Terry and Tom help the Baptist Union of Bulgaria give holistic expression of the gospel. Tom works primarily in development and in job and small business creation, using these as a means to address the issues of poverty and trafficking. Tom is also involved in business-as-mission to support the ministry outreach of Sofia Baptist Church, build connections with community development ministries around the world and provide a place for job training. Terry’s work includes managing a literacy program with Roma children, working with victims of human trafficking, coordinating the Union’s partnership with IM and providing support to short-term mission teams.
They write – The literacy program teachers and participants finished off the school year in grand style this year! Our excursion was to the Sofia Zoo, and the weather cooperated nicely as we were able to walk around the zoo and have our picnic lunch, complete with ice cream, in between the rain showers! …
As I reflect on the past year that God entrusted us with helping these precious children, I have a few lessons learned and some gleanings:
–Some excellent conversations about the Bible and God continue to happen. The children ask good questions and the teachers are able to help them see more clearly.
–It’s always rather stressful as we plan for the literacy kids’ participation in Sofia Baptist Church’s Christmas and Easter programs. They have their part alongside the church’s Sunday School children and are welcomed by the congregation. But attendance at rehearsals is sometimes sporadic, and we never know until the very last minute who will actually know their lines and show up for the evening program! I really should know by now that the kids always pull through! They are proud to be in front of an appreciative audience and do their best. I’m a bit partial, but I think they often know their lines and perform better than any of the other groups!
–Some of the children’s mothers and grandmothers are now employed as cleaners on the streets or other places. While the job is not what I dream for these kids, it does contribute to peace of mind and well-being for the children themselves. With the parents bringing in an income, the children will be more likely to be able to stay in school and be free to come to literacy class.
I see that if the parents are unemployed the children are far less likely to attend school at all. These families tend to move around a lot, and there is no stability for the children. They may not be able to come to literacy if they are having to beg on the streets or get a menial job themselves, or they may move far from the church, or even move to another city. I believe we have lost two of our longtime girls in the program over the past months because of just this issue.
The literacy class is now out for summer vacation. We will begin again on September 18. Please pray for safety for all the children over the summer, and that they will return to the program in the Fall remembering some of what they learned over this past year!
We are thankful for each of you who support us in so many ways to be able to be in this beautiful country and join God at work in Bulgaria! Your prayers are felt when we are struggling or unsure, and there have been many of those moments in the last months! … Thank you for partnering with us in ministry.
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people”. Philemon 1:7 (NIV)
Read the Myers full journal at https://www.internationalministries.org/category/journals/.