I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of. Although my mother didn’t attend any particular church, she prayed for me. And because of her prayers, God took hold of my life. I was in the army when I first felt God’s presence leading me. I began visiting churches, from large, influential ones to some pretty strange ones.
One day as I walked down the street in the capital city of Bulgaria, I saw a sign for a church I had never heard of. I felt the Lord pointing me to it, so I stepped inside and sat down to listen to the pastor’s sermon. It was an Adventist church. The members’ warm welcome touched my heart. After the service I went searching for a Bible.
I attended the Adventist church occasionally, but I still drank and visited discos. One day while drunk I broke into a car and was arrested. I realized that drinking would lead me to prison-or worse-so I quit.
I asked the Adventist pastor to study the Bible with me, and a year later I was baptized.
One day two members of the church invited me to visit a man they knew. I learned that this man, Simon, was a former leader in the Mafia. He was an alcoholic and was paralyzed. The men introduced me as a friend of theirs and a former alcoholic. Simon perked up and started asking me pointed questions such as how God led me to Himself and the Adventist Church and how He saved me from alcoholism. Before I left, I gave him a couple small books to read.
Two weeks later I visited Simon again, this time alone. Simon had read the two books I had given him and had started reading the Bible. He asked me question after question and wouldn’t let me go. I suggested that we study the Bible together.
It wasn’t logical, but I started with Daniel 2. I learned that Simon knew a lot about world history and the countries of the prophecies included in Daniel. He was excited by the study and later told me that he had studied my notes and his history books until 2:30 in the morning. “And it all fits!” he said, amazed.
Simon stopped drinking and smoking and is recovering from his paralysis. Now he no longer needs his wheelchair. He has given his life to Jesus and is looking forward to baptism.
I thank God for my mother’s prayers and for God, Who saw potential in an alcoholic whose life was going nowhere. And thank you for giving to mission so that others in this world can know that our wonderful Savior loves them.
Kamen Pavlov shares his faith in western Bulgaria.