I’m not greatly given to dreams that have meaning but maybe 15 years ago or longer I had a dream which indicated I would be involved in helping Jewish people leave Bulgaria. I had to check the next day whether or not there were actually any Jewish people in Bulgaria as I’d never really heard anything about them!! I asked the Lord for confirmation of the dream and within a number of days I met a lady in Holland, a lover of Israel, whose father had been an Ambassador in Bulgaria. My chat with her just seemed to confirm the dream. Every now and then I would remember this dream but it wasn’t really in the forefront of my thinking. But the Lord doesn’t forget …
A few years ago I was visiting Ezra’s work in Hungary and the person at that time responsible within the Jewish Agency for Eastern Europe suggested we start work in Bulgaria!! One of our team members visited and made contact with believers in Sofia but also in some other cities, including Varna. On a later trip I went with her and we met with the local Jewish Agency office in Sofia.
Ezra’s main representative in Bulgaria is an Associate Professor in Neurobiology and she began an organisation called ‘Academic Friends of Israel’ – building strong links with the local Jewish community but also with the Academic Community in Israel. In the initial 2-3 years of Ezra’s work in Bulgaria the focus has mainly been on contact in churches and in building a prayer network but in January 2019 we saw our first family of Jews make Aliyah from Varna, Bulgaria helped by our local representative, Ira, and many Christian volunteers helping with the transportation of the family and their rather large amount of luggage!
There are believed to be somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 Jews in Bulgaria – many elderly. The Jewish community, however, is growing. Usually those numbers relate to Jewish people who are involved in active Jewish life; there could be many more who are able to return to Israel under the Law of Return. There is little anti-semitism currently in Bulgaria.
Our Olim were a young family – Irina and Sergei M with their daughter Eva. They came from a village outside of Varna and were taken to Varna airport for their flight to Israel. Irina said: “This has been my dream since childhood and my husband is in full solidarity with me on this!” She also said, “An enormous thank you for your help. We simply don’t have the words to express our feelings of gratitude and we believe that you are worthy of much more than simply words.”
It was only two days later that I realised that this wasn’t only an answer to Irina’s dream but it was also an answer to my dream of 15 or so years ago!! God is faithful to His word. This is the first family that Ezra has helped from Bulgaria but, I’m sure, it won’t be the last!!