Situation in the country
The eastern European country is situated in the Balkans and borders in the north on Romania, in the south on Turkey and Greece, in the west on Serbia and Macedonia and in the east with its so-called Gold Coast, on the Black Sea. Approx. 7.5 m people live In Bulgaria, 1.2 m of them in the capital, Sofia. More than 70 % of the population live in the country's towns. After the collapse of the eastern block, the country was for a long time one of the poorest countries in Europe. In the meantime the economy has recovered, and well-known foreign worldwide concerns are represented in Bulgaria.
The largest minority group in Bulgaria are the Turks (approx. 9.4 %), followed by Romanies (approx. 4.7 %), who particularly suffer from poverty and live mostly in ghettos. Children have almost no opportunity for schooling and thus have no access to society.
Until 1947, the Orthodox Church was the state religion, and today it is the predominant church in the country. The communist rule, lasting almost 50 years, led to godlessness, strengthened atheism and brought about economic collapse. Three to four generations of Bulgarians grew up without knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, the Saviour. Today there are two traditional religions in Bulgaria: Christianity (Orthodoxy) and Islam.
The new constitution holds to religous freedom for all churches, but the Orthodox Church uses its influence to weaken the position of other churches.
About 79 % of the population are orthodox, and 1.7 % protestant.
Evangelicals of all denominations constitute 1.9 % of the population. 12 % of the population are Muslim, consisting of Turks and Bulgarians who have converted to Islam, the so-called Pomaks
What we do in Bulgaria
We produce and distribute Christian literature in the Bulgarian language. We distribute the Bulgarian magazine PROSOREZ for adults (currently 2,500 copies) at, for example, several dozen universities, grammar schools, schools, libraries and also in all existing prisons. We distribute the children's magazine PETETSCHKA (2,500 copies) in play-schools, children's homes and other institutions. We translate LICHT IM OSTEN (LIGHT IN THE EAST's) Russian-language books, which we then print and distribute at evangelistic meetings, or we provide Christian book shops in the whole country with them.
We support several missionaries as well as evangelistic projects and PETETSCHKA children's clubs in various towns.
We run a soup kitchen for senior citizens, organise a literacy programme for Romani and Turkish children, and we offer social-welfare assistance in clubs for the handicapped and the elderly, and also in homes for senor citizens, for children and for the blind.
Die PETETSCHKA is in great demand, not only with children, but also with teachers and school managements. In addition we pass it on at meetings that we hold with our children's puppet theatre. Although we often meet with refusals, we do not cease knocking at other doors, and so we again and again reach different schools and play-schools. As part of a two-week evangelisation campaign we thus visit over 30 schools and such like. The PETETSCHKA clubs are attended regularly by children - together with their parents and grandparents.
For many years we ran holiday camps for teens and children. For a few years now we have, instead, held family camps. In this way, the parents can also take part in various activities. Apart from that, we offer seminars specially for parents on diverse topics. At these camps many are converted and start a new life with God.
Every Sunday afternoon our missionary teams leave Sofia for various towns in the surroundings, up to 150 km away. In Sofia we regularly visit two homes for the elderly. Again and again people there are converted and saved. Besides this, we have started a ministry in a home for the blind. Recently a blind resident gave his life to God.
People not only come to our soup kitchen to eat, but also to enjoy fellowship and to study God's word. In the meantime not a small number have found God. A number have also passed away and are with God.
In Plovdiv, the second largest town in Bulgaria, a home group was recently started. A former drug adict is working there, who came to faith and attended a Bible institute.
We are grateful to God for the construction of our multi-purpose building in Sofia. The work is in the final stage. The people working on it have become tired, as we are building it ourselves. We hope very much to be able to inaugurate the house in the spring.
We would very much like to extend our publishing work, to raise the PROSOREZ numbers to 5,000 and to publish more Christian books, this includes making and printing a new translation of the New Testament.
In the evangelistic area, we would like to increase the number of PETETSCHKA clubs, improve the ministry of the children's puppet theatre and set up more teams for our evangelistic meetings.
There are towns and villages where Turks and Pomaks live. There is an urgent need to send missionaries there. Because of the high rate of unemployment there, this is not possible without financial support for the missionaries.
Our audio-studio ministry has suffered of late, as the workers have been fully occupied with building our Christian Centre. This ministry needs revitalising.
The work of our theological college with its correspondence and online courses was progressing very well, This was however dealt a severe blow by the death of two of our colleagues - Svetlana Vylkova and Snezhana Petkova. We hope to be able to continue the work well.
Ministry with intellectuals: We are preparing seminars on various topics in connection with literature, history, religion etc. Owing to a large number of personal contacts, a number of students have become Christians and been baptised. They are now actively contributing to the ministry.
It is our burning desire to organise symposia with competent guest speakers.
for a good political, economic and social situation in our country, so that we can continue to distribute
our magazines and literature in various towns and villages, especially amongst Muslims.
for the completion of our Christian Centre. Moreover, we still need the operating permit from the
for the continuation of existing ministries and projects, especially: literacy project for Romani and Turks;
the training of young preachers at the college, above all for the ministry amongst Romanies and Turks;
establishing churches in various towns such as Plovdiv.