God's Bulgarian tapestry (part 1)

Chapter 1: Weaving the tapestry

To Olympics fans, Bulgaria evokes images of dark-haired wrestlers and swarthy weight-lifters. Health food fanatics may know that one story about yogurt's origin concerns Bulgaria. History channel junkies may remember that in 1981, Bulgarian authorities were accused of hiring a hitman to kill the Pope. Lovers of intrigue know Bulgaria as a stop for the famed Orient Express train. Most people, however, know very little about Bulgaria. About all they know is that it was formerly behind the Iron Curtain.

After World War II, this Tennessee-sized country fell under communist domination. Attempting to eliminate Christianity, Bulgaria's new Soviet puppet leaders unleashed four decades of heavy-handed oppression. The gospel was maligned. Churches were closed. Christian leaders were harassed. The communists thought they could erase Christianity from the fabric of Bulgarian society. They miscalculated.

Let's imagine the unfolding of Bulgarian cultural history as the weaving of a tapestry. For a long time, it looked like a red communist star would dominate its design. That's no longer true. With time, the emerging design has taken on a new look. In fact, the Church of the Nazarene has shown up in the Bulgarian tapestry. To weave Nazarenes into it, the Lord is using threads from an assortment of people. Those various strands arrived at the loom through a variety of divinely ordered circumstances.

Actually, tapestry weaving is an ideal metaphor for talking about anything Bulgarian. Bulgaria is renowned for its rugs, tapestries, and needlework. Two museums in the capital city of Sofia feature Bulgarian weaving and needlework. Admittedly, the first thing many tourists buy is a little wooden doll containing a rose oil container. However, let those tourists wander through the outdoor markets and into gift shops. What they often wind up lingering over the longest are the brilliantly-colored embroidery and needlework pieces.

In this book, we'll look at a particular Bulgarian tapestry. It's a tapestry in which many threads involve the Church of the Nazarene. Some of those threads go a long way back. So, we'll need to jump around a bit in time. Several threads say "Made in the USA." However, some come from Germany and Mexico. There's even a knotted thread that once was broken. So, come. Let's walk over to the loom. Let's see how the weaving is going. . . . [ continue reading ]

Dedicated to members of the first three teams of volunteers who served in Bulgaria:

It is a shame that we cannot have an entire book dedicated to the adventures of each one!

  Page:  1: Weaving the Tapestry  |    2: A Presidential Thread  |    3: Thread from Empty Spools  |   4: Directors' Threads   |   5: A German thread&n bsp; |   6: A   Colored Thread   |    7: Broken Threads &n bsp;|    8: A Youthful Thread    |   9: Of Shuttles or Spi nning Wheels   |    10: Faded Red and  Gold Threads   |    11: Discarded Threads&nbs p; |    12: Some West Coast Threads  |    13: A Very Weak T hread  |    14: Some Mexican Thread   |    15: Threads of Greenbacks and Tears   |    16: The Compassionate M inistry Thread   |    17: Some Parental Thread s  |   18: The Emerging Pattern   |   Next → 

A Presidential thread

Next chapterThe sports evangelism strands in this tapestry go back to the 1960's . . . [ more ]
-- Howard Culbertson,

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