Helping in the strawberry fields!
by Cheryl Sala, Guidelines' Missions Director
I'd like to introduce you to Ben and Sveta, two people committed to serving God. Both are graduates from Donetsk Christian University in Ukraine. After graduation their lives took them down different paths, around unexpected turns, and eventually brought them together in marriage and ministry in Bulgaria. Ben left Ukraine for the Philippines where he ministered with the Institute for Foundational Learning in Cabuyao, learning about agricultural techniques and improving his English teaching skills in education. His goals were to study methods by which a household could have a constant supply of vegetables on a small piece of property and eventually to minister in China. Although his desire to minister in China did not come to pass, God had unexpected plans for his ministry. Ben moved to Russia to marry a young lady however, that relationship dissolved. While there he had the opportunity to teach English to a group of Chinese and Russian students and share God's word. Sveta and Ben met again sometime later and the plans God had for their lives together began to unfold. Imagine in 2006, a Cameroonian guy getting married to a Ukrainian young lady in a Gypsy Turkish church. Sveta had started her missionary work in Bulgaria with the Pomaks and they continue that work today with their 3 beautiful daughters 5, 3 1/2, and 1 1/2 years of age.
Ben and Sveta's ministry is two fold. Sveta, having a heart for the Pomaks in Bulgaria, began her ministry reaching out to these Bulgarian speaking Muslims. Once married Ben joined in the enthusiasm for God's work there. Even though this proves to be very challenging, as the Pomaks are one of the hardest people to reach with the Gospel message, and the harvest is small, they continue to trust God and find new ways to share His Word. Although their ministry to God's people has expanded to Plovdiv, where they now live, they continue to reach out to the Pomaks.
Their Pomak ministry involves visiting Pomak villages, churches, and isolated Christians in mostly Muslim areas. They keep a prayer network to try to link missionaries and other church workers to the Pomaks. Another way in which the Morikangs are trying to reach people for Christ in the Pomak community is through the planting of a strawberry field. Its fun to look back and see how God prepared Ben in his early ministry to use the skills he acquired in the Philippines, learning all about agricultural techniques, and using them thousands of miles away in Bulgaria to share the gospel while working the land. They use this field to work side by side with the Pomaks and other villagers, making new friends and sharing God's Word with them.
In Plovdiv they are involved in a small conservative church where Ben often preaches. The church is declining and they have been trying hard to reach the younger generation. Here again we see how God has prepared them in their early years of ministry learning and teaching English. Presently they've started an English language club where people can meet to practice their English language skills. Their goal is to develop a group of friends with whom they can share the Gospel. Sveta was recently admitted to Plovdiv University to study Linguistics: English and French. She hopes to use these skills in future ministry work translating and working with languages.
Please pray for this couple as they patiently work to bring the Gospel to the unsaved. Specific needs they have include part-time jobs for both Ben and Sveta so they can balance ministry, family, and studies. Jobs are very hard to come by; Ben has been out of work for two years. Such a job would help them with their limited finances, for as their family grows and needs increase, they will need additional funds. Consider this, the average income in that area is about $500 a year. So a little goes a long way. The extra funds would also help them to reach out to more Pomaks in various villages. Not everyone has the financial resources to support such missionaries, but everyone who has a relationship with Jesus can pray for the Morikangs as they patiently serve to win souls to Christ. If God so puts it on your heart, please join Guidelines in supporting the Morikang family both financially and prayerfully.