Andrew and Kate Blackwell are ECM workers in Bulgaria. God drew them to Bulgaria with a focus on human trafficking, but has progressively shown them that the deeper need is for the TRANSFORMATION of Roma communities, as they explain:
"But such transformation is complicated, and facing a cycle of brokenness. The way Roma are perceived in Bulgarian society fuels discrimination, and factors including poverty, lack of education, racism, relationship dysfunction, and corruption limit the options available for Roma. The poor choices that inevitably result therefore, reinforces society’s negative perceptions.
"This has led us to the relational whole-life discipleship ministry of Navigators, “Discipling for Development” (D4D). But we also know transformation cannot take place without the work of the Holy Spirit. When we battle spiritual oppression, ignorance of discipleship, limited theological understanding, and social justice policies which seek to satisfy needs rather than teaching people to solve their own problems, we know the transformation is beyond human effort.
"Please pray that we will constantly recognise our deep dependence on God, and on others to stand in prayer with us.
"Please pray for perseverance, and for diligence in praying for and seeking prayer for all aspects of this ministry.
"Please pray for ministry partners. To make progress, we really need to make strong connections with at least one couple who live locally, and are mature, bible believing Christians, with a heart for seeing transformation in Roma communities through whole-life discipleship.
"Please pray for the International Baptist Church of Sofia, as we help a new pastor transition in, and seek to encourage our congregation to understand God’s story, and how he draws us into it.
"Please pray for coworkers, Radi and Ani, for strengthening their relationship, for spiritual protection, for improved health, for wisdom in parenting, and wisdom in managing relationships on the other side of the country."
Bulgaria could be described as a post-Ottoman, post-Communist, (mainly culturally) Orthodox country, and the legacy of each influence is complicated. Perhaps somewhat harshly described by the Economist (2010) as “the world’s saddest place”, there is an air of fatalistic resignation regarding continued corruption and injustice. There is a lack of trust of outsiders, and a blindness to racism and discrimination, especially towards the minority Roma and Muslim populations. Within the national churches, real whole-life discipleship is rare.
For more information on the Blackwells, click here.
Read more about Bulgaria here.
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