Salvation Testimony — How I Came to Faith in Christ
My name is Simeon Krastev. I was born in 1969. I grew up in Bulgaria, which is a country in Eastern Europe. Bulgaria was under a Communist regime from 1945 until 1989. The first time I realized a world beyond our physical reality, I was just five years old. An angel appeared to me. Until then, I had neither heard nor thought about God or the existence of the spiritual world.
Communism was an era of militant atheism. The regime in our country persecuted, jailed, and sometimes even killed believers for their Christian faith. Evangelical Christians feared for their lives and families. Concerned about my future, my mother had forbidden my grandmother to tell me about God or religion.
One night my grandmother, Olga, came to tell us good night and turn off the lights. As soon as she turned the lights off and closed the door, another light rushed into the room. I never had before or after seen such a light. It was so bright that I could almost touch it and feel it. Suddenly the window across the room seemed to disappear, and there stood an angel. I cannot precisely describe him, but I saw his face, and to me, he looked like an 8-12-year-old child. He was dressed all in white. His apparel seemed to merge with the surrounding light.
The angel did not speak to me. He just stood there. It seems that the purpose of his visitation was just to reveal to me that there is another world – invisible, spiritual, and heavenly. Indeed, in those times of atheism and rejection of anything supernatural, that was precisely the message I needed – that not everything is only material but that there is a spiritual world and God.
Spiritual Formation — Positive Influences and Defining Moments of My Christian Walk
When I saw the angel, I was very scared, and I hid under the blanket. I pushed my mother and asked her, “Did you see that?” She said she did not see anything. She calmed me down, and I went to sleep. The following day, my mother and my grandmother asked me what I saw last night. When I told them everything, they realized that God somehow had a divine plan for me. After that experience, things changed. My mother, who had stayed away from Church for a long time, decided to attend Church again. She started to take me with her to every service.
In terms of discipleship, I would say that my grandmother Olga was my first mentor and tutor, even though at that time, I did not recognize her as my mentor. My Grandma Olga was an example that a person does not need to be in a vital position to be a leader and influencer. Her wealth was her relationship with God, and the legacy that she left us was her faith in Him. She abided on the vine. The life-giving sap of the eternal life flowed through her to those who were open to drinking from it.
I have had other mentors in my formative years as a believer, but my grandmother Olga remains my first and most influential spiritual mentor. I can relate that to Timothy’s experience. As a young believer, his grandmother Lois was a mentor to his mother and him.
Going into Ministry
As a missionary and spiritual worker, I see that my life resembles that of Nehemiah. Nehemiah saw a need and opportunity to go and build the wall. I had a similar experience. I was an educated Chemical Engineer who was about to start a carrier. But in my prayers and time in worship before the Lord, I recognized how significant the need for laborers for the Lord’s harvest is. I saw the opportunity to go out and to start building the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I opened my own home for people who wanted to come and have Bible study and worship. In 1990 the senior pastor of a new church plant in our city recognized my gift of teaching and invited me to help him launch the youth ministry in that Church. The Lord began to use me in building, nurturing, and discipling many young people. Many of them are still in Church today. Some are spiritual workers; others are businessmen. We remained good friends and partners in the ministry.
My Current Ministry
In 2010, I launched the ministry of Hope for the Balkans Mission Network. With Hope for the Balkans, we are passionate about fulfilling the Great Commission in our generation. Hope for the Balkans aspires to be a bridge between the United States churches and the Bulgarian churches to expand the kingdom of God through church planting, discipleship multiplication, internet ministry, and offering of the Kairos mission course. Our ministry reaches Bulgaria and goes beyond our borders into Europe.