Someone had told them that our church would help …
Two Bulgarians came to Sunday morning service and requested two tickets to return to their homes. A month ago, the church paid another person’s ticket home when their money finished and hope for work also finished. If you help someone, others who also need help will find you. Acts of compassion breed more opportunities.
The two Bulgarians were told to come back again for the Bulgarian service at 3.00 pm. The Church Bulgarian team interviewed the two before assistance would be given. The one Bulgarian named Ivan lost his wife a month ago in a car accident. At just 30 years old, the in laws had his daughter. He was without work and the emotional pain of Ivan’s tragedy stole his ability to raise his glance to our eyes.
We explained the Gospel and God’s love for him. God wants to take his pain and give him hope to live. Ivan repeated a prayer as we lead him to invite Jesus in his life. We gave him a New Testament in Bulgarian, but he prefers to read Turkish. He read John 3.16, and then, he read John 1:12. When he read Romans 8:28, suddenly he switched to singing the words like a Turkish song and tears flowed down his cheeks. God’s word was touching his soul. He called the New Testament, the Koran. He said there is one God of all religions. We explained that Jesus is the one way. He sang Romans 10:9 and wanted to know if there are Turkish Christians. Understanding was breaking into his mind, and his spirit started to lift. The Spirit was working right before our eyes. He said that he had never read words that touched him so profoundly.
I called my Christian friend in Istanbul, Abdullah. He talked to him for a long time on my mobile phone. (That’s one expensive phone call that will be worth paying). Abdullah encouraged him and he started asking more questions. A quick call to Al Mellinger in Bulgarian produced contacts in Bulgaria that would help him when he returned to Bulgaria.
Tickets for return were purchased for the midnight bus. They would not have to spend another night on the streets. When I left Ivan and his friend, two members of our Church Bulgarian team were still explaining the truth of Jesus until they had to go. What great rejoicing and encouragement fills our hearts when visitors come to church and receive what they need, and not just what they want … Jesus.
PS: Abdullah sent me a text message this morning saying, “Mike, He told me that he is a Muslim. I think that he is really a poor guy. He needs help. He was glad to hear a voice of a Turkish guy. But he was not keen to hear about Jesus.”
Praise the Lord. The seed of God’s word was sown in another human soul.