“The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light...” (Mat. 4:16)
We wish you a blessed Christmas time!
Thank you for this year!
IGNAT IVANOV, President
I opened Facebook to read friends’ updates and my attention was drawn to a photo of cheerful children published by the children’s Bible school in the village of Pevtsite.
Pevtsite’s Bible school? On Facebook?
I am very familiar with Pevtsite, a Gypsy village in Bulgaria. We have operated a soup kitchen for children through the church there for several years. The village is a miserable-looking place: the homes are merely run-down shacks next to a field littered with trash. The nicest building is the house of prayer that was renovated by Mission Possible’s construction team last year.
We have known the pastor there for many years, ever since he came to the Lord at age twelve. He and his wife have three children who have eaten at the soup kitchen. One of their girls, Angelika, had heart disease. When no cure was found, they prayed. The father wrapped his child in his arms and everybody prayed for healing. The result was a miracle: Angelika was healed! Her life was changed.
The pastor’s daughters and their friend Bogomila have been to our camps for children and youth. After last summer’s camp, the girls decided to serve the children in their village. So they started a children’s Bible school.
There are gatherings several times a week. All the children in the village are welcome to attend, and the house of prayer is full of young girls and boys as a result. The Bible lessons are those the teachers have learned at our camps, and include Bible stories, prayer, songs, games, and crafts. And the children are enthusiastic!
The Bible school also has a Facebook page! You may wonder how this is possible. In these villages, TV and the internet through mobile phones are the people’s entertainment and connection to the modern world. There is a dish antenna on the roof of every shack. Electricity has been connected using a do-it-yourself method. So even in this village, which is amongst the poorest in Europe, the young Bible school teachers can post pictures and events!
These pictures show that, as a result of ministry to children, young leaders rise up who press on and want to see things improve – and others are following them.
Carrying just soda and salt sticks for a picnic, the young teachers lead the children marching in a long line out into the field. Out there a program of games, teaching, and prayer is organized.
The children make crafts from simple materials and are thrilled about it! One of the teachers, Bogomila, is shown in the picture below.
We brought supplies and children’s Bibles to the Bible school in Pevtsite. Almost everybody in the group can read, which indicates that the work done through the church is bearing fruit. From October through May the soup kitchen for children is held in the church building. In the summer months Mission Possible provides food and supplies, which are distributed to families through the church.
In the picture: Besa Shapllo, the leader of Mission Possible in Albania.The children at Hope Center's Christian kindergarten listenining to the teacher.
The story of Mission Possible in Albania dates back to September 1991 when Albania had opened its doors to the world and the people were finally free to worship God! Besa Shapllo, who had just become a Christian, was given a challenging task: lead Mission Possible’s ministry in Albania. Under her leadership as she followed God, our Albanian team has reached tens of thousands of people, sharing the Gospel and help.
"God Almighty, help me!" These were the words that Besa Shapllo, an English teacher in Tirana, Albania, wrote in her diaries as far back as 1974. The request was addressed to God, whose existence she still questioned. Albania, her home country, had declared itself atheistic and forbade its citizens to believe in God. But whenever she was desperate, she turned to God with that petition.
In 1991, in connection with the political turnover in Eastern Europe, the governing ideology in Albania changed, and the freedom of religion was established. Besa became a member of one of the first churches and got acquainted with the Bible. “Everything started o make sense to me,” she said.
Besa was one of the first believers in this new era in Albania. In that same year, Mission Possible began working in the country – and Besa became leader of the ministry!
“The priority of our work was – and still is – spreading the Word and helping the poor,” says Besa. “From the very beginning we have ministered to children. In 1993 we began publishing the first children’s magazine in Albania, Miracle Magazine (Mrekullia), and a couple of years later we launched the Miracle Bible Clubs. It really was a miracle that the Albanian kids could read a magazine like this and attend these clubs!”
“Since the late 1990’s we have been helping the poor in various parts of the capital and beyond, including Bathore. For the past twelve years most of our work has been concentrated in this area through the Hope Center.”
“Our ministry gives special attention to the youngest generation in Bathore, that they might find out and clearly understand what Christian faith is.”
“Thank you for how you created me; there is nothing you haven’t given to me.” This prayer of thanksgiving was written by a girl named Kleada who has been attending Miracle Bible Club since 2012. She and her brother always come to the club together. She also attends the computer class at Hope Center and loves to borrow books from our library.
Twenty-five years ago Albania was a closed country where the Christian faith was forbidden, but today children like Kleada and her brother are amongst the thousands of children, teenagers, and adults being reached with the Gospel message.
Bathore is an impoverished community in suburban Tirana, Albania, whose residents are primarily of Muslim background. Mission Possible’s Hope Center has been there for twelve years. The name was suggested by some women who attended the courses and Bible studies at the center because they said whenever they went, they returned home filled with hope.
At Hope Center, various practical courses are organized, specifically for teenagers and women. The center also maintains the only public library in town. Through these resources, people are also introduced to the Gospel. There are regular Bible study groups, meetings, and events.
Our ministry to women continues to challenge
those in Bathore to restore their lives by following Jesus.
Our team has become acquainted with many mothers trying to make ends meet while raising their children in the midst of severe financial difficulties, and who are often victims of domestic violence.
“We bring help to these families, counsel the mothers, and pray for them, thus purposing to plant good seed as we speak to their hearts and trust God for the fruit of changing and healing people.”
Tefta, a mother of three, is one of these women. She is a Christian and continues to stand firm in her trust in Jesus, despite her trying circumstances and opposition from others who criticize her.
“Our home has no foundation and is just a single room. Whatever falls or blows outside comes inside. One of my daughters is suffering from breathing problems. Doctors suspect it is some kind of tuberculosis. With our living conditions, her health continues to deteriorate. My nine-year-old son is not very articulate. Perhaps it is the result of witnessing many scenes of violence when he was younger.
“I am trying hard to find a job to buy a sack of flour to make our daily bread. I was so blessed the day Mission Possible’s team brought my family many food items, not to mention the Christmas gifts.
“I know for sure it was God who brought you to my door, for that day started out as one of the bleakest my family had seen: our food shelf was completely empty…”
“Often I feel I am losing hope… But deep inside of me I know Jesus will continue to provide for my family in one way or another. When I read the Bible I find strength to face the next day with optimism, hoping that it will be better for my little ones, who are the light of my eyes.
“My husband continues to drink, but not that much. He is no longer violent toward me,” says Tefta.
Recently we introduced a new program called Positive Parenting to help families in Bathore, and it’s hosted at Hope Center. Many couples came to the first meeting. Tefta was there, too – and we were delighted that her husband accompanied her!
Tefta and her children opening Christmas gifts
Ninety boxes of pretty baby clothes from Finland were shipped to Bulgaria in November. Our Bulgarian team is preparing the other items needed for the boxes. The first local coordinators of the Baby Box Project (see photo) met in Sofia to receive instructions.
The Baby Box also includes educational and Christian materials. Personal counseling through the church is an essential part of this program, and the box also serves as a tool to reach mothers outside the churches. You can help by funding a box, which costs $60. Please go to mp.org/give or call 1-800-729-2425. Thank you for your help!