An Answer to Prayer
I must have been about three years of age when I was stricken with bilateral pneumonia. I remember the regular administration of shots (injections), yet my condition worsened as the days went by.
One day I felt like I was going to die, though in my little mind I was unable to imagine what death really was. My mother noticed my gasping and knelt down by the window and started praying. I could see her through my half-closed eyes.
Suddenly, the heavy burden I felt upon my chest disappeared, and I felt as right as rain.
I was too young to realize a miracle had happened and mother was simply overwhelmed by my quick recovery and couldn't believe it.
Yes, that's the way it is with most of us sometimes. We ask and pray earnestly for something. We claim the Lord's promises, but it is hard for us to accept His immediate and rich response.
That Precious Book
I had been married for several years and already had two children. During the Communist regime, pastors and preachers in the Church were seriously underpaid. We had to make ends meet in some way, so I started to work in the laundry of one of the seaside hotels. There I made friends with the woman who ironed the bed sheets for the hotel. She was very social and open. She had considerable interest in religious matters, so I gave her Steps to Christ by Mrs. E. White. I worked only a month or so and had to quit because I developed a dangerous kind of allergy to the wash powder used. I didn't get to see her when I left.
Many years passed. In fact 25 years to be precise. One Sabbath morning one of the sisters at the church of the city of Varna told me that in her neighborhood there was a half blind woman who had Steps to Christ and she wanted to find the denomination that published that small book. Though it was hard to believe, she was the friend I had made at the hotel. She wanted to meet me. Two Sabbaths later that woman was brought to church. I approached her, and she asked me to bend down closer so she could see me better. She looked at my hair, now all white and tried to acknowledge in my old face the young woman's countenance I used to have.
Soon we started Flible classes with her, and she willingly grasped the truth that had been kept alive through all those years because of that precious book.
When the Bible study course was over, this good woman took her stand for Jesus and was baptized. A few years later, she passed away, but she believed that her dear Lord would come soon to give her the crown of eternal glory.
Kindness Plants a Seed
Once when my husband and I were very young, we were introduced to a nice married couple from a small town near the city of Varna. They both showed considerable interest in the Bible, so we started Bible classes with them. The husband was a typical man-of-the-world, more interested in his world than in God's. Unfortunately, he died soon after we started our classes. His widow and little girl were left alone. I continued to visit and give the woman Bible lessons. I was usually accompanied by some of the sisters in the church. The daughter, Julia, was about ten years old and she always listened to what I said. The mother was a bit superficial, a worldly woman, but the child was good and gentle. They both came to like me more and more. It seemed to me that they weren't getting much from the lessons, but I felt impressed to keep visiting. Sometimes I would help Julia prepare her school assignments. For her birthday,1 gave her the precious volume of the Holy Bible.
Years went by. Julia grew up and got married in the remote city of Vi din, on the Danube River. I missed her but I never ceased to pray for her. The small seed of truth was too precious to be lost in vain. I kept praying that her heart would turn a good soil for the Word of our Lord.
Then came Harvest '91. One brother commissioned from the General Conference came to Vidin and other Bulgarian cities to hold soul-saving evangelistic meetings. Julia regularly attended. She was among the first ones to seal her covenant with Jesus by being baptized. Julia sent me a postcard conveying her greetings as my sister in the Lord Jesus Christ. My heart brimmed over with joy.
A Christian's Life During the Communist Regime
During the time of the Comp tunist regime, Seventh-day Adventist pastors were banished from town to town under the pretext that they lacked proper registration at local municipalities. In communist countries, people were not allowed to freely move from one place to another. Each citizen had to reside at his birthplace or where he had resided and worked for a long period of time.
I met my husband at a wedding. Adventist wedding ceremonies were the only free events that allowed young people from the denomination to meet and get together. Three months after we first met we got married and my husband was commissioned lo the city of Shoumen. The Elder pastoring the church was an old man, and my husband, as his assistant, had to circulate throughout the region. Very often I had to stay home alone.
One day a secret police agent dropped in for "routine check up." I could not close the door because he was authorized by the then existing law to have access to any place or person which his official duties required. This visit turned into an incredible interrogation. After finishing his questions, he disclosed his philosophy that nuptial fidelity was absolutely unnecessary. He painted his family as a proper example of what "modern moral" meant. I could not interrupt him because he was a secret police officer. When I had a chance, I answered that this philosophy contradicted the moral code of Communism and that my husband and I had complete trust in one another. Also, I pointed that we were very happy, and that I was expecting my first child. Winter of the same year we were banished from that city.
Seven years later we had two children and were sent to the small town of Sevlieveo. One of the sisters there took us to her place and gave us two rooms to live in. In fact this was where we had our Sabbath worship services. Each Friday night we arranged the chairs and each Sabbath evening I put them away. Several months later the local authorities began threatening us with eviction and banishment. Since my daughter was in the grade school, we were allowed temporary stay until the end of her school year. Then we were handed a court order which demanded that we leave the town within 24 hours.
We moved back to our native city of Varna though my husband continued his service as a denominational worker in the small town of Strazhitsa. The children and I were not allowed to be together with him. Each Friday evening my husband had to check in at the local police station and each Monday morning he left to do denominational work. Ten years passed that way. The church in Strazhitsa grew in number. Many young converts (about 30) were brought into the church.
One Sabbath morning as my husband was beginning his sermon, he was arrested and taken to the local police station. He was given orders to leave the town right then.
After this incident, the town was hit by many earthquakes, the most disastrous occurred in December 1986. It ruined the whole town. God was looking after our family and saw to it that we were out of harm's way.
Today the town has been rebuilt, and the church enjoys a nice prayer house and a loyal membership of more than 150 people. May God continue to bless our fellow believers.