Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Our Busy Schedule

With 19 days until our departure, we're still putting the final pieces of our schedule together, but here's a quick overview of our itinerary:


Monday, June 29 Depart and travel all day
Tuesday, June 30 Arrive in afternoon. Rest and fellowship in evening
Wednesday, July 1 Macedonia
Thursday, July 2 Macedonia / Stolnik (7 pm)
Friday, July 3 Sightseeing in Sofia / Bozhia Sila service (Elin Pelin - 7 pm)
Sat-Sat, July 4-11 Black Sea Camp (Chernomoretz)
Sunday, July 12 Hein-Ivanova wedding / Dinner with NM team
Monday, July 13 Fakulteta
Tuesday, July 14 Svishtov
Wednesday, July 15 Svishtov / Blaga Vest evening service (Sofia)

Thursday, July 16 Depart and travel all day

After 24 hours of travel, we should arrive in the early afternoon in Sofia. Of course, that's barring any unforeseen circumstances (such as missed, delayed or canceled flights), which we have come to expect as the norm on such a long trip. We plan to settle in, grab dinner, and get some rest that night before heading off on a 4-hour road trip to Skopje, Macedonia the next day. We're going to be meeting with Pastor Mite Goshev and his wife Krasi and family and joining with the church there for a service Wednesday evening. We'll spend the night in Skopje (a beautiful city, by the way), and we'll spend some time on Thursday in fellowship before heading back to Bulgaria after lunch.
The next two days we will visit churches near Sofia. On Thursday, we visit a Roma (gypsy) church in Stolnik and on Friday, we drive to nearby Elin Pelin for a service there. We have a long-standing relationship with both churches and are excited to see our family there.
We'll also spend some time on Friday sightseeing in the city. We have several new team members that have never experienced the culture, and we will also be joined by our friends from New Mexico. We are excited to share the city we love so much with our newest co-laborers!
Saturday, we will embark on a 6-7 hour journey across Bulgaria to the Black Sea town of Chernomorets for the youth camp. On the way, we plan to stop in the town of Koprivshtitsa, an "old world" Bulgarian village that beautifully represents the nation's rich past. There's even a sculpture that looks just like our very own Pastor Chuck Kelly!
I've already shared about camp in my last post. However, I also have a side trip planned to the town of Chirpan to visit a Roma pastor there. Mihail Kirov pastors the Salvation Christian Center and runs a ministry that distributes shoes, clothing, food, etc. to the needy in his area. A few of us are going to visit him for a day and spend time working with his ministry to see how we can help in the future.
We return from camp the following Saturday and have a very special day planned on Sunday. Thomas Hein, from our church here in Bullhead City, will be marrying Simona Ivanova, a dear friend from the Blaga Vest church in Sofia! The two met last year on our trip and have been in communication ever since. We will get to share in their wedding experience and are so excited about our two congregations growing even closer together!
The next day, we have an evangelistic event planned in Fakulteta. This Roma neighborhood in Sofia is home to the Resurrection Church, pastored by Nayden Borisov. We have been working with this church for the past several years and are excited to see what God has planned this year.
On Tuesday, we will drive for several hours to the town of Svishtov The town is situated on the banks of the Danube River on Bulgaria's northern border with Romania. We will visit the Blaga Vest church there, pastored by Ivan Motchkov and spend a day in fellowship with them. We return to Sofia on Wednesday in time for the evening service at the Blaga Vest church pastored by Ludmil Yatanski. Then, we pack up, get some sleep, and wake up early for a long flight back home!
And that's our busy schedule! Keep us in prayer, especially for health and energy. We look forward to all of these amazing opportunities to serve! God bless

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Camp Equipped

With the month of May wrapping up today, we are now only 29 days away from our departure. Tickets have been purchased, passports have been ordered, and the team's membership finalized. The one new member of our team that I haven't mentioned is young Nehemiah. He will be traveling with his mommy, Linzi, this year! This is a new experience for our team, as we've never traveled with anyone younger than teenagers. Be praying for Linzi, Nehemiah, and the team as we try this experiment and see how it goes!
Our theme at the Black Sea camp this year will be the equipping of God. We are looking at the various tools that God gives us in our spiritual walk in order to carry out His will. We will demonstrate that theme with a different real world tool each day that the teams will have to use in various activities and challenges. For instance, one tool will be the flashlight and we will discuss how God's word is a light that brings us guidance and direction. We will be using shovels, backpacks, canteens, ropes and more to give the kids a fun and challenging camp experience with a scouting feel, while also demonstrating spiritual tools that God has equipped us with to serve Him.
Let me take you through a typical day at camp... The leadership wakes up early for a 7 AM meeting each day to go over the previous day and prepare for the next one. At 7:30, the children are awakened and assemble fifteen minutes later for a quick team challenge to wake them up and introduce their tool for the day. Breakfast is at 8, followed by a time of small group prayer. Then, its off to the beach for the next 3 hours. The camp is only a short distance away, so the entire group walks there and back. We return from the beach just in time for showers and lunch, then its nap time for the younger kids. In the afternoon, there will be an activity involving that day's tool, followed by a drama to present the spiritual lesson of the day. Then, the kids are broken up by age groups and taught from the Word, followed by a craft or game. Dinner starts at 7 PM, followed by the evening service... a time of worship and teaching. The kids then enjoy some free time before going to bed at 10:30. We usually stay up afterward to prepare for the next day and go online to communicate with our families back home. A long day!!
In my next post, I'll share our itinerary for the entire trip so you can see what we're up to besides the camp. God bless!

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Year, Same Vision

Summer is rapidly approaching, which means the team is eagerly planning our next visit to Bulgaria and Macedonia. We're losing a few team members this year as Vernon Garrett and Megan Kern will not be joining us. However, Linzi Drew is planning to return after taking last year off. We've also added a few new teenagers to the team. Leeah Gadd, Haley Jones, and Sara Kerrigan are all new to the team this year and excited about taking this adventure with us!

In addition to our team, we will be working together with another team of Americans from a church in New Mexico. We got to spend some time with the couple that will be leading them and we're really looking forward to sharing the ministry together this year.

We will be leaving on Monday, June 29 and returning on Thursday, July 16. We've got a busy 2 1/2 weeks planned, with a full week spent at the Black Sea as usual for a youth camp with about 60 kids from Bulgaria and Macedonia. The rest of the time will be spent visiting churches in both countries and, oh yeah, we've also got a wedding to attend between a dear Bulgarian friend, Simona Ivanova, and one of our own from Bullhead, Tommy Hein!

I'll try to post something new here each week as we prepare for our journey, and then more often while we're there. Keep us in prayer!