Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 2017 Bulgaria Trip: An Opportunity to Combat Human Trafficking

By Oleg Turlac

In July 2017, I was on a trip to Bulgaria. Bulgaria for me is a special country indeed. Many of you know that I hold a Moldovan passport. A few of you might know that Turlac family is of Bulgarian descent. In the 19th century my ancestors left Bulgaria (which was occupied by the Ottomans) and settled in Southern Ukraine. From there, my paternal grandparents Ivan and Valentina migrated to Moldova in 1961 when a small Baptist church that they were members of was closed and believers were forced by Communists to flee elsewhere. Bulgarian language was always spoken in our family along with Russian, which everyone living in the Soviet Union had to learn in school. So, since I was 5, I spoke Bulgarian.

About 10 years ago, we crossed paths with Rev. Nikolay Nedelchev, brother in Christ from Bulgaria who served as pastor of the First Baptist Church in Sofia. We learned of wonderful evangelistic work that Bulgarian Baptist were doing to reach their fellow countrymen for Jesus Christ. Bulgaria, like Russia and Moldova, is an Eastern Orthodox country with close to 3/4 of the population belonging to Orthodoxy. Baptists are a minority but they, along with Pentecostal and Charismatic believers, are most evangelistic. After World War II, Bulgaria was included into the Soviet camp with heavy domination of Communist ideology. The situation changed only in November of 1989 when under public pressure Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov gave up power. First democratic elections  took place shortly after. At present time, Bulgaria is a member of the European Union.

While in Sofia, Bulgarian capital, I wanted to get better acquainted with Bulgarian Baptist leaders and learn of the work that local Christians were doing. I wanted to see some potential avenues, in which we at Turlac Mission could be involved.

During Sunday worship, I spoke at the First Baptist Church of Sofia, Bulgarian capital. I talked about human trafficking and of how widespread this problem is in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Sofia is one of places, which is popular among sex tourists. Its night clubs cater to European and Arab sex tourists. One can find flyers advertising sex services and night clubs practically everywhere in town.

One observation that I made while in Bulgaria was stunning. I have never seen a country where practically all women that I saw on the streets, were smoking. Not as many men smoked as women, especially those under the age of 30. I am sure that tobacco industry is flourishing with profits made in Bulgaria. According to official data, 35 per cent of Bulgarians are smokers. This situation gave me a great opportunity for conversation with young people about health and spiritual values.

As I talked with Baptist leaders Nikolay and Vlady about gravity of trafficking in Bulgaria, I came to the conclusion that we must support efforts of the First Baptist Church of Sofia in combating this plague. As I discovered, the “Red Lights District” frequented by sex tourists was located within a close proximity to the church. On the part of the church, Christian ladies - members of FBC Sofia -- will go into the “Red Lights District” and will provide hygiene care packages for the young women, serve them coffee and sandwiches, and engage them in conversation that will point them to God.

One of the highlights of my visit to Bulgaria was meeting national missionaries Danchu and Marianna. Danchu was born in Bulgaria. Marianna is of Bulgarian descent but is from Moldova. They serve the Lord in a small town just outside of Sofia. In addition to doing evangelism, Danchu is also publishing a Christian magazine in Bulgarian language. I was able to provide financial support for this wonderful couple.

In Sofia, I also met Vitali K., a dear brother in Christ and Ph.D. student of European Historical and Cultural Studies at the University of Sofia. Vitali is originally from Moldova and is very mission-minded. With his expertise in Church History, his efforts will be quite useful in teaching pastors and church leaders within our Leadership College program. I look forward to going on teaching trips with Vitali. After meeting him, I once again was amazed at how God directs my paths to places where I meet people that, I am sure, will become great partners in mission work.

As I was on my way to Toronto from Sofia (via Istanbul) and sipped coffee at airport cafe in the early hours of the morning, I was thinking of the following. Growing up in the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain, I could never have imagined that I would be involved in international mission work. But I trusted God with my life and dedicated it to His service. And now, as I look at wonderful things that He has done and of how he used me and all of us (and I mean you, my dear friends) to help people around the world and serve His church, I rejoice. My heart is thankful indeed. I serve a great God (Psalm 8:9).


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Oleg and Natasha Celebrate 15th Wedding Anniversary

On July 13-14th, we are celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. We thank God for the gift of each other and thank all of you for your love and prayers through the years. Why two days? Because on 13th we had our civil registration in the city hall in Moldova, and on 14th, we were married in church in a Christian ceremony. Our family is a missionary family. Both of us dedicated ourselves to life-long mission work. What a blessing it is to serve God together!

Dr. Horace Hambrick: In Memoriam

We at Turlac Mission have been saddened to learn about passing of Dr. Horace T. Hambrick of Georgetown, Kentucky (U.S.A.), a dear friend and supporter (along with his beloved spouse Maribeth Hambrick) of our global mission work. On behalf of TM, we express condolences to the Hambrick family and keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

Dr. Horace Thomas Hambrick, retired Georgetown College Professor of History and Scott County farmer, passed away Sunday, July 9th, 2017. He was born June 5th, 1927 in Georgetown, Kentucky.

Dr. Hambrick was a World War II Navy Veteran who served from 1945 to 1946. He was a 1949 graduate of Georgetown College and received his M.A. in 1950 and Ph.D. in 1953 from the University Of Kentucky. He taught history for 47 years beginning in 1949 at Georgetown College, which included 26 years as chairman of the History Department.

A lifelong member and deacon of the Georgetown Baptist Church, Dr. Hambrick had served as chairman of Deacons, church moderator, treasurer and as a Sunday School teacher.

He will be remembered as a dear friend and dedicated servant of the Church of Jesus Christ.

Photo Credit

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Let Us Help Megi Receive Training for Missions



Megi is from Albania, a formerly Communist nation. For many years Albanians were oppressed for their beliefs. Megi wants to study missions and business at a Christian College in Lithuania. Together we can help Megi to get training for missions and thus strengthen the Church of Jesus Christ in Albania.

$200 per month will enable Megi to study at the college and fulfill her dream of getting equipped for service in her homeland. Can you join us in providing a monthly scholarship for Megi through Turlac Mission?

You can donate on-line HERE or mail a check using information provided HERE. Your donation is tax-deductible. For more information, write to oturlac@gmail.com 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

New Edition of a Liturgical Book for Church Leaders in Russian Produced in July 2017

A few years back we developed a book in Russian on Christian funerals (liturgy, Scriptural texts and analysis of Slavic funeral customs and traditions). This summer, we did published another edition of the book, which became quite popular among pastors and church leaders. Our goal is to make the church in formerly Communist lands stronger and provide necessary resources to leaders.

Quite often, students of theology graduate from seminaries and divinity schools with wealth of knowledge in theology, biblical languages and Church history. However, few know how to conduct a funeral, a wedding, baptism and other church functions. Graduates of Bible colleges in the former USSR as well as pastors serving in the field will get a lot of help from the book published by TM when they deal with funerals in church context.

You can support publishing of Christians resources in Russian and other languages with your donation. You can donate on-line HERE.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2017 Prayer Requests

Dear Friends, we would like to share with you our regular prayer requests for July 2017.

- Keep Oleg in your prayers as he travels globally to advance the cause of the Kingdom. You can find more about the work of TV by writing directly to oturlac@gmail.com and signing up for mission updates.

- Pray for Vitali as he continues his treatments for his back pain. Our hope is that he will be able to join Oleg in active mission travels before too long.

- Pray for Oleg and Natasha's son Roman who has Autism and Developmental disability. May God give His grace to Turlac family as they care for him.

- Pray for persecuted followers of Jesus around the world, especially in the Middle East and the last frontier lands. Pray for missionaries and national Church leaders that serve God in challenging places.

- We thank God for 15th anniversary of Oleg's and Natasha's wedding. It is a privilege for them to serve God together.

Let us know if you would like to become our prayer partner!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Galina Reaches Out to Children from Poor Families in Moldova

Galina is a TM-supported missionary that lives in Turkish-speaking part of Moldova (Gagauzia) where she serves children, teenagers and runs a tailoring school that helps keep girls away from trafficking. Galina is a graduate of the Christian College and a recipient of the grant from the Woman's Missionary Union. This summer, Galina holds a camp for children from poor families that live in her town.

Missionaries in the formerly Communist lands cannot support themselves because of poor economy and challenging political and social realities. You can help support Galina's ministry in Moldova with your monthly donation of $200. To donate on-line, click HERE. Your donation is tax-deductible.