Posted on December 5, 2016 Growing Up

The Literacy Program at Sofia Baptist Church got off to a great start in mid-September, with 15 children coming the first day. Since then, between eight and 15 participants have been coming regularly, with the youngest being five years old, and the oldest 16. The five-year-old is our newest student. The others have been attending for several years now, many since they were five or six, but are now “tweens” or teenagers. This makes for a different dynamic in our group this year. They are no longer the sweet little kids of a few years ago, but are acting more like teenagers and the behaviors that age brings with it! On the other hand, we can tell they have made progress in their learning and literacy skills over the years, and this is our desired result.

Since Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Bulgaria, I brought some traditional Thanksgiving foods to class for the kids and teachers to try on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and apple and pecan pie were on the menu. Some of the children tried everything and liked it; others didn’t touch it! However, the teachers and church staff who were invited were delighted to try some traditional American foods, and liked everything! We gathered in a circle before eating to pray, and each child said one thing they were thankful for—the Literacy Program, its teachers and the hosting church, their families, for healing from sickness, for food and a home, for friends. It was humbling to hear each one of these Roma children say aloud what they are thankful for, and it made them stop to think about the good things in their lives when oftentimes life is so hard for them.

The Literacy Program recently got a donation of ten refurbished laptops from the local international school, the Anglo-American School of Sofia (where our two boys went to school). What a wonderful surprise and a blessed gift! One of the church staff is making us some special computer tables where the laptops can be locked in a drawer after each use. The tables match the cubbies, shelves and other furnishings already in the room. We will soon get them all hooked up and ready for the students to use for learning games and activities. Two of the laptops were given to a small church in Northern Bulgaria for use in their literacy program for Roma children in that area. Please pray with us that God will bless the use of these new devices and that the children will learn new skills that will benefit them in the future.

Please pray…

• For the children who are attending the Literacy Program.

• That as the children grow they will continue to attend the Literacy Program and work toward a better life for themselves.

• For the children’s Christmas Program that will be taking place at Sofia Baptist Church on December 18.