The event "Mark Drama" was held for the first time in Bulgaria! It is a 90-minute play in which the audience experiences every event in the Gospel of Mark as the play is performed all around them. 15 students present the life of Jesus in the midst of the audience who sit in a circle in rows of chairs behind each other. The cast has 6 weeks to learn the order of events and 3 rehearsals before the first performance. All the preparation was accompanied by the prayer of the actors, the BCSU groups in the country and many IFES students. Many of the students were challenged to play roles that were difficult for them because they were doing things they didn't believe in (testing, judging, rejecting and crucifying Jesus) and one of them had the huge task of learning all the words of Jesus. After the event, many of the participants were surprised by the way they saw the gospel and Jesus with new eyes, and by the unity and love that was felt among them throughout.
The idea for the event came about in the late spring and BCSU did not have the budget for it, but two donors and students from IFES-Ireland raised the necessary funds to cover the costs of the organization. We are also grateful for the free use of the Crossroads Church hall in Sofia, where the play took place on two consecutive days.
"Mark Drama" took place on November 25 and 26. On the first night, the audience numbered about 180 people, and the next day, despite the dire situation with fallen trees and blocked streets, about 120 people came to the event. Among them were people seeing Jesus' life for the first time. Here are a few testimonies that encourage us:
A student who shared with us that she had begun reading the Gospel of Mark.
One student who asked the actor playing Peter, "How can I get closer to God?" and was invited to BCSU groups after a great conversation.
A student who was touched by the experience and gave her friend 10leva for BCSU because she wants to have this event again.
A student who shared with his friend that if he could read the Bible as he experienced this performance, he would do it every day. At last the gospel had become available to him.
A student who told her friend that she had a list of questions after the play and wanted to meet to talk about them.
A woman who said she was deeply touched by the play and saw her friend (a BCSU staff member) in a new light when she saw the love the students in the room had for her.
Here's what Kristian Rusev, the student from Sofia who played the role of Jesus in the play, shared with us, " Mark drama was a humbling and provoking experience for me to change because I had the opportunity to get to know Jesus in a new way and because if it wasn't for His help in the whole process, this event would not have been possible for any of us involved. In just three days, we were able to do a production that we received overwhelmingly positive feedback about, which would not have been humanly possible, but it happened because it was God's doing."
We thank God for the fruit we are already seeing and for the fruit that only He knows. We give thanks for the privilege of participating in what He is doing in the hearts of those around us. We give thanks to God for working in our hearts as well. Our God is glorious!