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Grand Bible Conference in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Pastor Ock Soo Park, who has met the 25 Turkish-Bulgarian people who attended the London conference last May, has promised them the establishment of a Mahaniam Cyber College and a grand bible conference in their language, Turkish. After this, the missionaries in Turkey and the brothers and sisters of the church have started to prepare for the establishment of the college and conference, uniting their hearts as one. They search for the venue and lodging, and are printing Turkish versions of The Forgiveness of Sin and Being Born Again and the Bulgarian versions of Repentance and Faith and other small booklets. For the conference, the short-term missionaries who have gathered in Bulgaria from the other countries of Europe go to each village and advertise for the conference.

On November 19th, the day of the conference, the nine buses borrowed from the surrounding churches are filled with people coming to attend the conference and are arriving one by one. Their faces are full of anticipation and eagerness as they will finally attend the conference they had been waiting for since last summer.

The grand bible conference that was held at Novotel Hall, Plovdiv which was the biggest hall in that city. A few weeks before the conference, although some trouble had taken place because of the sudden cancellation of the venue, a bigger and better hall was borrowed afterwards, and the brothers and sisters could feel that it was one of God’s plans. Not only were Turkish people there but the hall was filled with 600 Bulgarian people who had found out about the conference through flyers and posters. There was no empty seat to be found.

The conference started out with the acapella performance by the short-term missionaries, and it was followed by the performance of the Rio Montana. The Turkish and Bulgarian people, who already have a love to sing hymns, were very surprised and joyful while watching the acapella performance and the Rio Montana for the very first time.

The performances were then followed by Pastor Hong Oh Yoon’s sermons. Through the words in Genesis chapter 4, about Cain and Abel, Pastor spoke about who God accepts and who God refuses, and about who is cursed and who is blessed. In Hebrews chapter 11, the difference between Cain and Abel was their sacrifices. Because Cain felt that he was better than Abel, he brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. On the other hand, Able knew that he was weak and he didn’t have anything to boast about, so he brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat as a sacrifice. The people who had attended the conference were mostly people who were in need and casted aside in Bulgaria. These people who the short-term missionaries had met during their no-money witnessing trip were the people who had the least hope. They were used to poverty and envy because of their poverty-stricken circumstances and were living without hope.

It seemed hopeless before their eyes, our eyes, and people’s eyes. However, we came to think that God prepared this grand bible conference to bless those who seek His words though they are weak and useless just as God blessed Abel, not Cain. The second day’s schedule began with a Taekwondo performance prepared by short-term missionaries. Rio Montana followed with a song, ‘Jesus is Higher,’ and many people came up in front of the stage and sang and danced together, warming up its atmosphere. People’s faces became brighter while listening to the songs and the word of God, and they responded and were absorbed into pastor’s words.

In the second day’s evening sermon, the pastor spoke about the woman who was caught in adultery in John chapter 8, and how God washed our sin through the words about the sacrifice of atonement in Leviticus chapter 4. The Turkish and Bulgarians who listened to the words obtained true rest and were touched by accepting the fact that they can receive salvation not by their own efforts but by believing that God already completed the salvation. Looking at how this Plovdiv Grand Bible Seminar in Bulgaria was prepared and conducted, they could feel that God used weakest people to save the weakest people, and gave His people all the strength and hope to deal with every work we are facing. Above all things, it was so thankful for brothers and sisters in all of the European churches came to have a heart that God is strongly working even in Europe and will lead us to do bigger works of the gospel.

This grand bible seminar will continue in Asenobgrad city. God will save heart of Bulgarians and Turkish who are living in Bulgaria and instill a new hope in their heart. The glory and thankfulness returns to God.

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