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When communism fell, we couldn’t believe it

My family and I were one of the thousands of believers that filled the streets and the squares talking about God and singing Christian songs and it was hard to believe that no one would disperse us. We all were ecstatic. Never before had I tasted a freedom like that.

As a student I remember how we celebrated all the national holidays during communism. All of us were obliged to attend, often carrying flags or communist slogans, smiling happily no matter what we thought or how we felt.

My father had become the pastor of First Evangelical Church in Sofia and in 1985, he was imprisoned with the accusation that he was a religious fanatic. After six months in prison he was released, only to be sent to exile for three years in a small village 400 km away from home. My husband was also arrested and sent for 15 days to a labour camp away from our family.

I’ve attended church since I was a small child despite the communist ban. As a teenager I didn’t join the communist youth organisation because of my faith and this was viewed as an outright defiance of the regime – but God protected me.

My father would often emphasise the truth of the Bible, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him” (Philippians 1:29). Our whole family grew knowing this truth and it helped us to endure the trials God sent us,  with complete trust in the Lord.

Nebesna, a staff member with Mission Without Borders in Bulgaria

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