Remember Montana
Montana, Bulgaria, is a mountainous area, with its beauty enhanced by brilliant sunshine. This was the site of our district assembly. This city has been a difficult area for Christianity to penetrate. A Roman colony 200 years before Christ lived, it has a dark history. In fact, pastor Valeri Munelski, who also teaches history part-time, advised us that in earlier years the city practiced human sacrifice. He took us to a hill overlooking the city and showed us the place where, as recently as a few years ago, human sacrifice was included in satanic worship. The city's atmosphere was so negative from the proliferation of atheism, false religions, and Communism, that it was considered an unsuitable location for churches even though 50,000 people live there. When our missionaries became burdened for the city, they met significant barriers—including the fact that the best property for starting a church was the home of a former Communist mayor who declared that a church would never own his home. Many dark deeds had taken place in that home under Communist rule. In spite of all the obstacles, our leaders felt this place greatly needed the message of holiness. They asked God to overcome all of the formidable obstructions in their path, and God powerfully answered their prayers. First, God miraculously enabled them to acquire the mayor's home. Then, a combination of resource partners, Work and Witness teams, and our Eurasia regional office helped renovate the property into a beautiful church and educational building. Now here I was, presiding over the first district assembly of the Church of the Nazarene in the history of Bulgaria, hosted by our Montana Church. They average nearly 200 in attendance and have not only ethnic Bulgarians worshiping there, but also a Gypsy congregation and a Turkish congregation. I was even able to officially organize the district because they had finally received official government registration, which was no small task. Missionary Jay Sunberg tells the thrilling story of the many obstacles overcome in achieving registration. The church leaders faced extensive bureaucratic red tape resulting in delay after delay for years until Sunberg met the new U.S. ambassador who promised to help expedite the process. It turns out that the ambassador's first girlfriend was a Nazarene girl from Newcastle, Indiana. He knew all about the Church of the Nazarene. With his help, registration was soon granted. The overflow district assembly crowd of fervent Bulgarian Nazarenes responded enthusiastically to the general superintendent's message of holiness. The church is growing in spite of impossible obstacles—all the way from atheism to a history of human sacrifice and satanic worship. The question comes to mind: Is anything too hard for the Lord? And the thought emerges: If God is able to deal so victoriously with barriers of this magnitude in such an unlikely place, isn't it reasonable to believe He can do the same for us in our most challenging issues? The next time the enemy causes you to doubt, remember Montana and be encouraged! Paul G. Cunningham is a general superintendent in the Church of the Nazarene. Holiness Today, January/February 2005
Discuss Remember Montana in our forum
Post a Message | Read Messages (0) | Report Abuse