Background: Muslims of Turkish origin in Bulgaria
Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire for almost 500 years. The “Turkish Gypsies”, who together with the Turks make up the second largest population group in Bulgaria, are the remainders of this earlier Turkish rule. Since the end of communism in 1990 it is again possible in Bulgaria to preach the Gospel freely. In 2007 Bulgaria became a member of the European Union. In terms of population income, it is the poorest EU country. In Bulgaria itself, the Muslim “Turkish Gypsies” belong to the lowest stratum of society. 90% of them are unemployed.
Call of Hope’s work in Bulgaria
It might seem odd to do evangelism of Muslims in an European country, however many millions of Muslims live in Europe too. They too need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Working among Muslims in the West also has a decisive advantage: there is freedom of religion here. Unlike in most Islamic countries, you can tell Muslim believers about Jesus here without fear of reprisals from the government.
For example in Bulgaria. Call of Hope works among the ethnic group of “Turkish Gypsies” – that’s how they call themselves. The work began in the early 1990s, shortly after the “fall of the Soviet Union”, i.e. the end of the Soviet Union and the fall of communism. In the meantime, a community has emerged in northeastern Bulgaria, the majority of which have an Islamic background. Several house groups have also sprung up in the surrounding area.
The work of Call of Hope in Northeast Bulgaria
Our employee in Northeast Bulgaria was one of the first Muslim gypsies in Bulgaria who found faith in Jesus Christ. Together with his wife, he has been managing the work on site for many years. In the meantime, a community and several house groups have been set up which are attended by former Muslims. Furthermore, evangelistic outreaches are carried out in Muslim communities. Call of Hope also tries to help the poor and needy people in that area.
The work of Call of Hope in Bulgaria
Founding and support of communities and house groups
Bible lessons for believers
Training seminars for home group leaders
Children’s lessons and children’s meetings for Muslim children
Food aid for the needy