march 18 – 21 2018
A scripture which was key to all our meetings was Psalm 149, which speaks singing a new song to the Lord; not only should the praise of God be in our mouths but also a the double-edged sword in our hands, and we must be available when God asks us to use it. Werner also received revelation about Jesus being the sword, the Word of God, both the Lion and the Lamb, but also that we are the sword being wielded in His hands. We later found out that the lion is the symbol of Bulgaria!
This time we represented 14 nations, 6 of which were part of the former Eastern bloc under communist rule. At our Monday morning meeting, Corrie invited us to share how we felt about each other in the east and west during the communist era. We caught a glimpse of each other’s impressions and experiences:-
Lajos from Hungary – Central European countries had more contact with the west than others. He personally received a Bible in an aid box from the Netherlands so he saw people from the west as those who helped and encouraged.
Bogdan from Poland – Christianity came first to Western Europe while those further east were considered barbarians or pagans. The division after World War II was a mirror of what went before and was due to the Yalta treaty between UK, USA and USSR. When he visited western civilisation in the USA, he found ignorance about Europe and encountered pity. John Paul II once said that Europe had two lungs but one was not functioning properly.
Angel from Bulgaria – he thought that people in the west were lucky and wanted to escape to freedom. Bulgaria felt like a prison. Many pastors and leaders were sent to camps where they died. The BG government were the most loyal to the communist system. Communism fights against God and there was a culture of spying, taught to children in schools.
We addressed the question “Are we one Europe now?” and “How do we handle the freedoms we have?” and we remembered the comment from Tunne Kelam in Estonia that under communism the enemy was known while under relativism he is not known and can be anywhere. Many of the new dangers are not recognised and we do not react, but we need to come together, stand up against these things and be more pro-active – we need to take the sword back. We should educate ourselves and face the challenges for the sake of future generations. We prayed for those in the group working in professions where it is difficult to make a stand.
Karin rounded off the day by giving us an excellent teaching session on the different ideologies of the east and the west, comparing the development of socialism and capitalism and what they have led to as well as the Christian alternative called Relationism.
On Tuesday, Angel shared some information to help us better understand Bulgaria.
The 45 years spent under communism affected many areas of life, e.g. education, and the results can still be seen.
Other former communist countries passed laws of “lustration” meaning that former KGB members would be prohibited from holding a position of influence, but this was not passed in Bulgaria. Many communists are now called “socialists” but also many now are major capitalists having made much money with no questions being asked.
Bulgaria survived 500 years under the Ottoman Empire but still have a bondage mentality, i.e. keep quiet.
Bulgaria made an alliance with Hitler’s Germany but, following a demonstration by the people and the king’s intervention, the Jews were not sent to death camps. In 1990 when there was a major crisis with no stocks of food, fuel or medication, the first aid came from Israel.
The Cyrillic alphabet was created to bring the truth of the Bible to the people.
Werner led a session on Israel and told of how his heart was broken for what the church had done to Israel. Eph.2:12-15 shows what God wants – at first only the Jews were connected to His covenants of promise but now we also have been brought near.
We watched the very moving video by Ted Pearce “Forgotten People”. Even today the church is silent about Israel. But as Jesus said “salvation comes from the Jews” and we are now one with them, grafted in.
As the 70th anniversary of the state of Israel approaches, we heard that the largest Jewish community is now for the first time in Israel. Messianic congregations are multiplying and we prayed for this to go on.
The March for Life movement which began in 2007 in Tübingen has grown and spread.
There will be an international March for Life in Jerusalem on 13-15 May, at the time when the US embassy will move there.
In Switzerland the march starting on 3 April will go into all the German speaking nations and end in the Place des Nations in Geneva, in front of the UN building.
We prayed that we would never be silent again.
On Wednesday we went in 3 groups on our prayer walks in Sofia.
Group 1 went in cars up the mountain to pray over the city and at a monastery.
Group 2 went to pray at the Police HQ, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Finance, the National Theatre, the Court of Justice, the crossroads where the statue of Sofia is and also where all varieties of places of worship can be seen, the Ministry of Education, the Presidential palace and the place where the Mausoleum used to be.
Group 3 visited the national stadium, the monument to the Soviet army, the University, the National Library, the Cathedral and the oldest church in Sofia.
In the evening, the open church meeting was held at the First Evangelical Church to which people from many churches had been invited and which was also shared by a live video link for those who could not be in Sofia. It was a good time of sharing some of our impressions, worshipping together and praying into key areas with our Bulgarian brothers and sisters. There was a feeling of ease with each other and even those who were perhaps not used to praying out loud felt comfortable. The pastor of the host church was pleased and people were touched.
We left Bulgaria under a blanket of snow but feeling that our mission was accomplished.