This is a big week for fighting injustice in our communities concerning Human Trafficking. We are visiting our church plants and engaging in the fight for the children of these communities. Bulgaria is mostly a country of origin which means our girls are kidnapped or tricked and will be transported to other countries. After starting heathy churches in communities the next line of defense to the dangers of Human Trafficking is to make the community aware with the information of the truth, then empower these communities to take action by protecting these girls from the dangers of human trafficking. Some of the communities we are ministering in this week are where girls are being tricked or stolen every month. We work hard to fight against the brokenness in these communities by training up Godly leaders, creating jobs through micro-enterprise, feeding and clothing the poor. This week we are empowering the nationals to take action. The team is led by Dee Dee Galloway, Hollie Wells, Petra Ilieva and Meghan Shuffet from Samford University and they are going into these communities to engage the church to be aware, to bring the light to dark places, and to be a difference where the norm is hurt, brokenness and poverty. We are going to the root of the problem by informing our girls and community of the traps of Human trafficking. We are so encouraged by the willingness to stand and get involved by the people in each of these villages. They are standing up after the presentation excited to engage in any way they can, by prayer, continued awareness to their friends and neighbors, and even putting their hands to work by coming alongside and offering help to pull weeds, paint, doing odd jobs at the new home for at risk girls! We love that they are taking ownership, taking a STAND, and bringing light to injustice! Please pray for us this week!
A lot of my post, shares, and updates are about our “doings” because, to be honest, the Lord has us busy doing a lot these days. Everything that we have prayed for the last few years, spoken about, shared with others, fundraised for, are coming to fruition and all at about the same time. But that is not what today is about. Today I want to share about our “being”.
Today is a Saturday. A gorgeous Saturday in our new apartment. We loved the place were lived for the last 5 years, it was such a God-send and we knew without a shadow of a doubt that was exactly where God wanted us, but last year God opened the door through a wonderful Christian family to provide a new place for us to live. We have worked very hard to remodel the new apartment over the last year and have finally moved from “this needs to be done” to “let’s sit on the balcony and enjoy”. The other apartment was in the center of town in the rush and busyness of town. A great place to walk anywhere you needed to go, but our new place is in the center of a Bulgarian neighborhood and it is a bit different.
Instead of the sounds of the street noises of cars, racing motorcycles, drunken pedestrians in the late night, football clubs celebrating their recent victories, and the ping ping ping of the walking signal feet from our bedroom window, now my sounds, sights, and smells are filled more with the family lives of everyday Bulgaria. The sounds of father and sons working on their cars, children laughing and riding bikes, women working on their terraces hanging clothes and fiddling with their balcony flowers.
The smells….oh the smells are what I am enjoying most of all. Instead of car fumes, I am enjoying the fragrance of the blooms of spring, the smell of grilled meat or vegetables, and freshly washed clothes on the line.
The views also can’t be beat. The apartment, which is in an old concrete block building set around Bulgarian family homes, has two terraces. One which looks to Osogovo mountain and one on the other side that looks to Konyavo mountain. We were also able to paint the walls with colors that made it feel a bit more like home, and it’s amazing how being engulfed with familiar colors has comforted our souls. God has blessed us with a place of peace to recharge our batteries and engage further into the lives of every day Bulgarians and we are so very grateful.
Don’t get me wrong, the place we enjoyed for 5 years before was perfect for what we needed at the time for location, for size, and to grow in deep relationship with our amazing landlord. We are just enjoying this new transition and thanking God for changes that are sometimes uncomfortable and a lot of work, but bless our hearts in the end.
The last 5 ½ years we have had temporary residency status and have had to apply each year for a new permission to stay. It required lots of time, documents, money, and trips to the local notary and police departments and usually lasted 3 months from start to finish. Last week we were able to apply for our long-term residency status that will last 5 years. With the new transition of home that feels more permanent and projects that are really setting down long term roots, it feels as if we are transitioning from a season of plowing and planting to a season of growth and to things that are blossoming, and we are excited about this new season of life. Thank you to all who join us on this ride.
Written by Dee Dee Galloway