Recently, I had the opportunity to go with the mission team to Stara Zagora, Bulgaria. I’m a huge fan of foreign missions and couldn’t wait to get there and start doing work. We had everything planned out – we would get to the villages and draw the “street kids” to the parks with music, games, and lots of laughter. When we had a crowd, we were going to sing a few kids songs with them, do a skit or two, read them Bible stories, offer a great time of salvation and then send them off with balloons or bracelets to remember our time together.
We had it planned out so well and brought all of the stuff from the US to Bulgaria. But when we got there, we only were able to specifically work with children one time due to some potential dangers to the Christian churches. We were shuttled to and from the villages and were told to go in the churches and right back out to the vans – no street time or moments to reach out to the lost. At first, I couldn’t get past my disappointment. I love working with kids and was excited to see the lost be saved.
We ended up going into these churches that were packed FULL of believers, do some music, share a few testimonies, listen to some of their stories, then go back to the city. It seemed like we weren’t doing much evangelism – but then I started to look around at the churches. I started to notice the joy in the faces of the people attending. I started to see how encouraged they were. As the week went on, God kept a message replaying in my head, “It’s all about the Capital ‘C’ Church – that’s why you’re here”. At Chickasha Life Church, we believe the church as a building where people meet together, but the Captial ‘C’ Church is the body of Christ.
A few days into the trip, I realized what He was telling me. God was saying, “I have a bigger plan, a plan to unify the Church across the oceans, across the continents, across the world and what this team is doing is a part of that plan.” See, we learned from our translator that the people in Bulgaria feel as though Western civilization looks down on them like they are lesser. We weren’t sure why necessarily, but simply our presence and willingness to go to them made all the difference in the world. It changed their perception on how Americans saw the Bulgarian people.
We worshipped together in two languages, praising one God. We told stories back and forth of the great things God has done in America and in Bulgaria. We encouraged one another and lifted the other up in prayer. It was an incredible thing to witness!
I’m a planner. I mean, I have a problem, I need things planned out! So God wasn’t just showing me how to build up His Church that week, he reminded me that His plans are always, in every way, much bigger and much better than my own. We were only in Bulgaria a short time, but the Capital ‘C Church was strengthened immeasurably and I can’t wait to see what His next step will be!