As Bonnie flew back to Atlanta the second time, I went to Bulgaria to acquaint myself with Bible League Bulgaria, a national ministry that is now part of IGOww.
Over the summer Bonnie’s mother’s health had been declining and, more lately, Mother has been in and out of hospital and rehabilitation. After a brief attempt to return to her assisted living apartment it was confirmed she needed a higher level of care. Bonnie spent August in Atlanta to help her sister with that and to give relief with numerous related tasks. Now it’s hospice for Mother and Bonnie returned to Atlanta early for our annual US trip to Board meetings so they could visit once again.
While Bonnie was away in August I spent time in Bucharest, Romania. Christ For Romania is an evangelistic endeavour of Jonathan and Andreea DeSeno. Consistently and tirelessly they witness, give out tracts, DVD’s and simply care for people on the streets and in the parks of Bucharest. In addition to that they are part of a team founding a new church. It is a calling - a gift - to effectively share the Word of God with true love and concern. It was a growing experience to walk alongside Jonathan. And it was a privilege to spend an evening with their church leadership to help them think through administrative concepts and craft their vision and general goals.
Bible League Bulgaria is a well-established ministry that has proven marvellously successful over more than a decade in the printing and distributing of thousands of Bibles and the planting of numerous churches. As I was driven throughout the country, the vast farm fields being made ready to receive seed for a new crop pictured what I saw spiritually at every stop. Both the enormity of the geographical and the spiritual scene was startling - a huge challenge was being tackled and dedication and innovative skills were being employed to literally transform families, villages and schools. I witnessed, with a lump in my throat and open-mouth amazement, the lessons from school teachers (who are new Christians) and the response from children that now get Bible instruction as part of the curriculum. I spoke with a town mayor who depends on the Christians to make his town safe (he bought them pews and a pulpit as a ‘thank you’). I poured over statistics, material and maps that show the impact the gospel made in places (some of which are wholly Turkish or Gypsy). These servants of the Lord are ordinary people who largely fund themselves to sacrificially focus on changing the face of a former Communist country. We are confident the boxes of Bibles we delivered is seed that will produce more and more for the Kingdom in a very fertile place little known to many of us. I am excited to anticipate involvement with them yearly as they train more church planters . . . and to bring you into this picture to hear God is truly at work and be encouraged by the investment you make.
- Praise that Mom Ripley knows the Lord and is at peace to meet Him face-to-face
- Praise for good ministries in Romania and Bulgaria
- Praise for good people and a good spirit in the life of Buckingham Evangelical Church
- Praise for health, energy and the Lord’s undergirding for ministry
- Pray for Bonnie’s mother and wider family during this difficult time
- Pray the new partnership in Bulgaria - Bible printing and distribution and church planting
- Pray for the church in Buckingham - growth and outreach
- Pray for our annual time in the USA visiting US missionaries and Board meetings.