is the attorney helping me with my Visa process. Which is this long process of paper work that needed to be done. They have such a strange way of doing, I’m applying for a visa for Bulgaria but I have to leave the country and go to Greece to the Bulgarian Embassy apply and then they send the paper work back to Sofia and it starts all over again, with me having to go back to Greece 2 more times, that is if nothing changes with the policy which changes daily. And this is just to get permission to apply for a long term visa. You can see where there is still some of that old mind set from the former days that still weaves it’s self in there. And you must register with the police in every town you go with in 48 hours. They really like to know where everyone is. Can you imagine if in the states you went from Metairie to Kenner and you had to go register with the police so they know you are there, and that’s for everyone not just foreigners. So from there we went to meet Georgian and his mom and I finally got a chance to just sit and chill. And we were leaving the next morning for Kazanlak to begin the pastor’s retreat. So there was no time for jetlag. HAHA
Man, the great pack-a-thon has begun. As you can imagine, my house is totally turned up side down as I empty 30 years worth of contents. How on earth do we collect so much stuff as the years roll on? So if you see me and I look a little dazzed you understand why. It's kind of overwhelming going through closet after closet and everything you put your hands on is a memory, kindergarted graduation, summer camps, Christmases, all these memories with my children and I think how can I leave them? But then Jesus reminds me of what's ahead and how can I not go!?!I know that I will miss them and all my dear family and friends here, but I know what God has ahead will make it all worth while. For our life is not our own but Christ in us the hope of glory. So if you see an empty box pick it up for me I know I can use it.