Tag Archives: missions

Bulgarian Bible Study and Book Translation

Starting a Home Fellowship Group in Sofia

Buxton Building

After a couple months getting to know the spiritual situation in Sofia, we have decided to start a weekly home fellowship.Our first meeting will be next Sunday with several couples who became Christian after the fall of communism, but have since left the church. This is a very common story here – America’s not the only place with a growing “dechurched” population!

Please pray that we would be able to reach people who have stepped away from the church and are questioning what they were taught about the faith. In addition to those couples, there will also be an interested unbeliever attending.

Book Translation

Discipleship EssentialsWe recognize that a lack of Biblical resources in Bulgarian is a great hindrance for the church here. Nansi has selected the first book to begin translating, Disciple Essentials by Greg Ogden.

At first we will do a partial and informal translation for use in our discipleship group, but we are exploring a way to officially translate the book and make it available here in Bulgaria.

 

Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize

This is a great resource of 10 short statements about the New Testament that are useful when discussing the historicity and formulation of the Bible that we hold in our hands today.NT

Since this is a pretty common area of attack against Christianity today, each fact links to a more in-depth post backing up the claim. I would highly encourage you to check out the link!

Thank you for your continued love and encouragement.

Blessings,
Owen + Nansi Paun

Partner with us: Eastwest.org/PaunDonate
Our Mission: MyDailyTestimony.com/Sofia

Sofia, Bulgaria

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As of September 2017, our team still needs $600 in monthly support to be minimally funded and remain on the field. We are looking for 12 people willing to partner with us for $50 per month. As you read about our calling and mission, please consider partnering with us!

Until January of 2015 year my wife and I were missionaries in Pskov, Russia.  There we came alongside a local church and partnered in their ministry.

(Listen to the above audio for a more in-depth update)

In Pskov, our work centered around orphanages, drug & alcohol rehab centers, and youth ministry. Unfortunately, new legislation by the government has forced us to leave the country.

In conjunction with our supervisor we decided to relocate to Sofia, Bulgaria – a Slavic country in Southeastern Europe that borders Greece and Turkey.

Bulgaria Total Population: 7 million
Bulgaria Total Protestants: 65,000

Ethnicities:
Bulgarian: 5.25 million (30,000 = .5% Protestant)
Roma: 300,000 (30,000 = 10% Protestant)
Turkish: 560,000 (95% Muslim)

The Roma (Gypsy) and Bulgarian populations are highly segregated. Of the ethnic Bulgarian population, less than one-half of one percent self-identifies as Protestant of any kind.

(Evangelism in a Slavic, Orthodox Context)

Over the last several months, we have been evaluating the mission field, getting to know local churches in Sofia and missionaries around the country.

3 Key Areas of Opportunity:

  • Internship program: Christian groups aren’t allowed on campus, so we’ll embed Christians on campus. (Read more)
  • Sermon and Book Translations: Bring solid Biblical resources to the people of Bulgaria.
  • Church Planting: Initially in Sofia, with the goal of spreading around the country.

Below are two recent sermons that I preached:

Every Christian’s Ministry

Invited by the King: Would you turn down a free invitation to a royal wedding?

Pskov: The Russian Region That’s Dying on Europe’s Doorstep

An article from Time shows the particular problems that the Pskov region is facing:

“Having tucked into his first bottle of vodka earlier than usual, Anatoly Zhbanov goes on an afternoon stroll to buy another one along the dirt road through Lopotova, a dying village on Russia’s western edge, in the region of Pskov. It is mid-April, and clumps of snow are still melting at the roadside where Zhbanov, a local artist, stops to peer inside a lopsided cabin, the home of a local bootlegger. In the window stands a plastic jug filled with murky liquid, its neck sealed with a rubber glove that seems to be waving hello. “That’s how you know it’s ready,” Zhbanov says. “The gas released from fermentation makes the glove inflate. We call that the Hitler salute.”

In the past few years, the region of Pskov has become famous in Russia for two interconnected blights: moonshine and depopulation. In 2006, a brew tainted with chemicals killed at least 15 people and poisoned hundreds, marking the first time a Russian region had to declare a state of emergency because of vodka. Last month, when the federal government released the census data collected in 2010, Pskov earned another claim to fame: it is dying out faster than any other region in Russia’s heartland … more than 6,000 villages have turned into ghost towns, or as the census calls them, “population points without population.” About 2,000 of these are in Pskov.

In just eight years, the region has lost 11.5% of its population, a rate of decline more often seen in times of war and famine. This might have been expected in Russia’s permanently frozen north, like the region of Magadan, once home to the Gulag prison camps, where the population dropped 14.1% in that time. But Pskov lies on the border with the European Union, and the city of St. Petersburg, Putin’s birthplace, is only 100 miles (161 km) away.

In Soviet times, huge collective farms and machine works were based in Pskov. Village life thrived, and the main city was famed for noble things like fending off the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. But traveling the region’s backroads now inspires the creepy feeling that a plague has just passed through. Every few miles a cluster of huts emerges from behind a hill, and most of them turn out to be abandoned, their floorboards warped and splintered, releasing a smell of decay. The fields are overgrown, and old grain elevators tower over them like enormous ghosts — landmarks to Russia’s demographic catastrophe.

“People know that working a tractor means getting up at 5:30 in the morning, washing yourself, getting dressed, staying sober the whole time and working a full day at the wheel,” Turchak says. “The mentality here is such that people ask themselves, Why would I humiliate myself like that?”

That doesn’t seem far from the truth in Lopotova. Around sundown, one of Matveev’s friends passes by, drunk and stumbling, having finished a day driving a combine a few towns over. “There goes one of our working stiffs,” Matveev calls out to him, and the rest of the young men burst out laughing before they settle back onto their log.

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Lots of updates and photos from our mission trip to follow. Please subscribe to our mailing list to learn more!



We’re Headed to Pskov, Russia!

Pskov in Europe

My wife and I are headed to Pskov, Russia!

We recently quit our jobs and are moving to Russia with a team of three for a year. Nansi will be helping orphans, I will be working with local churches and Philip will focus on corporate prayer. We are going with East-West, a missions agency dedicated to the Great Commission.

Lots of updates and photos to follow. Please subscribe to our mailing list to learn more!

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