Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ from cold and snowy Bulgaria!
We arrived in this new country on January 7, and have been on the go ever since! Our flight here, leaving from Denver, Colorado, was long, but uneventful. We received a warm welcome upon arrival at the Sofia airport from several missionary families, who have been such a blessing to us as we learn about the Bulgarian culture and way of life. We are currently living in a temporary apartment, but plan to move to another, permanent apartment next week. After looking at places all last week, we have decided on an apartment we think will feel like home to us, and is in a central location. We are in the process of furnishing the new place, which is quite a challenge since we know very little Bulgarian! God has provided so far, and we know He will continue to take care of us.
Sofia is a bustling city of 1.25 million people. It is currently covered with lots of dirty snow, so we have yet to see a sidewalk, let alone the landscape! On sunny days, we can see beautiful Mount Vitosha looming high above the city. Many people enjoy winter sports, and we hear the skiing in the nearby mountains is first-class, and much less expensive than the Colorado ski areas! It has warmed up to above freezing the past two days; so much of the snow is melting, although it can snow here on into April.
A.J., our eight-year-old son, is off to a good start in second grade at the Anglo-American School of Sofia. Unfortunately, the school did not have room for Nathan, our six-year-old, in their kindergarten. He is enrolled at the American English Academy, a small Christian school that was started in Sofia by an American couple. He is enjoying school now, after a rather rough adjustment period last week. We hope to have them in the same school this fall.
Tom and Terry are scheduled to start language school next week. Please pray that our minds will be open to learning the Cyrillic alphabet, and this strange and new language!
The members of the Sofia Baptist Church have been very welcoming and very much affirming the need for an agricultural missionary in the country. Although we are the first American Baptist missionaries in Bulgaria, there are many other Baptist missionaries already ministering here. Southern Baptists, General Baptists, Baptist Bible Fellowship, Independent Baptists, and now American Baptists are just some of the Baptists all working together under the umbrella of our partner, the Bulgarian Baptist Union. Most of the other missionaries are in theological education or pastoral training, so having missionaries working specifically with agriculture and women’s/children’s ministries is a new thing. Pastor Teddy Oprenov has a good understanding of what is happening in these areas around the country, and the Baptist Union board has some ideas for ministry. The Sofia Baptist Church has two services on Sunday morning, both of which are filled to overflowing, as well as Sunday and Wednesday evening services. Sunday School is provided for the children during the second Sunday morning worship service. Both A.J. and Nathan have really enjoyed attending Sunday school with the Bulgarian children and some other “missionary kids”.
Tom had the opportunity to go to some small villages north of Sofia last week with a couple who do music ministry as well as independent mission work with some Bulgarian orphanages. They also have a good knowledge of Bulgarian agriculture, and the success, or lack of success, of previous agricultural projects. On this day, they were delivering clothes and coats to Gypsy children. The Gypsies are considered the lowest class in Bulgaria, and most live in extreme poverty. It seems the school in the Gypsy community has closed, and the children were being bussed to the nearest Bulgarian school. Many of the children did not have shoes, let alone warm clothing or coats. Tom was able to visit two Baptist churches and meet the pastors. One of the pastors was the former town drunk, who was very opposed to, and even intimidated, those starting the church. How great is our God to take a man who once opposed him, change his heart, and then use him to build the very church he once opposed!
We would love to hear from you. We covet your continued prayers as we leave behind family, friends and the familiar, and adjust to our new life and ministry with the Bulgarian people.Shalom and God’s Blessings,
Tom, Terry, A.J. and Nathan Myers