It Was a White (Cross) Christmas in Bulgaria!
White Cross funds collected by American Baptist women all over the United States helped to make Christmas merrier for lots of folks in Bulgaria this year!We were privileged to be able to help provide food, clothing and health supplies for children and senior citizens in Sofia, Guliantsi, and in several orphanages around Bulgaria.The generous White Cross grant we receive yearly made it all possible.Thank you, American Baptist Women!!!We'd like to share some of the holiday joy with you through these pictures.
Along with our pastor friends Ivan and Tedi, missionary colleague Susan Linderman, and Chris Marziale (Valley Forge staff liaison between International Ministries and American Baptist Women's Ministries and the White Cross program), we visited an orphanage in the town of Pleven in November.65 children were given bags containing food items, toothpaste & toothbrush, and a teddy bear.The teddy bears were courtesy of the American Baptist Women of Colorado.The kids loved the chocolate and the teddy bears!White Cross funds also purchased cleaning supplies and medicines, as well as a much-needed lawnmower for this orphanage.
Senior citizens throughout Bulgaria often gather in clubs during the day for a light lunch and fellowship.It gives them a chance to get out for awhile and meet with friends.Pastor Ivan goes once a week to one such club in Sofia where he shares about Jesus through the reading of scripture and a devotional.White Cross funds bought food bags for 60 seniors, which included sweets, cheese, meat and fruit. The seniors, mostly women, who live on an average pension of $50 a month, were very grateful for the gifts.Pastor Ivan told them the contents of the bags were for THEM, not their children, grandchildren or neighbor's children!
December 17 was a big day in the town of Guliantsi where 70 children whose families are on social assistance received Christmas bags filled with food items and warm socks.The children and their parents crowded into the church meeting hall in time to hear a Christmas sermon and Christmas songs played on the guitar.Most of these folks had never been in church before, and God used the young man who was speaking that morning to present the Gospel to these people in a most appropriate and understandable way.White Cross funds allowed the church in Guliantsi to reach beyond their doors to those in need in their community.What a witness of love during the Christmas season.
In addition to these gifts, White Cross funds also helped supplement gift bags which were put together by members of Sofia Baptist Church.These bags were delivered to six different orphanages.In all, our White Cross grant helped over 600 individuals this holiday season!
Did you know…
…that White Cross was started in 1919?
…that American Baptist Women contribute $800,000 annually through the White Cross program to support American Baptist missions both in the United States and overseas?
…that Bulgaria receives a yearly White Cross grant to help children and seniors?
Bulgaria Joins The European Union
On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria and Romania became the two newest members of the European Union (EU).New Year's Eve is always a big holiday in Bulgaria, but it was even more important this year with the country's entrance into the EU.Fireworks lit up the skies all around Sofia.It truly was an historic moment in the history of both these countries which overthrew the chains of communism in 1989.
In spite of all the celebration, both Bulgaria and Romania will be subject to the toughest control and terms ever imposed on new entrants.Bulgaria must show significant progress in their fight against organized crime, corruption, and reform of the judicial system, reporting to EU officials every six months.
This latest enlargement brings the number of EU member countries to 27, and another 29,000,000 (7m Bulgarians, 22m Romanians), mostly poor, citizens into the union.Each country has a GDP of about one-third the EU average.Bulgaria now gains recognition as being the poorest country in the EU.
Most Bulgarians interviewed on television viewed the entry into the EU with pride and hope, expressing the desire to improve Bulgaria's image in Europe and abroad, and hoping their children and grandchildren will have a better life by staying in Bulgaria.
President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso said, "Welcoming two new members in the family, we know that our culture and heritage will be richer and our economy will be boosted."
Only time will tell what effect EU membership will have on Bulgaria and her people, but for now most are happy to be "European citizens".
Prayer & Praise Requests:
- Please pray for the children in the orphanages throughout Bulgaria, that through the various ministries working with them, they will come to know the love of God.
- Please pray for the seniors in Bulgaria who often struggle to meet their basic daily needs.
- Please pray for our family that we will feel God's presence and guidance during this New Year.
- Praise for all those who contribute to White Cross and helped to make the season brighter for nearly 600 children and seniors!
You Can Help...
If you would like to support the ministry of Tom and Terry Myers please send contributions to:
P.O. Box 851
Valley Forge, PA 19482-0851
Please indicate that your contribution is for the ministry of Tom and Terry Myers in Bulgaria