08 Dec 2011 – Stunedt Day Celebrations
Jan 2012 – BCSU board, staff and volunteers meeting Feb 2012 – Balkan Staff Consultation March - April 2012 – Evangelistic events in the local student groups 5-10 April 2012 – European Evangelism Conference, Gyor, Hungary July 2012 – Summer Project 2012
for all the BULGARIA GLOBAL PROJECTS alumni from America, Bulgaria and England. The Reunion will start in the afternoon on the 11th July (Monday) and will end with breakfast on the 18th July (Monday), 2011.
The DRAFT SCHEDULE:
11th and 12th July - stay in Sofia
13 and 14 July - stay in Veliko Turnovo
15th July - visit to Summer Project 2011 venue and meet with the students there
16th and 17th July - stay at a Black sea resort
18th July - end of official Reunion
The program will include visiting some of the emblematic places for the Summer Project: Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Nessebar, etc. We will also join for a day the participants in Summer Project 2011 and will have the opportunity to share with them, commemorate the previous projects and their role in the pioneer years of the student movement, give thanks to God and pray for each other and for our movements. We will also enjoy the sunny Bulgarian summer, the gorgeous mountains and the captivating seaside. And last, but not least, we will again taste some of your favorite Bulgarian food, like shopska, musaka, banitsa, gyuveche, etc.
Those of you who are married are invited to bring their spouses and children along with them. Of course, you can stay longer than a week and visit other places in Bulgaria or Europe if you arrange accommodation for yourselves before or after the Reunion (we might be able to help you find accommodation in Bulgaria).
COST & DEADLINE:
We will send an email in March 2011 in which we will give you more details about the venues, the exact cost and the detailed program, and will send the Application Form for you to fill in.
Roughly we expect that the fee for full lodging per person for 7 days plus travel expenses within Bulgaria will be about 340 LEVA or USD 230 or GBP 145. There will be discounts for children under the age of 7.
The deadline for sending applications is 1st of March (Tuesday), 2011.
The Summer Projects started right after the fall of communism in Bulgaria, with the first InterVarsity Global Project to Sofia in 1991 and have been running all these years. After a short interruption, the projects were resumed thanks as the first UCCF group that arrived in the late nineties. It’s been almost 20 years of fruitful cooperation between our movements. So, our desire is to get together, see old friends, meet participants from other years and celebrate God’s guidance and provision down the years for our movement and the Summer Projects.
It will be a privilege for us to have you here among us since you each have become part of the history of the Bulgarian Christian Student Union. So, we hope that you will be able to put aside a couple of weeks and join us during the Reunion. Also, if you keep in touch with any other American, Bulgarian or English project alumni, pass this on to them (as we don’t keep track of all of them).
From 8 to 19 July BHSS, in cooperation with UCCF England and IFES Netherlands ran the Summer Project 2010. It took place in Kazanlak and its theme was “Freedom of Choice: the Role Value Systems Play in Shaping Behaviour”.
The Dutch students arrived on 6 July. After some sightseeing in Sofia they visited the Dutch embassy where they met with the Dutch ambassador Karel van Kesteren. They told him what the theme and goal of our project was and then were able to ask Mr van Kesteren many questions regarding the ambassador’s life and work. Finally the students gave as a gift to him him some Dutch cookies. Trif Trifonov, coordinator of the project, gave the ambassador the Summer Project 2010 T-shirt as a token to remind him of the meeting.
The UCCF students arrived on the following day and the students from both countries had some time to get to know each other and to take some rest before travelliing on the following day. Next day they all traveled by bus to the venue of the project – hotel Tonzos, situated in the Balkan mountain range, not far away from the town of Kazanlak. Trif Trifonov led two Orientation sessions on Bulgarian history, present spiritual situation and the Easter Orthodox theology and practice. Jo from the UCCF team led some ice-breaking games.
The activities of the SP started on the evening of 9 July with the Official opening ceremony. After some welcoming words and explanation of the goal and the programme, Trif Trifonov gave a talk on “Free to Ask: Why Believe Anything at All”. The other two topics were given later in the programme by Liselot Zuur van Delden, the Dutch team leader (“Free to Choose: Is Jesus the Only Way?”) and David Anthony, the English team leader (“Free from the Matrix: How Can We Find Real Freedom?”). Each team made a presentation of the surveys they had done among students from their own countries on “Personal Position: realities and applicability” and then compared the attitudes to freedom at universities in the three countries. There were four “Freedom and Culture” Multitrack sessions in which each team acquainted the other students with the way the theme of freedom is reflected in their national literature, films, politics, music, etc. Rusi Slavov, Alla Uzhakova and Trif Trifonov were responsible for the Bulgarian multitrack. By reading famous poems and songs about the April uprising, communism and the totalitarian period we showed how highly valued national and personal freedom are in our national history. Dutch and English students learned some important words and phrases, and even performed the songs we sang at the Open Mic Night. The Dutch and English multitrack sessions were also very interesting and helped students get an insight on what attitudes to freedom are in the Netherlands and England .
Besides the three expositions, the other evangelistic components were the three small group sessions. There were 6 small groups, with mixed attendance of Bulgarian, Dutch and English students in each. The three topics “Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up”, “Resurrection: life changing or foolish news?” and “Are science and Christianity Incompatible” aimed at discussing how personal freedom could be found by trusting the Biblical witness about Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, as well as apologetically remove some barriers Bulgarian students have to accepting the good news. For the first time two of the six groups were led by Bulgarian students. There were many other aspects of the programme that contributed to the whole atmosphere of acceptance and love: the Photo Scavenger Hunt, the sport events (Bulgaria again won the football competition), the dances, the Amazing Race, the water fight, the trips to Koprivstitsa, Sopot, Karlovo, the ostrich farm and Damascena, the social action day, serving at the old people’s house and orphanage, the water park, the Guardian movie watching and discussion, the Open Mic Night, the culture evenings of Bulgaria, England and the Netherlands, the chats till late at night, the “Project Through My Eyes” session at the end of the project…
Those students who came for the first time at a BHSS event appreciated the fact that we are discussing spiritual matters since that is not possible at university. They were also touched by the love the Christian students from the three countries demonstrated. One of them said: “Everyone is so open and friendly, so loving that it felt like a different universe. I forgot all my problems and enjoyed every minute of it!” Another one said that he hadn’t expected that ‘everything would be so great here’ and thanked to his friend who had encouraged him to come. Some did not arrive with very high expectations. But they all were challenged to rethink their attitude to ethnic and religious minority groups and overcome their prejudices and feelings leading to discrimination. Students learned that our beliefs and value systems really matter and shape our behaviour, for good or bad. Some found out that some aspects of their beliefs did not match with each other. Through the experience the BHSS student leaders were trained to work better as a team and to are now more confident to put together other events on their own. The organizing committee did an excellent job and learned a lot about running projects as they helped Vanya and Trif Trifonovs in leading some sessions, taking care of the equipment and producing the videos in the last couple of days.
Another important result was the Free Workshops “Free to Express Yourself”. There all the small groups were asked to express through different art forms their conclusions regarding the theme “Freedom of Choice: the role value systems play in shaping behavour”. One group wrote and sang a rap song appealing for freedom for Christian organizations to meet on campus in Bulgaria ; another wrote an open letter to the Bulgarian Minister of Education and the Deans of major universities, asking for the same right of meeting, speech and religious expression. Still another made a video clip using exracts from Bulgarian and European Constitutions which uphold freedom of religion and comparing them with the Bulgarian universities regulations which deny those constitutional rights. Others decided to express all this on posters and paper. We have a quite good collection of ‘expressions’ and will show them to media at the pressconference and to university and educational officials at the follow-up presentations in our countries. This is a pioneer effort so please join us in our prayers that more people will be challenged in their thinking regarding freedom at universities.
And This Is Not All…
Though the activities are over, the project is still going on. In October and November BHSS, UCCF and IFES Netherland will hold follow-up events in order to make a wider circle of people aware of the results and conclusions of the project. A decision is to be made as to whether the three organizations will run a similar project in another of the countries. We are also keen on further developing our link with InterVarsity and run similar events.
Visit to Moldova
We have just arrived from Moldova! From 1 to 8 May 4 BHSS students, a volunteer, a graduate and two staff visited 3 big Bulgarian villages (Valya-Perzhey (3000 people), Tvardica (5000 people) and Korten (1500 people)) and 3 cities (Taraklia, Chadur-Lunga and Cishinau. The goal of the trip was to encourage Bulgarian churches there, to meet with Bulgarian students at schools and the Bulgarian university in Taraklia, and to do a Bulgarian culture night together with CSC Moldova. In all these places we were also shown a rare hospitality and love which you can see probably only in such poor places. We also thank God for the good coordination of our team in spite of the limited time for preparation (often we had to stay up to late to prepare for the sermons next day!)
In the Valya-Perzhey church I spoke on “How to uplift Jesus in pain and suffering”. It wasn’t an evangelistic message and there weren’t non-Christians but it was good to get some good feedback from the audience afterwards. In the Tvarditsa church I gave my personal testimony.
In the Bulgarian high schools we made donations of books and met with the teachers and some of the students. In Tvarditsa we had a very interesting discussion with the teachers. As we talked about the school and what ethnic groups the children belong to, I managed to say that we are all created by God and that since Babylon we speak different languages and belong to different cultures. Yet, after Christ’s resurrection he sent his Spirit to bring a reversal: at Babylon people scattered all over the earth; at Pentecost they were invited to come back to their Creator through faith in Jesus Christ. I was amazed that they all agreed to this statement!
We also met students from the Bulgarian University in Taraklia (see pictures and more info at http://trifsnews.blogspot.com/). After we introduced ourselves I spoke a little bit about our movement and told the students that we try to raise the important questions as who we are, where we come from, what the meaning of life is, and is there God. Ultimately, I said, our answers to these questions will determine our fate here on earth, and afterwards! Then we played one of our TopSpot videoclips (TopSpotProblem) and I gave the floor to our staff Peter who spoke about faith, hope and love from psychological and Biblical perspective, and the fact that they can be fully found only in God. At the end we offered help and exchanged contacts with those students who would continue their studies in Bulgaria. Each year about 100 students come to study in Bulgaria. Please, pray that many of them will get in touch with us while in Bulgaria. We also gave away more than 250 Christian and literature books, and many Christian brochures, plus portraits of famous Bulgarians, given by the Agency for Bulgarians Abroad., After she received a copy of the Bible, A Bulgarian teacher in Valya-Perzha said with tears in her eyes: “I have dreamt all my life to have a Bible in Bulgarian”.
We put together a Bulgarian culture evening in a hall in Taraklia. There were about 10 non-Christians. I gave a message on “How Much Is Human Life Worth?”, comparing the worth a naturalist, a mafia gangster and God would give. Then we were able to talk with all of them afterwards and encourage them to seek God and pray to him. Most of them were pretty open to consider taking God seriously and committing themselves to reading the Bible.
The last stop of our trip was Chisinau. At the Bulgarian culture evening there came just believers. I spoke on the topic of “Is There an Absolute Truth?” I told them the story about the 6 blind men and the elephant in the zoo, used by relativists to prove that there is no absolute truth; then I told another version of the story, in which one of the blind men finds the elephant and he recoveres his sight, and learns a lot about the elephant, by following the signs and directions of the zoo wards. They really listened to what I had to say. We also took part in a youth meeting at Speranza Baptist church where a student gave a testimony and I preached on “Faith or evidence: John 20:24-31”, encouraging the youths to consider the historical nature of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Before that we met with the CSC Moldova gen sec, Rodica, and with CSC staff. We asked them to tell us more about their work and then prayed for them. Rodica thanked us for organizing this trip and encouraged us to develop this new partnership between BHSS and CSC. Also, Peter gave a lecture on Good and Evil in the First Private University “ULIM” where there were about 15 non-Christians. The lecture really arrested their attention and provoked a lot of questions. Afterwards we had a meeting with the dean of the Psychology Department who invited us to consider further involvement with his department. It seems that there is an open door for seminars in this university, praise God!
So, all said and done, it seems that there are a few opportunities for future interaction with our friends in Moldova. Please pray for the follow-up our Bulgarian friends and the CSC students will do with those who came to our events. Pray for God’s guidance as we consider further missions in Moldova.
The Freedom of Choice Project Approved
In the end of March 2010 the Youth in Action Programme posted on their website all approved projects under Action 1.1. which had applied for grants before 1 February 2010. With big joy, satisfaction and thanksgiving to our Lord we want to announce that our project “Freedom of Choice: the role value systems play for shaping behavior” is among the approved projects!
From now on there will be a lot of work to be done. We believe that with God’s help we will manage to make this project unforgettable and life-changing for many students.
The BHSS staff team
How you can help: support the BHSS missionary trip to Moldova
Dear brothers and sisters, fellow workers of Jesus Christ,
For more than 15 years Bulgarian Christian Student Union has been working to spread Christianity and make committed disciples of Jesus Christ in the academic world. For this time hundreds of students have been involved with the BCSU Bible study groups and now work in various spheres in social life in Bulgaria. Many of them are leaders of various ministries in their churches. We thank God that He acts through the Holy Spirit and helps us grow in knowledge of Him in the building-up of students and mobilize their leadership potential in the ministry of the Body of Christ.
In response to God’s call during this academic year we decided to organize a missionary trip to Moldova. It is going to be the first mission trip of the Bulgarian Christian Student Union abroad and will take place in 1-8 May 2010. There are more than 100 000 Bulgarians living in Moldova. Each year, thousands of Bulgarians graduate from Bulgarian schools. Some of them continue studying at Bulgarian universities. We want to meet them and extend a friendly hand of support to our compatriots in Bessarabia.
The group of Christian students is going to visit several places in Moldova in order to show God’s love to the Bulgarian community, to bring Christian literature and to share their faith in Jesus Christ. Students will meet with and will give a lecture at the University of Taraklia, where most of the students are Bulgarians. We believe that God will use this trip to spread the Gospel among students in Moldova, for the encouragement of the local Christian student movement (CCX) and to motivate and activate the Bulgarian students to spread the Gospel among Universities.
Inspired by the belief that BCSU is integral to the Church in Bulgaria and that the student ministry is strategic for the future of the church and the country we want to invite your church to join this campaign. How can you help?
• Prayer support
• Providing an opportunity for students to provide evidence of the campaign before the church.
• Financial support - a single donation of church for mission trip to Moldova.
• Donation of Christian literature, brochures, audio and videotapes and other evangelizing materials. All these will be distributed to the Bulgarians in the places we visit.
For more information, please contact us via e-mail: email@example.com, tel: 02/953 10 92. Address BCSU office: 1606 Sofia, ¹ 13 “Hristo Botev” Blvd., floor 4, apt. 8
For donations: The Bulgarian Christian Student Union, UniCredit Bulbank Ltd., Kaloyan Branch, BIC: UNCRBGSF, IBAN: BG39UNCR76301139276954 (USD)
We believe that each local church which invests in this strategic ministry will be blessed much for their sacrifice. Because ‘whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously’. (2 Cor. 9:6).
The BCSU staff team
BCSU at a meeting on the occasion of preventing the Holocaust in Bulgaria
The Bulgarian Christian Students Union goes on to actively participate in social events in the social life in Bulgaria.
BCSU was officially invited by the organizing body to take part in the National celebration dedicated to an anniversary of Bulgarian Jews rescue, the most heroic act in the new history of Bulgaria, in which 48 thousand Bulgarian Jews escaped a certain death in one of the darkest times of the humankind, the time of Holocaust. The meeting was held in BAS (Bulgarian Academy of Sciences) under the patronage of Sofia mayor and the participation of the Israel ambassador in Bulgaria, Sofia University rector, the deputy chair-person of BAS, etc.
On behalf of BCSU the regional co-ordinator, Petar Valkov, greeted the participants with a short speech, which is offered below.
BULGARIAN JEWS RESCUE: A FIGHT FOR OUR NATIONAL DIGNITY PRESERVATION
A celebration of 67 anniversary from preventing the Holocaust in Bulgaria
Your Excellency! (deputy ambassador of Israel in Bulgaria)
Dear deputy chair-person! (of BAS)
Dear Rector! (of Sofia University)
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
On behalf of the students and colleagues from the BCSU I would like to show my gratitude and admiration for all Bulgarians who participated in rescuing the Jews in Bulgaria during the Second World War.
We, the people of 21 century, live in a complicated time as it was never before. Peace in the country, storm in the hearts, high life-expectancy and low quality of life, multi-million cities with as much million lonely people there.
Worry about ecology, care about animals and carelessness about human life of starving people, disabled and unborn children. We speak much about tolerance but almost nothing about unselfish love. Many words about global Greenhouse effect, almost nothing about global dullness.
As a psychologist, according to my education and Christian, according to my conviction, and a human being, I can not run away from the problems that our contemporary society, which copy the West cultural model, comes across. One such problem is the dangerous tendency of antisemitism growing again in the Bulgarian as well as in the other societies.
I am proud of the heroic act of those Bulgarian people at the time of the Second World War, who stood bold against the genocide over the Jews. I admire the brave and active position of The Bulgarian Orthodox Church that put in practice the two of the God’s commands: “To love the Lord your God” and “to love your neighbor as you love yourself”
Their neighbor was the Jewish people that lived peacefully side by side to the Bulgarian people.
Today the problems in Bulgaria neither get less nor smaller. But the mistakes or the virtues of any individual or of the whole society inevitably reflect on his/its future. The biggest virtue of the Bulgarian people in the New history is namely the rescue of the Jews from the gas cameras of Nazis. Our country, unlike many others, has been protected from wars during and after the changes in 1989, from awful nature cataclysms, similar to these in Indonesia, Haiti, Chili, etc.
The question that still makes me excited is whether the protection from all these disasters is given by the God Almighty, namely because we helped the Jewish people to escape.
Another question that would be nice to ask ourselves is if today a similar genocide happens over one or another nation what the reaction of the Bulgarian society, whose representatives we are, would be? If today there is much hatred, prejudices and lack of acceptance of “our neighbor”, as the people from other ethnic groups, race or faith, then probably it is already a genocide over them, though of a tiny type. All this could be avoided if people get to know and accept the Source of love and begin to offer sacrificed love to their neighbor.
Happy holiday to all saved Bulgarian Jews! Happy holiday to the descendents of all the Bulgarians who have protected the Jews from a certain death! I would like wholeheartedly to give my regards to the organizing body of this celebration among which are the Bulgarian friends of Israel and assoc. prof. Lyubka Tancheva!
Thank you for your attention!
Petar Valkov 10.03.2010
Regional coordinator of BCSU Sofia
A missionary trip to Moldova
A group of BCSU Christian students are going to visit several towns and
villages in Moldova to give a presentation before the Bulgarian community,
to bring Christian literature and share their faith in Jesus Christ. The
students are going to meet and give a lecture to The Taraklia university
students who are predominantly Bulgarian people.
Join this group to demonstrate your support of our cause. We need followers
and people who are ready to pray and give a financial support!
For more information - Petar Valkov and Trif Trifonov
Are you Talibans?
This was the question we were asked by a student while we were standing in front of New Bulgarian University in Sofia handing out flyers for the forthcoming Christmas party the following day.
It was not a casual question. We had taken stage-property from the New Generation church and performed live scenes with different images from the gospel narrative about the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph and Mary, the baby Jesus, the shepherds and the wise men. Some other people took us for Hare Krishna followers or sectarians.
Such confusion was probably justified and logical as most of us looked quite big due to the thick winter jackets under the robes. But as we had been talking during the event, the most terrible thing was that in future people would probably also regarding the person of Jesus. And to put an end to the confusion, the student groups in Sofia decided to establish their identity as a Christian group before the thousands of colleagues and tell the meaning of Christmas.
From Dec. 14 to Dec 16 all major universities were visited and 4000 flyers were handed out. Other students were informed orally, by e-mail or Facebook. To the special evening of the American university came about 150 students, most of them from the BCSU groups and local churches but also some new people. The programme included music performances given by the ‘Hope for the Balkans’ choir, Dany, Heidy and 4 Christmas messages.
At the end the visitors had the opportunity to try the treat prepared by the girls from BCSU groups, to talk with friends and meet some new people. All left the event full of joy but also with the conviction that we should put together such events more often. After all, maybe this way we would not be taken for talibans or Krishnas, but easily identified as BSCU members.
BCSU in collaboration with Exodus
Petar Valkov and Trifon Trifonov paid a short visit to our partners from the Exodus student movement in Macedonia from 3rd November to 8th November. From Wednesday to Friday they were involved in the evangelical events of the local students and the guest team of InterVarsity, Canada. During these three days the Christian students had personal meetings with their non-Christian colleagues, distributed invitations and stuck bills in all faculties and in St Cyril and Methodius university campus. Some of the students were very interested in Christianity and the organized events and the conversations lasted long after they had heard what it was all about. The first evening they were invited to play pool, the second one they listened to a lecture on How to get a good citizenship?, and the last one was a Canadian cultural evening. These events were attended by around 25-30 non-Christian students. Five of them were willing to participate in a discussion group which usually gathers in Exodus office, not far from Macedonia square.
Also, the BCSU representatives visited the Bulgarian culture and information centre in Skopje to donate BCSU books and to discuss the possibilities for having lectures and other presentations in the centre for future students, who would like to study in Bulgaria. Trifon Trifonov met some representatives from two other organizations, The Bulgarian culture club in Skopje and Horizons from Ohrid. Some students from both of the organizations were invited to Summer Project 2010.
In all of the meetings the BCSU workers stated their support and desire for closer relationship and more initiatives and work together with Exodus and other organizations which work with the students there.
Connecting the dots of the picture:
intercultural dialogue for the local community development
1 picture 28 students
There are invisible links between young people and our community that connect us and lead us to the problems all around us. What do they discover and how to connect them to get the general picture of the problem areas in our society? Where is our place in it: a part of the problem or a part of its solution?
Join us on 5th November in Pesha Nikolova hall in The Red house at 7 p.m. to see and hear how a group of Bulgarian and Portuguese students searched for the threads starting from Portugal, which dots they passed to build the picture of their communities and what this picture showed them.
2.11.2009. Identity Revolution
Under this heading the National conference of BCSU took place in The Lesoparka hotel near Lyaskovets from 23rd to 25th October. More than 60 students from Bulgaria, 2 students from Bosnia and Herzegovina ànd 2 from India and 1 from Germany attended the event. As a kind of support several graduates from Sofia and Varna also attended the conference.
The main expositions on The Epistle to the Galatians were delivered by Nikola Galevski, General Secretary of Exodus, Macedonia. In an appropriately decorated for the event hall, in five consecutive sessions he managed to provoke the students to think about those aspects of their national identity that could be a stumbling stone for spreading the good news and to prioritize their belonging to the crucified and risen Christ (Galatians 2:20). As the law in the past made the Galatians compromise the truth, we - the people on the Balkans - carry a big historical baggage that prevents us from being a good testimony to our colleagues. If we want God to use us for transforming their lives, we should be really a part of their lives, getting to know them better, loving them and taking care about them.
The seminars were equally challenging. According to Tim Awtrey, holiness is the thing that God wants us to be and it is measured by our relationships with God and people, whereas our workoholism is its enemy. With his intrinsic humbleness and erudition, Veniamin Peev challenged us to disarm the opponents of the Gospel by means of Christ's love. Doniy Donev acquainted the students with the ways they cîuld use Google Wave for the Lord as well as other similar means of online communication and information exchange. After considering the reasons for sharing the good news and the obstacles for doing it, Petar Valkov and Trif Trifonov encouraged the students to use unconventional, creative methods for spreading the good news at university, sharing their personal experience and that of other student movements.
Quite memorable will remain the games in groups, prepared by Vanya. Devided into 4 teams, the students were to overcome a lot of obstacles and challenges like running down a steep slope, searching for hidden objects, finding the missing words in verses from Galatians, walking blindfold, staying propped only by hands, skipping the rope simultaneously in threes and so on. Eventually, every one was tired but extremely happy because they had managed to do the things as a team.
Certainly the conference offered a lot of other memorable things such as morning prayer led by Niki, small discussion groups, praise and worship (led by a group from Varna and a Bosnia student), informal time, cultural presentations, etc. We believe that everything in the program has contributed to the building up of the students God making a real revolution in our identity and relationships.