bul. Hristo Botev 13, et. 4, ap. 8, Sofia, 1606

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Our history gives testimony to the fact
that though student work is fragile,
God is faithful!








BCSU owes its existence to IFES. Soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, IFES assigned two people – Gordon Showel-Rogers (England) and Dora Bernhard (General Secretary of the Hungarian movement) - the task of beginning regular visits to Bulgaria, with the purpose of establishing a movement there. Gordon worked in Sofia and other student centers in Western Bulgaria, while Dora worked in Varna and Bourgas.

At the same time, Rick and Jane Fillingham, a young family who had just graduated from a missionary college, had been praying that God would lead them in their search for an appropriate location to serve. As the changes in Eastern Europe had already begun, their professor  suggested that they might consider one of these countries. So they began investigating different opportunities for work with IFES in Eastern Europe. IFES referred them to Poland, but after a week long trip in this country, in April 1992, they decided against moving there. Poland was too large, which would mean long absences from home, and Rick and Jane had two young children. After that they went to Bulgaria for a week to get to know the work of another ministry, International Teams. During a service in the Pentecostal church in Veliko Tarnovo, Rick was filled with joy and the conviction that this was the country, in which they had to serve. They immediately sent a letter to the IFES coordinator for Europe, Jonathan Lamb, explaining to him their desire to work in Bulgaria and that they were considering coming with the International Team ministry. They then received an answer from IFES, which mentioned nothing about their desire to go to Bulgaria, but instead offering an opportunity to go to Hungary to help start the Hungarian student movement there. Rick wrote again to Jonathan, declining the offer to work with IFES however soon after wards he received another letter, to discuss an interview in IFES’ head office!

At the time Rick and Jane began rethinking their involvement with International Teams so they decided to go to the interview. It was very brief - they were told that they’ve been approved to work in Hungary, as the student movement there had been rapidly growing and needed more workers. Rick asked if there was any chance to go to Bulgaria, but Jonathan informed them that Gordon and Dora already worked there. So Rick and Jane accepted to go to Hungary. But during the next two months, they continued to pray and they called the IFES head office twice to ask if there was still no possibility of going to Bulgaria. Twice they were told “no.”

Then one day Jonathan phoned them up and asked them, “Do you still want to work in Bulgaria?” They confirmed their desire and were told that they could go. What brought about this change? After three years of work, Gordon and Dora were still struggling to begin a work in Bulgaria and as they left the country they agreed that Rick and Jane might come and serve. Thus the door for an organized student witness in Bulgaria was finally opening.