My Christian story
My name is Assen Christov Christov. I am married. My wife Violeta Christova and my daughter Estir Christova.
I am the Overseer and Founder of the movement for Roma Churches and Community in Bulgaria and I am a Deputy Overseer of the Bulgarian Church of God for and an overseer of the Pirin Macedonian churches. I received the Lord Jesus Christ 27 years ago and as the Bible says in Acts 16:31 Believe and you and your whole house shall be saved.
Short - Background
I was born in Bulgaria, a country who has recently started its democracy and the church of Christ was released from the communist burden and yoke. Persecuted and chased by the communist party in which my name has also been written, reminding me of the story of Saul (Acts 22-26) as a persecutor to the church after which he was changed by the grace of God as Paul the Apostle, a beginner of the Church of Christ.
I remained an orphan when I was 5 years old, and my childhood was spent in orphanages.
I am not saying this by chance – since my childhood and I want to make a remark that my wife and I have been together during these years when all children and orphans were raised with the ideology of the communist party at the background of the full lack of God and atheism.
This was taught in high school and in the university, everywhere around us. This was the politics of the communist party – to prepare since the beginning its children and to choose the ones that are more active for its future work. After I came back from the army I was accepted to be a member of the communist party and managed a few organizations for a different period of time, I worked for the Bulgarian equivalents of the KGB and FBI. I worked against the religious activities and the evangelism.
The church at that time consisted of a few brothers and sisters from Razlog and the region and a few different places. They used to gather in the basements of some of the believers’ houses. Just like Saul and used to persecute “the American sect” as they used to call the evangelical churches at that time. I used to persecute and cause problems for the group of believers at that time. I talked to them and convinced them in the atheism and looked for ways to cause problems for them and to stop them from believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.
So one day when after the terrible incident with a motorbike I was taken to hospital where I had a damaged body, no hope or courage and fully disappointed by everything that had happened in my life so far. I had no hope and in all of this I couldn’t find a reason to continue forward. I was very confused – without friends or relatives, only my wife and the pain. The doctors couldn’t tell me what happens when a person dies. They couldn’t answer my questions. They couldn’t give me hope and a chance to live.
One night I had a dream I was climbing a narrow staircase to the sky but it wasn’t dangerous at all but I wasn’t alone. There was a big line of people and it was very nice climbing the stairs until the moment I was in front of the “big gates” and the gates shut just in front of me. I had been waiting for so long. Then I heard a voice saying: “it’s not your time to enter but a day will come when you will enter and see everything inside. I asked if I can enter and look around. I heard the voice saying: “It has to be talked very much about what you will see”. Read the Bible, and one day you will see.
I woke up very excited and I couldn’t understand what had happened in my heart.
What had happened to me? Where was I? Had I died?
Who was I talking to? I didn’t see anyone but I felt the presence of A PERSON and it filled my heart with peace that I hadn’t felt so far. What had happened?
I asked roommates, I asked doctors about the Bible, and they laughed to me. Where Bible here men? You are crazy! How we can get Bible here! We are communist. How can get Bible???
Few years letter one of mine co-worker told me his story. One the market place some body shouted: Good news for Salvation, for every one free. What is that book for Salvation-free. How? He took the small new Gideon’s new testament and started to read. Now he is good pastor.
But for me - How can get Bible???
The same day the small community that I was persecuted, they brought me New Testament, and told me:
Brother God loves you! I started reading the New Testament the believers had left for me. I didn’t stop reading to John 3:16 and I understood that everyone who believes shall be saved and the ones that don’t has already been condemned.
That was the answer to my questions…everyone who believes. I didn’t know how to pray but God showed mercy and saved me.
HE SAVED ME, HE FORGAVE MY SINS, HE GAVE ME ETERNAL LIFE, HE ADOPTED, ME HE GAVE ME NEW LIFE, AND HE BAPTIZED ME IN THE HOLY SPIRIT!
ALTHOUGH I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT WAS HAPPENING TO ME I WAS SO HAPPY THAT I SPOKE IN TONGUES FOR HOURS… AFTER THAT I UNDERSTOOD HE HAD HEALED ME FROM MY DESEASE. ALLELUJAH!
I was happy and singing to God with a new song, a song of my new life and the hope He had given me, a song of His mercy which He had given to me. Amen.
In The Beginning of My Christian Live
In fact I knew what would happen later on and for this I give the glory to God for His mercy and for all that He had been doing, Has done and is doing in my life for His glory!
I wont’ stop thanking God for His mercy because in the time when I received Jesus it wasn’t safe to be a Christian and a real follower of the Lord Jesus Christ especially if you have been a communist before.
I remember David’s story in 1 Solomon 21chapter.
Then I had to face the devil’s attack from many sides:
- Although my wife was happy to see me healed at home she wouldn’t even listen about God or come to church with me. She used to be a communist too.
- My relatives didn’t want to have anything to do with me because of my faith and because I had been talking about Jesus all the time. They thought I was mad.
I was losing my job.
I lost my friends
– they wouldn’t talk to me because I would talk about Jesus.
That is what happened the first few weeks after accepting Jesus. When I went home I threw away all the alcohol and cigarettes in front of the eyes of my amazed family and my wife who was asking me to leave something for guests. I explained to my wife that I have become a Christian and want to commit our home to God. There will be no more alcohol or cigarettes in this house. The neighbors were asking me to leave it for them because it’s very expensive but I wouldn’t give it to them. I thank God that having done all of this for me God also saved my marriage. I stopped smoking. God had changed my life.
My wife wouldn’t believe in the beginning but one day as I was praying she came to me and said she wanted to accept the God that had saved her marriage and had changed her family.
It was a real joy in my family when my wife accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour. On the same day she was baptized in the Holy Spirit and for more than 4 hours she spoke in tongues and prophecied. After a while both our families became Christians. Many people heard about Jesus and were touched with the Gospel of Jesus.
We promised God that me and my house shall serve the Lord and committed our lives to Him. In 1993 we finished the Theological Seminary in Moscow together with my wife and after we came back to Bulgaria we felt this holy burden that God had laid on our hearts – to commit ourselves to the Field of God by helping in the preparation of workers for His Harvest.
Luke 10: 1 We started a real missionary work in our own country between our own people. With the help of God and His special leadership we:
Started the first Biblical Center for preparation of leaders and beginners of new churches in Pirin Macedonia, and Bulgaria. In 1998 we transformed to the Bible School which for 7 years has prepared 265 pastors and ministers from all ethnoses and Christian organizations in Bulgaria. More then 400 new churches and communities have been planted. The list can be long and here we have to underline that God has used His vessels and instruments in order to pour Himself through them and to feed the hungry.
There are many testimonies for these 17 years. We have had disappointments but God has lead us through all of them and hasn’t left us.
In the beginning of 1998 God laid on our heart a vision for work with the Roma people in Bulgaria and Macedonia. Officially Bulgaria declares that it shows tolerance to the religious and ethnical minorities in Bulgaria but in reality and in practice it is not like that. The roma people in Bulgaria are more than 1 000 000 and more than 16% of the population. Only 0.01% of the university students in Bulgaria are Roma.
The unemployment rate is very high. In some places it can reach more than 95%. People have no incomes, no education, in a terrible environment with no water supply, hot water, telephones or electricity. In many places Roma people are considered responsible for all bad things and disasters happening in our country.
I have written these things because I want to underline two things:
1. God loves the gypsies and Has a special message for them.
2. In order to shed some light on the matter what the working conditions in Bulgaria are.
In the year of 1998 we started the Association of the Roma pastors in Bulgaria and started a real work on a national level among the minorities in Bulgaria. It wasn’t easy at all and I know that it won’t be easy to continue but I known that God is calling young and committed people to a ministry and the truth is that uneducated and unprepared men go around preaching the Gospel that people are being saved.
This is why we feel this calling from God and this holy burden in our hearts to continue working in the churches and communities. To work for God and to participate in the Harvest.
We believe the answer to the need is education and this is the vision God has given us – to prepare ourselves and to go back in order to serve Bulgaria and to reach people with the Gospel, to educate the pastors and the ministers, to help the orphans, to be a helping hand for the people in need.