Christmas greetings from Bulgaria! The first snow of the year has finally arrived and we have 2-3 inches waiting to be shoveled off the walk tomorrow morning. The boys are excited and are hoping we get enough of the white stuff to go sledding during their Christmas break.
As we look back on the past few months, and are currently in the midst of this beautiful Advent season, we realize that we have been the recipients of many gifts during these past months, given to us by a wide variety of folks, at various locations. It has been a privilege and a blessing to be the receivers of these presents.
THE GIFT OF HOSPITALITY
Tom received the gift of hospitality in all the churches he visited during his time in Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming for the World Mission Offering blitz during October. To those of you who hosted him and made the necessary arrangements for him to speak in your church, a big THANK YOU! To those of you who were praying for Terry and the boys as they remained in Bulgaria without Tom for so many weeks, another big THANK YOU! We are encouraged by the preliminary figures coming into International Ministries from the church, which shows an increase in WMO giving. But lots of prayer is still needed to reach the 36% increase and to avoid any missionary recalls. Thank you for your faithfulness and your continued giving to keep all International Ministries missionaries on the field.
THE GIFT OF GIVING
On a Saturday in early December we loaded up our van with the family and lots of gifts and headed northeast to the city of Pleven. Here, along with our friends Pastor Ivan, his wife Tedi and their children Mony and Pepi, we delivered drawing paper, markers, toothpaste, toothbrushes and chocolates to the children at the "Four Leaf Clover Home". This orphanage houses about 60 children from the ages of 3-7 years. Pastor Ivan presented the staff with New Testaments. We also purchased cleaning supplies for the orphanage. All these gifts were made possible because Bulgaria is now a recipient of White Cross funds. Half the grant of $1050 was used for these items for the orphanage. Read on for how the other half was used!
The most special gift of our time at the Four Leaf Clover home was a presentation by the children of Christmas songs and a dance depicting the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was so adorable when Prince Charming kissed the sleeping Snow White and they rode off together on his "horse" into the sunset!
This was Pastor Ivan's first visit to this orphanage. He was quite encouraged by the staff's openness to the Gospel, and is hoping he and his church (in the nearby town of Guliantsi) will have an ongoing and fruitful relationship with the home.
The other half of the White Cross funds were used to buy Christmas gifts for the children of Sofia Baptist Church, the church we attend. The older children and the youth will be receiving roomy backpacks to hold their schoolbooks, and the younger children will be getting umbrellas that are just their size. Of course, all will be receiving chocolate Santa Clauses because it just isn't Christmas in Bulgaria without chocolate! We will witness the smiles on all their faces as they receive these gifts on Christmas Day. It is a tradition that the children of the church give their program on Christmas Day, and after the program are presented with their special gifts.
Our thanks to all American Baptist Women for your support of the White Cross program! We are so thankful to be among the recipients of your labors of love!!!
THE GIFT OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS
On a personal note, this has been an extra-busy season for our family, as we are sure it has been for yours as well. Besides practicing for the church Christmas program (where both A.J. and Nathan will have quite a few lines in Bulgarian), they both received parts in their school's musical, "Into the Woods", and were involved in hours and hours of practice. In a nutshell, the musical is a combination of various fairy tales, woven together by the two main characters, the Baker and his Wife. A.J. was the Baker, so had many lines and songs to memorize. Nathan played the part of Steward to Cinderella's Prince. He had several lines, the most famous one being "SHUT UP". Those of you who know Nathan can imagine how he loved actually having permission to yell this line at someone else!!! Both boys did an outstanding job and we are very proud of, and thankful for, our little Broadway stars!
God has blessed us with the gift of wonderful family and friends. As we celebrate another Christmas here without being near our families, we are thankful for friends who always seem to be there to fill the void. Friends have been God's very special gift to us during these past three years in Bulgaria.
THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL
The greatest gift is not one wrapped in expensive paper and shiny ribbons, but is the Christ Child, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger in a humble stable. God's priceless Gift of Love is still giving life to all who accept it. May you experience God's Gift of Love in a special way this holiday season.
Please pray for:
- Pastor Ivan and Tedi as they prepare for the birth of their third child soon after the first of the year, and for their continuing witness to the people in Guliantsi and Pleven.
- The children in the Four Leaf Clover home for children, and indeed all the children in Bulgaria who are growing up in orphanages without many of the basic needs of life and without the Word of God.
- For us, as we start the countdown to our U.S./Puerto Rico assignment in June of 2005. There are so many details to be taken care of before we leave Bulgaria for a year.
Chestito Rojdestvo Hristovo e Blagoslovena 2005 Godina!
Happy Birth of Christ and Blessed Year 2005!Tom and Terry Myers
Missionaries in Bulgaria