I come from Bulgaria, which is a country situated in South Eastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. From 1944 to 1989 my country was called “the 16th Republic of the Soviet Union”. The regime was so strong, that the Communist Party did not allow anyone to visit church, to pray, or to express his or her beliefs publicly.
It was forbidden for the Evangelical Churches to work among the young people. Many ministers were put in prison, or deported to different ends of my country and were prohibited from visiting their families. They were not allowed to leave the villages to which they were deported. Many of them were put in so called “labour camps” where some of them met their death.
In 1989 freedom came.
It was something that I never thought would happen. I remember vividly coming home from school and listening to the radio. The news bulletins told us that the regime had collapsed and I could not believe that it was real! At last we could breathe and allow ourselves to dream for the future.
I was not a Christian at that time.
I belong to a family closely connected with the Communist Party. My family name (Alexiev) is famous for that in my home town.
In 1990 I had to join the army and to serve there for one and a half years. The time in the army was very, very difficult for me. The humiliation in the army is indescribable. As a result I ended up in hospital.
One day when I was expecting my parents to come and visit me, I saw a man who was looking for somebody and he asked me if I knew this person. I did not.
I saw in his hands a small, but thick book with hard covers. I do not know how that question come to my mind, but I asked him: “Is that the Bible, sir?” He replied: ”Yes, would you like to know more about the Lord and the Bible?” I got interested and we sat down on the nearest chairs and he shared with me the Gospel.
On that very day in the summer of 1991 I came to Christ.
When I finished the army I returned to my home town, where my parents lived. I found a church and started attending it. It was very difficult to find work and to make ends meet at that time, but I managed to find small job for a short period of time.
More than anything I wanted to study the Bible and to know more about the Lord. Then I learned that in the capital of my country (Sofia) there was a school for divinity and I may study there for a Bachelor Degree.
I shared my desire with my father and asked him if he would allow me to go to Sofia to study Divinity and if he would help me financially. He was not happy at all about my desire and told me that he would not allow me to go there.
He also forbid me from attending the local church. But I said to him that with his approval or without it I would like to go and study more about my LORD.
Then he beat me!
He hid my Bible and forbid me even to think about such matters.
But I was determined, and one day I said to him that I was going. He said that he would not help in any way. I went to Sofia and studied Divinity for 4 years at the Evangelical College there.
There something remarkable happened.
I realized that the Bible was written mostly by Jewish people; that I believed in the God of Israel and that Jesus Himself was a Jew. I started to think how I could share this Good News with the Jewish people in Bulgaria. I wanted to tell them that the Jesus in the Gospel was their Messiah.
A friend of mine put me in contact with a minister in Israel and I wrote to him asking him to help and advise me as to what to do. He said that he was not able to do much for me, but that he would transfer my letter to his Mission’s Headquarters in London.
Then in 1996 I received an invitation from Christian Witness to Israel to take part in the two week Summer School in the U.K. This helped me a lot to realize my calling from the LORD and to want to work for the salvation of the Jewish people in Bulgaria. I applied to work with CWI and from 1998 until now I am their missionary among the Bulgarian Jewish Community.
From 1997 to 2003 I was based in a town called Rousse, which is situated in the North of Bulgaria, where I served CWI and as a minister to the local Evangelical Church. There I met my wife, Margarita and in 1999 we married. We have one daughter, and at the moment we are expecting another child, which is due to be born at the end of this year.
In October 2003 we moved to the capital, Sofia, where the largest Jewish population in Bulgaria live. I left the ministry with the church and became a full time worker with CWI.
God did something great in my life.
I lived without hope and without any understanding of why I am here, where I would go after my death and what was the purpose of my life?
Communism did not teach me about that!
BUT the LORD gave me the hope and the meaning of life. To love HIM, to serve HIM and to live a life which is glorifying HIM.
Soli Deo gratia!