Monday, September 29, 2008

September 2008-Johnson Ferry Baptist Church Team

These have been busy weeks for us in Bulgaria. We thank you for your continued prayer support. In the next few days I will be reporting on some major developments for BCI. I am eager to share with you this project.But now, let me update you on the latest team activity for BCI.

One day after the Towne View Baptist Church team left, another Atlanta-area church sent a team to Bulgaria. On Sunday, Sept.7 we welcomed a group of volunteers from Johnson Ferry Baptist Church. The team was organized by Peggy Fulghum, who works with the "life after 50" group in their church.

I have to say that there was one volunteer who was much beyond the 50 year point, Coe Hamling, Peggy's father. At ninety, Coe is by far the oldest volunteer yet to come to work with us and I have to admit he outpaced many of the younger members of the team. He was in amazingly good health. Other team members were Carol Epperson, Becky Gardener, Bobbie Osburne, Eleanor and Ray Schaterbrand, Sandra Stuart and Susan Thomason.Our friends Paul and Vicki Bennett from Gatlinburg, TN joined this team upon their own arrival in Bulgaria. We have known the Bennett's for nearly 20 years and are very happy that they could come and work along side us for a while.

This team traveled to the Rose Valley city of Kazanluk for their week of work. Many of you know George Gurdev, the young Bulgarian who studied first at Oklahoma Baptist University and then at Truitt Seminary in Waco. Some of you will remember him as a translator for some of our teams. George took over the leadership of the Kazanluk congregation when his father, Hristo resigned about 1 and 1/2 years ago.Many of you have prayed for Zdravka, his mother after her brain tumor, surgeries, and stroke. She is doing well and actually made it to church for the ladies' meeting while the team was there.

I depended heavily on George and his wife Laura to help with some of the arrangements for this team, including preparing a light lunch at the church a couple of days and finding a couple of terrific translators for us.

Our work was focused on providing some tender loving care to children in the home for babies and handicapped children in the village of Buzovgrad, just outside of Kazanluk. The director had also requested another job assignment - that of painting a long corridor in one of the buildings. Well, you all know how those paint jobs go, you paint one place and that makes the rest look bad so you continue to paint! So, a hallway, a large landing-lobby area, and some bathrooms were painted. The fresh white paint brightened everything.

The volunteers were all eager to hold the children or play with them. And the children were all certainly eager to be held or to play. They were starved for the attention. They came running as soon as they knew we were on site. I was especially proud of the way this team cared for the handicapped children. They took them out of their beds and outside. They sang to them, patted them, and spoke tender loving words to them. Not everyone can handle this type of work, but these folks were not at all put off by the appearance of these children.

On Tuesday evening, Peggy led the women's meeting at the church. There was a large gathering- about 60 ladies! The team had brought many small gift items and made little gift bags for each of the participants. But the real gift was the sharing of hearts. Ladies from both sides of the Atlantic shared their longings, troubles, hurts, and blessings. They prayed earnestly for each other.

On Wednesday evening, George delivered a wonderful sermon and again there was time for corporate prayer as the group called on the Lord. The team left with a love for the children, the Gurdev family and for Bulgaria.Thank you Johnson Ferry Baptist Church for including Bulgaria in another of your missions.


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