Tondo, Philippines Update With Emilie

Recently we sat down with Emilie who is volunteering at Threefold, and we talked about the work in Tondo. Emilie keeps up with pastor Roy and Cyrus and helps us get the latest from Tondo.

Check it out this audio segment!

Or, if you are okay with poor audio but you like video better, you can watch this talk on video here:

Testimony: the Prayer Center in Sofia, Bulgaria

Dear friends of our ministry from around the world! Some of you have been to Bulgaria and have visited our ministry’s base there, some of you haven’t.

I saw this building first in a vision on New Years’s Eve in 1994. The Government had just shut down our church in June ’94. By December, from around 1000 members going through our services on Sunday and throughout the week, there were less than 400 of us probably left.

No one thought we would have to go through this as a church for FIVE YEARS!

But on New Year’s Eve of 1994, we had gathered for an all-church meeting. I asked everyone to pray & ask the Lord for whatever people had faith for. I remember the Spirit of God moving amongst us at that time. All of a sudden I had a very clear vision of a building that looked very stately. It had a basement where I could see as if through an X-Ray, people on their knees praying.

On the upper floors, I could see people behind desks, working behind computers and going from one room to another. It almost looked like a newsroom of some kind. I knew it had to do with media.

This vision made a deep impact on me for I realize that from this place prayers will be offered for the nations of the world and also information will be handled and that the two were connected.

Our church went through deep persecution which lasted for five years. In the meantime, Bulgaria went through even greater post-Communist era breakdown as a society and as an economy. 4 years of the 5 were under very corrupt socialist government made up of the former Communists and their cronies in the media. Bulgaria’s currency collapsed in 1997 and we experienced up to 300% inflation.

By 1999, the economy was wiped out. Real estate was super low. Banks weren’t lending. Our national bank (and currency) came under the supervision of a Currency Board from the World Bank. The new Bulgarian government which came to power in 1997 after the Socialists had devastated the country, began to seek closer ties with Western Europe, the US, the EU, and NATO.

In 1995 there were threats made on our lives as a family and we had moved to the US for a year. We came back to Bulgaria in 1996 only to run into more persecution by the Government, confiscations of private property, humiliating police harassment and so on.

In the summer of 1998, God opened the door and I had a supernaturally arranged meeting with the President of Bulgaria at that time, Mr. Petar Stoyanov.

We spoke for about 20 minutes at a fancy restaurant in Sofia where I had visited at the invitation of an American Christian businessman. The President happened to visit the same restaurant that night. When I saw him coming in with his wife and then young daughter, I walked over to their table, he welcomed me and we had a 20-minutee conversion. He asked me not to give up on what I’m doing. he said he had been following me in the media and knows that the media propaganda was all lies meant to stop me. His words still ring in my ears to this day:

“Pastor Bakalov, would you help me keep the young people to remain in Bulgaria?”

I told him basically “Sir, it’s what we want. However, please help us so we can help you!”

Two weeks later the largest national newspaper called me and asked me for an interview. They said they’ll give me two pages and I can edit the final version, i.e. they guaranteed they won’t manipulate the interview. And so it was.

A week later the second largest newspaper did the exact same thing. Within 3 weeks I had given interviews in two of the largest newspapers, which had been two of the main media to write hatchet jobs against me and our church. These interviews paved the way for our church to be restored back as a legitimate body.

I have HUNDREDS of newspaper articles from the Bulgarian media in my archives for the period between 1993 -1998. Almost all of them, with few notable exceptions, have been lies and propaganda meant to destroy me and the church.

In September of 1998, the Government office handling religious affairs (Paul Gazelka, you met with the Director and prayed for him in 2005 when you were in Bulgaria), had called me and without any conditions offered the legal status of our church to be restored. They told me I can choose which of the mainstream denominations I want our church to be part of now. We had been without a legal status as a church since 1994.

I decided we should probably get the legal status through a denomination whose leader I had known since the time I first became a Christian. (That’s another story but…little did we know that this man had been an agent and an informant for the Communist State Security since the 1980’s. This was revealed not until 2012.)

Finally, in February 1999 we broke through 5 years of systemic persecution by the corrupt Bulgarian Government! We emerged onto the national scene with a national conference where thousands of people came from all over Bulgaria. God moved apostle John Eckhardt from Chicago to encourage us at that time. We met him in Minnesota in 1996 when prophet John Isleib was still helping pastor a new church plant headed by his sister Mary-Alice.

Our church was on the upswing again and it marked a new day in our development as a body. It seems also as if at the same time Bulgaria itself came into a new season of its post-Communist history.

In the spring of 1999, I got a call from a real estate agent I knew at the time. She was talking about this building downtown. I went to see it. When I stepped into the basement, the Holy Spirit came all over me. Something was stirring up.

I began to realize this is the place God had shown to me in a vision in 1994.

The church had no cash reserves of any kind. The economy is was wiped out after 2 years of hyperinflation. We had just survived 5 years as a persecuted church and had dwindled down to not more than 250-300 people, if that.

The average monthly salary in Bulgaria at the time was probably still around $250-$300 – if that!

However, excited about the possibility of this being what God showed me, I shared the news with the church, we prayed and we dove in. We had to raise $20,000 within 2 weeks to be able to sign the deal. Which we did. People gave literally the shirts off their backs. Not a single $ from any Western church.

I hope this helps you understand why this place is so special to me. SACRIFICE is spelled all over it. One of the MANY sacrifices our church family has had to make through the years.

We signed the contract and the fight was “on”!

It took us 3 years to raise the cash needed to pay off this property. It ended up costing us around $225,000 but more has been invested in it through the years. Only I think around $15,000 came in from overseas donors. To me, this is a miracle building which God gave us for miracles to be released through it.

There is a great battle over the calling God has on our ministry to be a house of prayer for all nations. Much prayer has been offered in this place through the years. But we’re far from what God has called us to be.

The religious spirit has managed to cloud many believers’ vision of Prayer, Intercession and Spiritual Warfare as a ministry we are all called to.

I sense that a new day is coming.

I invite all of you to rally in the Spirit in agreement and to declare with one voice, together with the believers from our spiritual family in Sofia, that God will restore this house of prayer and it will be once again a house of prayer for all nations.

It will be also the apostolic base and center it was meant to be, as our church in Sofia takes its place in the spirit and believers come into the fullness of what God has called each and everyone to be.

Thank you all for letting me share a little bit of our journey that has to do with Bulgaria and the past. However, I feel as if though all this has been just part of the laying of a deep foundation.

I feel as if though the best is yet the come and I am very pleased I can share all this and ask you to please join us in agreement for God’s will to be done and for His Kingdom purpose to be brought forth in 2017 and beyond!

Semper Reformanda!


The following are some shots from the special Father’s Day service in Sofia, at which service we honored fathers from a Biblical standpoint. Young people from Breakthrough Christian Center, as well as pastor Rumen from Gabrovo and other guests, were able to take part in this occasion. You can also see a picture of the Prayer Center from a drone.

For Men Only: New Resolute Cohort Launch Invitation March 30th!

About a year ago my friend Jeff Hagen shared with me that he is now working with Resolute – a new ministry founded by Vince Miller. Vince is also the creator of the one-year curriculum which is the backbone of Resolute.

I jumped into this because I began to recognise already a few years ago, that there is a huge problem in today’s Christianity. I would say this may even be “the” problem that sets off many other problems in the world today – namely: the failure of men to rise up to call of godly manhood which comes from God Himself.

Here’s some of what I hear from men as we talk about these things:

  • What does godly manhood look like?
  • Is it even in the Bible?
  • How does this work in my life with so much going on between work, family and other duties in life?
  • Why does it seem like today’s culture is on a war path with the Biblical notion of manhood, marriage, family, fatherhood, singleness, etc.?
  • What about sexuality and godly manhood?

Resolute doesn’t shy away from addressing these and many other issues relevant to Christian men who desire to live a more meaningful spiritual life. As I approach 50, I can write a book about all the ways I think I have failed this call to godly manhood myself.

As I approach 50, I can write a book about all the ways I think I have failed this call to godly manhood myself.

(Come to think of it, each one of us can probably write a similar book as well.)

But there’s a better way to process failures – we can learn from them, and we can do better for the rest of the time we have on this planet!

Resolute is a one year program that can help towards such goal.

But more that this – it’s a good way to create the environment and to bring forth the biblical teaching necessary to fuse spirituality and manhood in a meaningful discourse and experience. As I stepped out in faith and began to attend week after week with a dozen other men, most of whom I had never met before in my life, I wasn’t quite ready for the impact this will have on me.

Resolute, under the skilful, disciplined and well-executed leadership of Jeff Hagen, provided an important baseline of teaching, time shared with other men on a weekly basis, and an opportunity to hear from them what God is showing them.

Good things have come out of my participation in the Resolute Cohort:

  • A fresh new perspective of Scripture from the standpoint of manhood and spirituality.
  • New appreciation for the Body of Christ in how Christ speaks through men when they are encouraged and affirmed as men of God.
  • Valuable friendships I look forward to expanding and nurturing to the glory of God.

Here’s also some feedback from Matt, one of the men in our cohort, who has been such a blessing to get to know in the process:

Matt, Resolute Alumni

“Resolute has helped me become more knowledgeable of the word of God. The format of the meetings was extremely conducive to discussions of great depth of the passage that was reviewed. Jeff’s knowledge of the Bible was extremely helpful in understanding the background of the passages, along with the culture of the time. Together this was very helpful in gaining a deeper understanding of the meaning of the passages. Many time I left the meetings and continued to think about the passages all week long. These discussions with the differing opinions have helped me become a better disciple and closer to God. Resolute has also helped me make some great friends that I hope to stay in contact with for many years. I am extremely grateful for the experience that Resolute has given me.”

I hope all of the above helps you get an idea about how positive I feel about Resolute and its goal to help men become better discipled for Christ and this – become better men in this world.

I am thrilled to share with you that on March 30th, Lord willing, l am launching a brand new Cohort, which Cohort I will lead with the support of a Resolute team that shares the vision to disciple men for Christ and His Kingdom. I’m thrilled that this will be a team effort!

If you live in the Twin Cities, I want to challenge you to get out of your “comfort zone” and join us at the launch meeting on March 30th! You will meet other men who are also interested in how to grow as disciples of Christ and as men. You will be able to ask questions and ultimately – to become part of a year of learning, challenging and spiritual recharging which might launch you into who knows what else the Lord has prepared for you next! Cohort membership is $20/m – I will help you understand what this includes and how you can best utilise what your membership offers.

This is also a great way to become prepared and equipped to launch a Resolute Cohort of your own a year later and to impact the lives of men you know and you want to see do well for Christ & His Kingdom.

Here’s a picture I snapped of the last meeting of our Cohort:

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Here’s little more about Resolute:

  • some 600 men have graduated the one-year discipleship process in the last 3 years!
  • Resolute now has the training in an interactive video format. 48 sessions, 90 minutes, a 1-year curriculum.
  • Here is a quick overview by Vince Miller, the author of the Curriculum

Three videos that might help you get even better understanding of Resolute:

New Cohort Launch Info

On March 30th at 6:30 am we will meet at Bobby and Steve’s board room in Eden Prairie:

Address:

Bobby & Steve’s Auto World

8100 Flying Cloud Dr, Eden Prairie, MN 55344

https://goo.gl/maps/rZ64Y7JSzuo

Please click on the link below to confirm joining us for the launch of the new Resolute Cohort and post any thoughts, comments and questions about it, using the scheduling app Doodle: https://doodle.com/poll/g246fncg2chm74wp

Thank you & God bless!

George Bakalov

An update from Minnesota – exciting new development!

After many years of wandering around, looking for a great place to pray from, just recently I able to connect with the amazing team at the Historic Wesley Center in Minneapolis and inquire whether we can move in and use this great place. The board just approved it and today we actually moved in! In fact, I’m posting this very update from the new place, check out the video and become part of this exciting development!

My daughter Emilie was able to come and help me clean up the room we will be using.

To help us cover the cost, you can donate here. US donors will receive a tax-deductible receipt.

George

Philippines Ministry Trip

May 11, 2015
   

 Here I am in a small plane with my buddy Chris, (to how many places around the world have we been together now, Chris?) approaching Masbate – one of Philippines’ 7,000 islands, home to some 85,000 people.
We’re coming here trusting the leadership of pastor Roy.
Why do I trust pastor Roy? Because I trust God in pastor Roy, I trust Roy’s heart for the Lord, I trust God has raised up Roy to bring Jesus’ rule and reign to many Philippines. 
It’s because this man, in his own way is another Manny Pacquiao – even if the arena is not the boxing ring and even if pastor Roy hasn’t earned millions of dollars for fighting the fights God has gotten him involved in.
Still, pastor Roy who was living in the streets of Manila Metro at one point in his life, feels like he’s a fighter called by God to fight for the people in the slums.
“When I tell them where I came from and what God has done for me, they listen to me,” says Roy in his very good English but with his unique Philippine accent. 
His vision is bigger than the helping rescue kids from the misery of the slums of Manila.

He realizes the Gospel is for all people, everywhere, all the time. 
Which brings us to Masbate. It’s where pastor Roy felt the Lord lead him to plant a new work and build a base.
We’re here to learn, listen to him, observe, pray, hear from the Lord and minister together with him to small towns and individual families. We’re unable to do God’s work on our own. Together, everyone flowing in their unique gift mixes and strengths, nothing can stop us! We can make a difference – even in places as remote as Masbate! 

Hope amidst the garbage

Original post date: May 10, 2015

It’s Sunday morning in Manila and the weather is beautiful. Our cabbie drives up to the front of the hotel and we jump into it, wasting no time.

“You’re about to start feeling very grateful for everything you have”, tells me quietly my companion and friend Chris Heinz as we approach Tondo, a district of Manila Metro, known for its slums and one of the most densely and poor areas on the planet.

Chris should know.

Few years ago he and his wife Colette adopted Rex, an amazing 4 year old boy from the Philippines. Couple years later they adopted another Philippine boy – Asher.

Together with their natural born daughter Asia, they make quite a family. It’s like “INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS” is written all over them, regardless of which one of the their family pictures Chris is produly showing me as he browses through them on his phone. An amazing testimony for what God’s love can do in and through people who are fully after His heart.

The whole Heinz family visited the slums in Tondo few years ago after adopting Rex. “It was very hard for Rex and also for Asia to see all this poverty”, tells me Chris.

Even though I’ve seen similar types of poverty, particularly amongst the Gypsies in Bulgaria, as well as in Addis Ababa and other places I have traveled to in the last 15 years, it’s hard for me, too. It’s hard to accept the idea there’s so much advancement in some countries and yet so much poverty in others.

The taxi enters the slum area, bumping along deep into the district. We finally make it to the very end of the road, and we stop.

The church meets in a building painted in green, which looks distinctly better in comparison to everything else around. Once we enter, the difference is seen even better. Tiled floors and a sense of cleanness mark this facility, setting it apart as a sort of a phenomenon, given the shape, looks and smell of just about everything else around us.

The people inside also look…well, normal.

A group of older men are in the front two rows.

“These men are all professional scavengers”, tells me pastor Roy in English. “They pick up plastic bottles and push them out of here in their carts, to be sold to the recycling brokers. This is how they feed their families.”

The way he speaks of these men is very respectful. But his goal is to earn the trust of the parents by feeding their kids and providing them with other basic thigns for their needs. Ultimately, he believes the best course of action is to get the kids out of the slums and give them a chance at life by bringing them to a boarding school, and providing them with education.

“This is a miserable place”, says Roy. Yet he and his wife have adopted two kids from the slums and take care of them, in addition to their own two biological kids.

To understand better this pastor and his mission, you need to know a bit more about his own story.

“I used to be like these kids, living on the streets,” says Roy and points to some butt-naked kids wandering aimlessly by the roadside.

I listen to him fascinated, realizing if miracles are still happening in our world today, I’m talking to one right now.

“I used to live on the street, too. I used to commit robberies, living without purpose”.

Roy’s parents abandoned him at an early age and became glue-sniffing street junkies. They separated, each going their own way, each marrying another person and abandoning Roy.

Roy got adopted by a Christian woman and heard about Jesus at the church she used to go to.

“Everything changed when I heard about Jesus. I got a brand new start, a new way of thinking and living”, says Roy.

He became active in the church and the pastor let him work with the youth as a teenager. The youth group grew. Eventually Roy graduated high school, went to a 4 year seminary, earning a bachelor’s degree in theology.

But after he married his wife Evelyn, he was told by the church is no longer eligible to receive aid and he started to earn living in all kinds of ways, including catching and selling fish and crab meat, as well as making charcoal and selling it.

Twenty years passed. Roy and Evelyn kept preaching while earning living in other ways.

And then six years ago he connected with George Bakalov Ministries through our web site. When I got the inquiry, I wasn’t sure how real Roy was. In fact, I was quite skeptical since at that time I was getting all sorts of requests from churches and ministries in poor nations from all over the world.

I forwarded the email to my friend Chris and asked him to get in touch with Roy and investigate further. Which he did. Not only that, but soon thereafter the Heinz family met with pastor Roy as they connected deeper with the Philippines and went through 2 adoptions of boys from the the struggling nation.

This is only my first time to be here but I know it won’t be the last. There’s hope amidst the garbage in the slums of Manila, in the Philippines, with people like pastor Roy and his crew involved.

To learn more about this project and how you can get involved, click here to start giving immediately or get in touch with our team if you have more questions.
George Bakalov