Growing up in "The Great State of Alabama" you know about different cultures, especially concerning college football. At an early age you had to choose between Auburn or Alabama an embrace one of their cultures. Each culture has its differences and each culture has its strengths and weaknesses, but they do have things in common. Differences in culture can be how we talk. I live 20 miles from Macedonia where they speak Macedonian and 20 miles from Serbia where they speak Serbian. These two languages are very similar to Bulgarian but still different in their sounds and even their Alphabets. Since working with a lot of ministries from the United Kingdom, I've learned that I really have no idea how to speak English. The best way to say this is I speak Southern Americish, not English. Lord knows with my southern drawl, I am not even close to a lot of English words. I know you are asking, what does this have to do with mission work in Bulgaria? Well, I'm glad you asked,,. We live in Eastern Europe and the culture is very different from Western Europe. Minimum wage in Bulgaria is currently 310 BGN a month ($218 a month). To put it into terms for us Southern Americish speakers, that is a little over $8 a day or $1 dollar an hour (40 hour work week). Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Serbia and several other Eastern European countries live in poverty. Their buildings and roads are in serious need of repair. Bulgaria is the size of the state of Tennessee and every country around it has a different language and very different culture. But, I have noticed a great strength in all these different cultures, they care about family and friends. They bond together to work through any problems together. They eat and live together no matter what the circumstances are surrounding them. They are not too busy in their lives to make sacrifices for each other on daily, monthly or even yearly commitments to each other. I started off this blog by saying each culture has its strengths and weaknesses but they do have things in common. Even though we all may speak different languages and live in different parts of the world. Whether we live in poverty or have riches...stop today...and think about your family and friends. Is there anything you can do to make their day a better day? Wake up tomorrow and do the same thing again and again and again or make a difference in your family and friend's lives today.
For years I have been trying to understand a certain passage in the Bible. The verse is:
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I have listened to many pastors, teachers, evangelist, and instructors. I have read many opinions on this subject, also studied the Bible, and meditated the verses dealing with love. But in my life I have had doubts, unbelief and placed myself under condemnation in some way, which opens the door to fear. We all know that fear does have punishment that comes with it, in the form of torment. I am not unfamiliar with love; I know God loved us so much He sent His Son. God introduce me to my wife (the love of my life) and we have four kids that I love with all my heart. God saved my wife from cancer by His love. Also God has saved me hundreds of times in my lifetime. I was a “chance” in a million to even be born (hence the name Chance) and I am alive and well today doing missionary work in Bulgaria. I still struggled with this verse in understanding the full meaning of “no fear in love”, that is, until yesterday.
I am the type person that God has to occasionally hit over the head with a 2x4 to get my attention. Yesterday God showed me what love is about in His unique way concerning me (no 2X4 this time). Dee Dee and I took a friend and his family to visit his mother. When we arrived at the home for women in the mountains, several women came running to the front gate to greet my friend. One of the caretakers came to the gate and was informed he wanted to see his mother. We were going to take her and have a picnic under the apple tree beside the home. While this is going on Dee Dee and I were sitting in the car waiting and then I noticed the caretaker escorting an elderly lady. All of a sudden the elderly lady stopped, the caretaker starting pulling the elderly lady. The elderly lady sat on the ground, the caretaker started dragging her, and then the elderly lady pulled away from the caretaker in absolute fear, hiding in some bushes. The caretaker walked up to the gate and let my friend in the front gate, at the same time the elderly lady crawled out from under the bushes and was sprinting away in the opposite direction of the caretaker. Then my friend starting calling, “Momma, momma!” At this point the elderly lady saw her son and came running….all of her doubts, unbelief and fears were gone…she was running to her son. After kissing and hugging her son in an unbelievable embrace, Dee Dee and I wiped the tears from our eyes and looked at each other and said, “Love casts out fear”!
When we start learning how much God loves us and realize that He cares for us, we can start to walk in that love. We have to start by getting to know God, and knowing that He is the God of love. To run to His perfect, loving embrace and let it cast all of our fears away.
Daniel Chance Galloway