Robert has been working on publishing a text on the gospels and Acts for quite some time, and the results are very impressive. It has been good to spend some hours with him working on this text face to face since I have been back. It looks like we may be able to reach major mile marker during this visit.
It’s hard to beat a comfortable setting, a great home cooked meal, and three hours of serious study with a dear friend and brother. Maybe the icing on the cake could be rejoicing with he and all the family on the birth of the first grandchild.
As I headed out of the city for a study a couple of days ago, I reflected on how despite all the “westernizing,” life here remains different and in some ways more challenging that we experience. This energetic mother had it all organized for efficient mobility.
These beautiful young people have extremely demanding lives in their academic fields, but were anxious to begin studying as soon as I got unpacked. The weariness of travel- and maybe even a bit of age- melts away as we look at the Bible together.
The 30th anniversary of the fall of the berlin wall is just a few months away. It’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the idea that it has been that long. A wave of nostalgia washed over me a we mde our final approach to what is now the Vaclav Havel airport in Prague. The trip went well, though my luggage is yet to arrive. I expect it later tonight. The snow flurries would have been absolutely delightful had I not packed my coat in the checked bag. Honza met me at the airport and we spent the afternoon visiting and studying before he drove me into the old city to my accomodations.
I encountered some internet problems, during the latter days of the trip, so I’ll catch up and finish up by giving more of a topical approach. The assembly on Sunday was quite encouraging. A theme of thanksgiving had been selected for the day and all parts of the worship were built around that. While it’s always great to be reminded of that, the economic circumstances in Bulgaria seem to leave folks especially vulnerable to not appreciating what they do have. The sermon was very graciously received and hopefully productive After the worship the group enjoyed a Bulgarian styled potluck. Spending time with Biss is always a highlight of the trip. He plays a huge and productive role in the work there, and there are always many things he is anxious to discuss. During the days in Bulgaria we spent about 16 hours together. I was also able to spend time with Savella. She is still adjusting to the death if her father and in connection with that having some legal issues with their flat. I was also able to meet with Hristo and Vanya on a couple of different occasions.
Meeting with Rafik and his family was near the top of my to-do list for Sofia, and I was able to spend a number of hours with them as well. I also met with several other of the brethren as well. It’s been very encouraging to see how these relationships have grown over the years. As the group grows, it is facing some challenges that I was asked to help resolve. I also met a couple of times with a man I met on my last visit who wanted to discuss spiritual things. Things there did not progress as much as I had hoped, but that seems to have been more of a time issue that a lack of interest. I also met and talked to another person I’m anxious to follow up with next trip.
The trip to Sofia began innocently enough. The trip to the airport in Prague is always a very difficult one as I ponder where I can truly be of greatest value in my work at this point in my life. Nevertheless, I was excited about the opportunities in Bulgaria that had presented themselves.
The Sofia Airport has instituted a program to help ensure that fair taxis are available, and I chose one I felt good about. Shortly after we left the airport, I saw a car barreling towards us through an intersection. I knew we were about to get T-boned on my side of the car. As I watched it happen, I realized I was probably in trouble. However, the impact came at the best possible place given that scenario. It hit the front door post of my door. The post absorbed most of the energy, and I was unhurt. Within a couple of minutes another taxi from the same company picked me up, and I was able to get on with my day. I was truly, truly, blessed. After settling in, I was able to spend some time making plans with Biss and then working on a lesson request for the following Sunday that I didn’t get until late.
Not to be outdone, Biss was in a bicycle wreck the following day. A parked driver suddenly opened his door out across the bike lane, and Biss hit it. He too was unharmed. That didn’t stop him from spending a delightful evening with us as I hosted Rafik and his family for a meal. This delightful family continues to have thing fall into place in their lives, and they are a huge boost to the church.