Greetings everyone from Deyan Delchev's house here in the outskirts of Sophia, Bulgaria. Very exciting things are going on here and the message is being received in a powerful way. As Deyan himself said, "things are happening here in Bulgaria and people are interested - because nothing ever happens here." I rejoice to see how God is moving in this small country of 6 million.
We arrived here last Thursday, July 20th. Deyan and his wife Ruzha graciously allowed us to sleep in the beds of their two children, Neda and Svetlin. We were excited to see that Deyan and his companions had completed work on the attic. He had hurried to have it ready and we praise God that we had a nice space for the first set of meetings to happen from Friday-Sunday. (Big thumbs up to Radi and Nikolay)
Adrian and Deyan had only met for the first time in person last year, though they had skyped for a few years before that. At that time, two other brethren, Radi and his wife Mary, were baptized by Pastor Adrian. Radi (he and his friend Nikolay were converts straight out of the world) now came prepared with a video camera and clip-on microphone to record all the talks. Very happy that they will be on youtube with Deyan's bulgarian translations!
There were about 30 people at the meetings throughout the meeting, including children. Many had come from relatively far to attend, with people sleeping in their cars or at friends' houses. The core of the group meet and discuss on Skype, and personally for me it was good to see how serious and motivated they were to learn more truth and to share it. Their politeness and regard for the message was evident; they were serious Bible students and had a well grounded Adventist pioneer foundation.
Friday night was on the Father-Son relationship; then Adrian talked about the history of his ministerial career with the church and how it ended. This was interesting for people to know how to proceed into the future, but it is an area that each must spend much time in prayer on. The 'Penalty of Sin' was also preached, and the 'Ever Present Cross'. Many had tears in their eyes. I was impresed to notice that many had read the publications and were well studied in much of the material. Deyan has translated so much into Bulgarian, and for a country of only 15,000 adventists the amount of downloads is impressive. I hope to help edit the english versions of the some of the english books he has written.
On Sunday we talked more of the Divine Pattern (the Father-Son relationship) and how we can learn from their relationship and apply it to all our relationships - whether it be with the church, the government, with our family, etc. Pastor Adrian also went into the Sabbath Fountain and how the appointed times are an expansion of the Sabbath according to the magnification principle of the Divine Pattern. The Feasts are therefore designed to bless us and offer us more of the holy spirit through a correct understanding of righteousness by faith. Seeing as Monday night-Tuesday was a new moon, many were excited by this and wanted to study this. Praise God.
It is special too that there are people from the Adventist Church along with the Reform Church coming together in harmony. Many have not heard of the Adventist Reform Church, it started when in 1914 Conradi encouraged and allowed Adventists to bear arms and fight in WW1. This upset many and led to the schism; their church started in 1925 and is mainly a European phenomenon. They have kept up an understanding of Father-Son and therefore many of them, at least in Bulgaria, greatly loved the message shared. It was lovely to see them getting along and finding there way into new truths on the 1888 platform.
On Saturday 3 were baptized, including Stilean's son Desislav and wife Ileana and our good friend Deyan, the translator of all the material into Bulgarian and a writer of his own series of books based on the relational-kingdom called "The Legacy" (which I hope to edit soon) based on the inheritance given to Christ from His Father. On Sunday, Tanya, a woman married to Ben, a dutch man who are both in the reform church, requested also to be baptized. Her joyous prayer after her baptism inspired Valentine and Zvetla, a couple who had joined the reform church a few years ago, to also be baptized. This type of baptism I sympathize with, as I did the same in Australia just this last passover! Many taste the spirit and see it good, and want to be baptized into the begotten son while they can. Who knows when we will meet again? Valentine, I believe, was very touched and he took many books with him to share because he could not spend the next few days with us in our next meetings.
Monday we left Sophia and travelled to a small town about 2 hours away to spend the New Moon in the mountains near where Radi lived, where we would spend the night in a chalet as a group. It was near God's Eye Cave if anybody would like to google it. The question was asked about perfectionism, which led into talk of the covenants and righteousness by faith. A brother named Stilean asked about the book of the law in the side of the ark, that if God is ever-merciful, how about the punishments written in the book? That led into talks about Stoning and the Principle of the Mirror and how we judge, so shall we be judged (Matthew 7:2). The systematic logic to answering these difficult questions in the light of how Jesus dealt with the Adulteress in John 8 was greatly appreciated and God was praised.
We then went to visit the cave, which was just beautiful. The cave was actually more like a huge carved out rock passageway connecting to open areas that we imagine water must have rushed through during the flood. In the middle are two great symmetrical oval holes on the roof of the cave that look out to the sky. The look like two eyes, and thus the name, God's Eyes Cave. It is famous enough to be in a Bulgarian movie and also is a famous place for rock climbers.
In that cave we sang songs and the harmonics and resonance made it sound beautiful. We set up the camera and recorded in the cave, where Adrian talked more of the mirror and how God commands us things in our hearts to make us aware of our sinfulness; most forcefully shown in the story of the Canaanite woman and the offering of Isaac by Abraham. Hopefully if the video is seen the viewer will be able to see the grandeur of this special location. Hopefully more videos can be recorded in such locations in the future.
We then drove and did another talk on a little island. The children played with Ritz, Nikolai's large black german shepherd, while Adrian talked about Elijah and his similarity to John the Baptist and how both were put under severe trial to be purified. For me, this is one of the most amazing and beautiful topics which is described in large part in the booklet "The Ministration of Death".
We then drove back to Deyan's house. After the excitement of driving through the rain with old, old windshield wipers that had to be replaced, we arrived safely back in Sophia. As we parked back in Deyan's driveway, we finally caught a glimpse of the New Moon above the setting sun before it was covered by the clouds. Praise God, Adrian was pretty sick but the promised spirit got him through it to record some very important talks.
That night, a church member who actually voted to disfellowship Deyan last year, called him for help as his car had broken down on the side of the highway. I went with him and we hooked a cable up to Deyan's worn out car and pulled them across the city back to their house. Praise God that he keeps Deyan's car going, which held up heroically. May God work in their hearts to see that Deyan is just following his conscience following the Son of God.
We had one more meeting at the other Deyan's house, a former lay minister and good friend of Deyan the translator. The connection of the character of God, the Sabbath more fully, and everything to the 3 angel's message was made. Amazing sermon. There was a an old gentleman there named Emuel who was following every meeting who just opened up and was loving it. Praise God
The last night before we left we had a chance to give a message at a gypsy church in Ihtiman, Bulgaria (name given by turks when they came to conquer the city - "ugh, fog", lol). This was a unique experience for me. Zlatan Davidov (check his youtube for original gypsy adventist music) is the leader of the church, which is in his house, who sometimes comes to Deyan's church. When Deyan was disfellowshiped, Zlatan asked him to preach in his church in Ihtiman to show him he was still a brother to him. When Zlatan heard Adrian wanted to come he was excited and gathered the 15-20 members of his church together. This was a powerful night, as Adrian preached for 3 hours or more and the gypsies were willing for him to speak all night. They cried as he preached about righteousness by faith and how God would help purify and sanctify us, and sang an original song in response. Truly an amazing experience.
Adrian and I are now in Zrejanin, Serbia, with brother Boris. Thanks to Nikolai for driving us here and spending 2 nights here, including the Sabbath. We had an interesting meeting here, with the people much more confused by the other godhead movements here. In contrast to Deyan, who has a good team around him, Boris is very much alone in having a respectful attitude toward the church. Please pray for him and pray for us as we head to Czech this Thursday. Peace