However, I am sure and I believe that God hasn’t changed His attitude and eternal love to our country and my people, and especially to the people whose need is the same and which is even more they need His love to be expressed to them.
Let’s see what it is all about through the following statistics:
1. Unemployment rate – 80 – 90%, but the country officially declared 16%. The explanation is easy, in practice 16% are those who have been registered at the Labor (Unemployment) Bureau, and for the Roma persons it’s a taboo. Unfortunately, almost 75% of them are young people under the age of 39. Moreover, the women constitute almost 66.1%. (90% declares they want social aid – around 60 leva($40 or 30 Euro) and they want to work. 84 % from the whole Roma population is living in extreme poverty and penury.
2. Education – 64% from the above mentioned people haven’t completed elementary school.98% of the group under the age of 39 haven’t got any length of service and any even a chance for any. 0.001% is the presence of Roma students at the universities in the country, Between 1 and 2 we can look for serious relations and consequences.
3. Health conditions – in spite of the 1% of the Roma people dies before reaching the age of 70 according to the data. However, the Bulgarian population lives 15 more years than the Roma. From now on the list can be long – without any social security, they have to suffer the lack of any medical service. Apart from the problems of the hardly languishing cart of the Bulgarian Health system, it puts the Roma people in a quite a unfavorable and softly said discriminatory politics. We can continue… Almost 80 – 90 % of the people suffering from tuberculosis are of Roma origin. 80% of the people suffering hepatitis B and C are Roma. During the last few years the statistics of the age of death is going down – the cases of people dying before the age of 40 are increasing.
4. Other Factors - Prostitution – HIV – at the prisons and houses of correction, the per cent of Roma people is 90. I won’t be commenting on the issue of discrimination at the sphere of justice, mass media, authority, press – the endless stream of primarily negative materials and publications are destroying the image of the Roma people who are anyway already not having quite a good image.
According to the data from the counting of the population of 2001, the Roma people are around 370 000 people. Instantly the population living in the southeastern regions of the country which is primarily Turkish speaking, would most probably identify themselves as Turks. They are more then 250 000. This comes as a consequence of the idea of denying their Roma belonging so that they can cut away the shame of being a Roma – people 3d hand and to be positioned as the people belonging to the lowest social stratum. However, according to external sources, the Roma people are more than 900 000 people. And some other sources indicate that the number of the Roma people in Bulgaria is 1 200 000. About 15% or more, from the whole population of the country, there hasn’t been any case when the Roma population has passed the threshold of 4 % in order to have their representatives in the authority. From 240 representatives in the Bulgarian Parliament only 2 are Roma – they were chosen by the ruling coalition. For the last two mandates none of these 2 persons has been given the chance to speak even for 2 minutes on the Roma problematic.
Here we can go on with the statistics for quite a long time. Actually, I wrote all this to describe the conditions and the environment in which the church in Bulgaria is functioning. The right development and the strategies for development of the church require it. What’s actually happening in the church has been kept in secret. For the past two years in spite of my being away from Bulgaria , my heart has been with the brothers and the ministry there. We haven’t stop even for a little while to feel a part of all what is going on there. Because of some reasons our close contact or our taking part in the ministry has put us as a balance in each or almost each situation – crisis or good for the country and the church as a whole. Although physically being away from Bulgaria , I haven’t been far away from what’s been happening with my country, my brothers and my sisters there is my heart.
Nearly 1000 churches in Bulgaria almost 600 are Roma. From different denominations - Bulgarian Church of God– 80%, United Church of God – 80%, Assembly of God 50 -60%, Prezvetarian -70-80% and so on.
The overseers and the people responsible for the denominations cited above can be counted on your fingertips. The same approach can be used when discussing the issue with the pastors who are being supported financially by the denominations. It is such a pity to see how the Roma society is being on the rocks so that some other project can be done, but in practice for the Roma church or minister there is almost nothing. 90 % of the ministers are uneducated ( a big percent of them do not have any theological training). The situation is too grey - without any church buildings, any heating, almost without any resources the church is still existing and this is a miracle of God!!!
Around 8 000 000 of Bulgarian population official statistics point to, of all protestants believers are 0,53%, - less then 1%.
Shalom – not as in the evangelical greeting or cliché, shalom as in the Word of God – Rema. It is an experienced and working Rema of the Lord, which exceeds human expectations and understanding.
Shalom when the battles are too much and the burden is strenuous…
Shalom when in spite of the cold and the darkness you go on.
Shalom when the path is long and you mustn’t stop.
Shalom when the brothers around you betray you.
Shalom when you search for and rely only on God and His peace will make the impossible things for the humans, possible with Him!
Shalom, because the peace of God is actually the victory and the victory by itself leads to the peace of God – this is evidence that God hasn’t been staying aside from your life.
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom!!!
The Church - What’s the calling of the Church – to be praying for the salvation of souls of the people, and to be a pillar and support for the Truth, to be a place of worship. All this is true and is good to be done.
Liberations - Which is even more, we shouldn’t only pray for the ill to be healed, not only to chase away evil spirits, and to set free the people in the name of Jesus… we will do in too if God lets us do it…
But isn’t the church also called to bring in freedom and change from the discrimination, racism, and xenophobia? The church has been called not only to be a religious institution for the salvation of the people, but also to be a catalyst of social and considerable processes in the society as a whole and the politics, as well as in each level of the social life.
Many of the brothers do not understand it right or have somehow distorted idea ( I am not their judge however), but it’s not only an issue of politics, it is also a an issue concerning the Standard of the Calling of God to the people so that they won’t be in the slavery and darkness as they were before getting to know the Lord.
Most probably you are acquainted with the leadership crisis at the moment, and now is the time to ask you not to cease to encourage the brothers, no matter what they have been doing till now.
The sharp need and the poverty are bad advisor and sometimes it distorts the ideas of accountability and uprightness in the measuring of the finance at the leadership of the church as a whole. I know it is not easy for this to happen, but Shalom, Shalom, Shalom… God is in control of the situation and He has already taken care of all this. We can work with them redemptivlly.
Of course, after we have pointed out the weak points we have to know how to go out of the crisis. And the solution is only this – Shalom, Shalom, Shalom – which means full trust in Him, prayers to God, because He is faithful. Amen!
Necessity of Education and training is the key element to the solution of the problem we are facing. Education and total education, and I thank you for the help and support for all this.
We need more training centers, not only 1 or 2, in Razlog so that as many faithful brothers as possible can get trained in order to know what’s to be done and how to be done. We need people who know the Word of God and to live according to it, Amen!
Shalom, Shalom, Shalom!
This is actually the next main moment. During the last few months we stayed in fasting and prayer asking God to show us His will for our future work and ministry in Bulgaria .