Bulgarians and Islam

We woke to a beautiful sunrise over the mountains, the air was fresh and cool like a California morning. We had breakfast outside on the terrace of the hotel’s restaurant. As we were leaving, the proprietor took a group photo of us in front of the hotel so we would post it on Facebook. Social media is alive and well in Bulgaria.

From there we drove to Kardzhali (pronounced Kerjali). We met at the church pastored by Hari and Penka. They are both artists and their work, mostly oil paintings, are featured and sold worldwide. We listened intently as Hari and Penka shared their heart for the lost and hurting in this predominantly Muslim area.  The stories were heartbreaking.  We were both mesmerized by their vision and commitment and deeply moved.

Owen asked me to pray for them and their ministry as closed our meeting. I must say, I felt passionate and emotionally stirred as I prayed and could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in that place.

We all left with a desire in our hearts to partner with Hari and Penka through prayer and support. We then went downtown to their art studio and were awed by their work. Some of us even purchased some of their work. While we were there we began to hear the Muslim call to prayer from the nearby Mosque. It can seem like this region is a God-forsaken place and yet we know in our hearts that God loves these people and wants them to hear the good news.

We all went to lunch and then it was time to leave.

We began another 2-3 hour journey to the Maxi Hotel and Spa in Velingrad. This is our break and time to relax after 5 intense days. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more beautiful, we arrived at another mountain region that is as stunning as any I have seen in Colorado, Oregon or Northern California.

The Maxi is quite an elegant hotel & spa and we feel sort of guilty getting to stay in such a fancy place but our host family has relatives who run the hotel and the rooms were no more expensive than regular hotels. What a nice gift after a somewhat grueling schedule. We’ve spent approximately 10-12 hours on the road the last three days.

We had some free time to swim and go into the various pools and jacuzzi’s and then we all met for dinner outside having a wonderful conversation until late in the evening. We were able to go to sleep knowing that we did not have to leave until 12 Noon the following day. Ah, sleep…

This is a guest post written by a member of a short-term team. Click here to read Day 5.

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