I received an email update from Tim Awtrey the other day. Tim is a good friend of mine who is a missionary in Bulgaria. I loved this story and thought I'd share it with everyone.
I was talking with our head deacon, Ruman, about our little church in Svishtov. He told me he had good news and bad news. As a pastor you are always wary about those kinds of statements. "Okay," I told him, "give it to me." The good news is that the small hall we are using on Sunday is now to small to accomodate everyone. "The bad news," he said, "is that we have to tear down a partition wall to make more space - and that means a lot of work for us." I actually thought they were both good news. Not only was God blessing the church and new people were coming to faith, but now I get to take my hammer and bash in a wall at the back of the sanctuary!
We set the date for our very first church workday and invited everyone we knew. We decided to make it not only a workday, but also another way for us to meet new people. I showed up early with my hammer ready to cause some destruction. Ruman asked me what I was doing with my hammer. I told him, "I'm going to break down this wall!" "No," he said, "we are going to gently take it down." He told me we were going to unscrew the sheetrock and save the pieces to use elsewhere in the church.
Coming from the USA I was used to just tearing out walls, but because of the poverty in Bulgaria nothing is wasted. We were not going to destroy the wall, but save it to be used somewhere else.
I wanted to write to you about how we are breaking down barriers here in Bulgaria, but Ruman reminded me that in truth we are gently taking down the barriers that divide people from the love of Christ. A kind word, a show of compassion, a quiet whisper of truth or simply being involved all contribute to a slow, but steady inroad for the Gospel. No, we are not breaking down barriers, but everyday, day-by-day, we are slowly dismantling the walls which hinder the people of Bulgaria from hearing the truth about Jesus Christ.