Bulgaria — The Wallers

It’s Been 2 Years!

We wanted to take a moment and…

  • Let you know that today officially marks the 2 year anniversary of our arrival in Bulgaria.
  • Thank you for your countless prayers, words of encouragement, packages, and thoughts over the past two years.
  • Thank God for His unending faithfulness and grace. We have never left His grip…not even on the hardest of days!
  • We also want to ask you to continue to work alongside us…whether that is on your knees there in prayer or hand in hand with us here in Bulgaria.
Love,
Caleb, Sarah, Hannah Kate, and Ben
“We face a humanity that is too precious to neglect. We know a remedy for the ills of the world too wonderful to withhold. We have a Christ who is too glorious to hide. We have an adventure that is too thrilling to miss.” 
― Theodore Williams
 

Check out our November newsletter and download your latest prayer calendar!
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Your November Prayer Calendar

What Happened in October?

New Ministry Center: The center is open and now hosting regular events. On Tuesday evenings, there are conversational English classes. On Wednesdays, Sarah hosts an “English for Little Ones” group for children up to 4 years old. On Thursdays, we have an introduction to the Bible course. In addition to these, we will be hosting a number of one-time events in the coming weeks including some associated with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why have a center, you might be asking? A center is one piece of our strategy here in Bulgaria. On one hand, the center, which is operated under our local non-profit foundation “Global Connections,” aims to simply improve the community and provide us a legitimate/official presence in the city which allows us access to secular establishments and institutions. But on the other, the center provides us a wonderful venue to host events, hold seminars, and engage Bulgarians in a non-threatening and culturally appropriate way in order to make contacts and share the gospel. These events and classes are not the focus of our work here in Bulgaria. The International Mission Board is much, much more than a simple humanitarian organization. We are committed to sowing the gospel and planting biblically faithful, reproducing churches. The center helps us to that end. The center is a regular source of new contacts, with whom we share the gospel and determine interest level in grouping to study the Bible. Prayerfully, these Bible studies will then become new churches. 

Website: We want to remind you about our family’s personal website, makinghimfamous.weebly.com. Here you can see pictures, find out about our mission, and even discover ways to partner with us personally.

Discipleship at our Local Church: One of the things sorely missing in the evangelical church in Bulgaria is regular discipleship. Too often discipleship is limited to sermons from the pulpit. To help counteract this absence, our team is offering courses at our local church on how to share the gospel and how to study the Bible. Pray for fruit from these ministries. 

Is God Calling You to Bulgaria?: You may have a desire to take the gospel to the nations but you are not sure how to get there. We can help! Maybe you are a student (or know one!) who would like to serve for a semester or for a summer break; maybe you are a retiree who wants to be intentional with your time; maybe you are a young couple who wants to use your vacation time for the Kingdom; or maybe you are a pastor or church leader who wants to connect your local body with a missionary family that loves to host teams…we are the place, the family, and the team for you! Respond to this email directly or contact us through our website!

The Jesus Film: We had a wonderful opportunity to connect with a couple who works with the JESUS film project. They were in Bulgaria investigating the need for additional films to better reach small minority groups in the Bulgarian mountains. We are thankful for inter-organization cooperation and look forward to exploring ways to use this visual portrayal of the life of Jesus to sow the gospel in Bulgaria.

Language Study: We have a date set for our final language exam. Be in prayer for us as we work towards this exam in the middle of December. Caleb also had his third opportunity to preach in Bulgarian. He wrapped up a 2-part sermon on the first church in Acts 2.

Good News Club: Sarah had the joy of leading another Good News Club through our local church. We are hoping that we can use this club to reach out to the community immediately surrounding the church and continue to help them develop a “presence” within the city.

Family Vacation:  We are thankful that October afforded us the opportunity to take some much needed vacation. We enjoyed a short stint in Venice, Italy before spending a few days in western Slovenia (which may be the most beautiful place on the planet). Best of all, we were able to do it with some amazing friends/colleagues with whom we have been walking this crazy journey ever since  seminary.

Team Meeting: In our last newsletter, we mentioned that our entire Bulgaria team had come together for a weekend of meetings, budget discussions, and strategy formation. This month we had another great weekend together in the mountains of Bulgaria. This annual retreat of sorts focused on exploring how our gifting and personalities can best be leveraged for the gospel .

Pictures below: Caleb preaching at the local Baptist church; having fun with costumes..can you guess who Ben and Hannah Kate are?; a sneak peak at our upcoming prayer card!; the amazing lakes and nature of Slovenia…you can’t miss Lake Bled; Sarah leading the “English for Little Ones” group at our center; a Slovenian “Car-train”…who would have thought you could ride on a train in your car?; good times with great friends!

 
 

So what is ahead for November?

Family Holiday:  On Sunday, November 5th we will celebrate a very special family holiday for the second time. November 5th will mark two years since our arrival here in Bulgaria. While we will share more about this in our next newsletter, we ask that you pray for our family as we reach this important milestone.

Thanksgiving Outreach: American holidays provide us a wonderful opportunity to teach culture and honor Bulgarians by having them in our home. More importantly, they give us a very natural way to share the gospel. This year, we plan to introduce Bulgarians to a few special Thanksgiving treats…but pray that we will also introduce them to our special Savior.

Local School Event:  Our teammate has taken the initiative to establish a great relationship with the public school that her children attend here in Sofia.  On November 27th, our team will be hosting a seminar at a local elementary school for the teachers, sponsored by our non-profit foundation, “Global Connections.”  The theme will be learning styles and will be led by a fellow teammate with a background in education.  Others from our team will be present to help behind the scenes and to interact with the teachers.  Pray for this event, for relationships to be formed as a result of it, and ultimately for opportunities to share the gospel.    

As always, thank you for your unending support. We see it in your prayers, your notes of encouragement, and your financial support of our family and organization. You are a vital part of our team and our efforts.

Your November Prayer Calendar

*Special Focus*

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering
 

I am stealing our normal “Bulgarian Snapshot” section to talk a moment about the upcoming opportunity to give to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions. This offering is dear to our family for countless reasons. First, this offering funds  our organization and makes it possible for missionary families like ours to take the gospel around the globe. Second, this offering allows us to focus our time on sharing the gospel and planting churches instead of fundraising. Third, this offering reflects one of the great things about being a Southern Baptist – our willingness to come together and sacrificially give in order to expand the Kingdom. Fourth, this offering personally finds its way to us and impacts us every single day. It gives us health insurance, a car, an apartment, funds for ministry, money for language learning, and much, much more. It is not a stretch to say that we could literally not function without this offering. 

Every year Southern Baptists come together around the Christmas season and give to this offering which bears the name of Lottie Moon, a missionary to China who gave her life for the spread of the gospel. I want to ask you to prayerfully give to the LMCO this year.

Because you give, we are able to go!

Thank You for Your Partnership
 
Pictures below: Venice; the famous cream cake of Bled, Slovenia; fun in Slovenia!
 
Hannah Kate taking her first boat ride…in Venice!

What’s Happening with Hannah Kate?

-I had a great time on our vacation!  I was able to ride on a boat and a train.  I spent lots of time outside, and my favorite part of the trip was feeding the ponies and goats near the place we stayed.
-My interest in Disney princesses is growing.  Elsa and Belle are my favorites, and I recently enjoyed watching “The Little Mermaid.”
-I am excited to have a new cousin, Lilly, and I look forward to being able to meet her in person next year.
-I love “reading” books to my brother, and mommy and daddy are amazed at how many of my books I have memorized.

 

Interested in visiting us? Click here!
What’s Brewing with Ben?
-I now weigh in at 15 lbs. 6 oz. and am 25 1/2 inches long.
-I love playing on my tummy and am able to sit for short periods of time unassisted.
-I enjoy going for walks in my stroller or riding in my carrier.
-I am continuing to enjoy attending “Kindyroo,” a class for moms and babies.
-I am intrigued by all dogs and smile whenever one is close by.
-I prefer vegetables over fruits (unlike my sister) and my favorites are carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.
-My passport is already filling up with stamps.  Besides Bulgaria, I have also been able to visit Serbia, Croatia, Italy, and Slovenia.
  

How You Can Pray

-Pray for continued interest in our new ministry center.
-Pray for our upcoming language exam.
-Pray for perseverance and encouragement.
-Pray for health as winter quickly approaches.
-Pray for more and more opportunities to share the gospel.

Download our prayer calendar for more requests!

 

Confessions of a Missionary

There have been many joys during our first two years. As you might expect, there have also been a number of struggles that have tested us, pushed us, and at times, helped sanctify us. One of the biggest for our family has been and continues to be “doing” church in a foreign culture. Of course, there is the geographical distance that separates our local Bulgarian church and our sending church back home in North Carolina. But the challenging parts run much deeper than miles.

Our local church here in Sofia was planted about 20 years ago with the help of an American missionary who has since returned to the USA. It meets weekly on Sunday morning and consists of about 30-40 regular attenders. There is a pastor and a number of people who serve as musicians or singers. The church building consists of a relatively simple, small structure that consists of one meeting area and several adjoining rooms. The building also doubles as a private school during the middle of the week.

The weekly service includes a number of Bulgarian hymns (mostly translated from English) and contemporary choruses borrowed from modern, English speaking churches around the world. There is time for sharing prayer concerns and a sermon, which usually is about an hour long.

While none of that is bad, it all plays out differently than what we were accustomed to back home. Doing it all in different language adds a degree of undesired stress. 

I say all of that not to disparage our local church here in Bulgaria. Instead, it is a confession that we took our local church back home for granted. Sarah and I grew up in the church. It was so intertwined with our existence that we often missed our dependence on it. It is not too different than the way the body is with oxygen; from moment to moment, one scarcely considers it. But take it away even for a second, and one finds themselves in utter desperation.

There are no perfect churches…here in Bulgaria or there in your hometown. But if you are anything like us, then you might be underestimating the value of the body that is your local church. Our prayer is that we would all thank God for giving us such a privilege and a blessing. May we never take it for granted. 

 
Copyright © 2017 Making Him Famous in Bulgaria, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this newsletter because you have expressed interest in praying for us, the Waller family, as we serve with the International Mission Board and seek to make the name of Jesus famous in Bulgaria. This is simply one means of communication that we will use to stay in touch with you. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement and prayer support.

Our mailing address is:

Making Him Famous in Bulgaria

3159 Sanderosa Rd

Fayetteville, NC 28312

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