In 1990 a Christian missions conference was held in Istanbul to determine the best way to reach Eastern Europe with the gospel. Due to the strong need in the country of Bulgaria, Call of Hope began a relationship with the Bulgarian church and invited leaders to join them in Turkey for Christian leadership training. Among the Bulgarians were two new believers, who were passionate about starting a church, Brother Arif and his wife Asiye. Under the guidance and support of Call of Hope, the couple began to hold meetings in their home.
Not long after the house-church was planted, the congregation moved to a rented garage to make room for the prolific growth and the expansion of their ministry. Following her passion and the leading of the Lord, Asiye began a Children’s ministry and the church continued to grow so large that it was split into two congregations.
Today, Bro. Arif is leading the largest Muslim background evangelical church in Razgrad, Bulgaria as well as three house churches in the surrounding villages. New Christians are passionate about sharing their newly found faith to their Muslim neighbors. The congregation frequently evangelizes to the nearby gypsies and other Muslim villagers using evangelistic booklets as a conversation starter. As the church continues to grow, God is miraculously changing lives all across Bulgaria.
Ministry to Gypsies
With 2 planted and thriving churches, missions work began to focus on the impoverished Turkish Gypsies in Bulgaria. The gypsies are rejected and hated in society, 99% of them are unable to get a job, and they are forced to rummage through trash for food simply to survive. Coming from Turkish Gypsy heritage himself, Brother Arif had a strong heart to reach this particular Muslim people group with life changing message of Jesus. Along with the congregation, they provide food, medicine and shelter to the gypsies; by meeting their physical needs, frontline workers are also able to open the conversation about their spiritual needs.
Please pray for Call of Hope’s Frontline Workers and consider supporting the literature, media and church planting efforts to reach the millions of Muslims throughout Europe and the Near East!
A Gypsy Reaching Gypsies
Brother Arif and his wife lead the Call of Hope work among Muslim gypsies in Bulgaria. He was not always a follower of Christ, but God’s love took hold of them and now compels the to share the Good News with others. Arif explains, “I grew up in Bulgaria, as one of the thousands of Muslim-Turkish gypsies. In 1973 I was married
to my wife Asiye, two years after our wedding, I joined the military and Asiye went to work in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company. Our beautiful daughter was born, and only 4 short years later she died, leaving my wife and I with heavy and depressed hearts.
My wife became very ill due
to exposure to chemicals at the factory where she worked. Asiye had heart problems, bad headaches, and she had also lost the feeling
in her hands. We went to several Islamic healing doctors, and none were able to help us.
In 1991, my wife and I took
part in a Christian evangelism meeting. The songs that we heard during the meeting moved our hearts and we heard the words
of John 3:16. As I was pondering this message, the leaders called for prayer for anyone in need of healing. As the evangelist prayed in the name of Jesus, Asiye felt a wonderful breeze blowing over her and miraculously Jesus brought healing to her entire body! We were immediately filled with the joy of the Lord! My wife and I kneeled down and received Jesus into our lives as Lord and Savior! We are overjoyed that we found the way to Jesus, and He saved us miraculously! “