Turkey and Bulgaria share a border. In Bulgaria, there are over 560,000 Turks which either remained after Bulgaria’s independence from the Ottoman Empire or migrated from Turkey. Turks have faced discrimination from Bulgaria and were once seen an obstacle to modern society due to their outdated religious practices. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, many Turks now enjoy religious freedom and have begun to restore and rebuild mosques in their communities. Most Turks in Bulgaria are Muslim but there is still a large majority of Turks who profess to be atheists or secularists.
Engagement // What’s Happening Now
When Bulgaria fell into Soviet authority after WWII, most mosques were closed and converted to government buildings. Since 1990, most have been restored or rebuilt, and Muslims from Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are trying to restore the Islamic culture. However, many turned from Islam to atheism or secularism because of frustration with corruption and hypocrisy.
Pray that Christians will be a light to those who feel betrayed by society and failed leadership and present a real and genuine gospel through compassion and love.
Sustainability // The Bigger Story
Romanian Pentecostal believers have begun to reach out to Turk – Muslim communities. A few years ago Romanian pastors, church workers and students from the Pentecostal Institute of Theology took part in a trip to a Turk village in Bulgaria. Through their time there they were able to begin the construction of a new church and hold evangelistic rallies. The believers reported that “in six days, the walls were built and plastered (both inside and out), and the roof was put on!” Christian literature was handed out and many relationships were built among the Pentecostal believers and the Turk Muslims. These believers see the opportunity in being able to travel throughout the European Union and reach out to the unreached such as the Turk communities in Bulgaria.
Pray for more Christians to reach out with love and share the gospel with the Turks in Bulgaria
Partnership // Move Beyond
Entrepreneurs: Illiteracy is high among Turks (especially among the women) in Bulgaria. Teachers are needed to teach basic skills such as reading and writing.
Readers, Writers, and Speakers: There are many Christian resources available in Turkish but due to high illiteracy creative efforts are needed to be able to clearly communicate the message of salvation.
Problem Solvers: Due to war, governments and differences in culture Bulgarians and Turks remain at odds with each other. A solution is needed which will bridge Bulgarian believers with Turks.
Interested in more opportunities? Visit the Wide Open Missions website.