Currently on stateside assignment, the Provows lived and served in Svishtov, Bulgaria, until November 2017. When they return to Bulgaria, the family will relocate to Shumen, the tenth largest city in Bulgaria. Working with Bulgarian teammate Radostin Tsvetkov, they plan to plant churches in Shumen and the surrounding villages. They especially hope to impact the minority ethnic population.
The couple’s passion is discipleship and developing local church leaders.
Josh grew up in a Christian family, with church an ever-present part of his life. As an eight-year-old, he accepted Christ as his Savior at church camp. In middle school, Josh answered the call to missionary service. Growing up in Coppermines FWB Church in Missouri, he benefitted from solid, biblical teaching and the mentorship of his pastor, Darin Alvis. He and his best friend led a small group Bible study for other teens during his high school years. Josh participated in E-TEAM (Panama, Russia, and Hokkaido) the summers of 2004-2006 and says these experiences made a lasting impact on his spiritual life. In 2007, as a college freshman, he was a member of CMP Kazakhstan.
Lydia accepted Christ as a four-year-old at a New Year’s Eve youth event and felt the call to missions within a few years. Raised in a pastor’s home, she often had an opportunity to help in ministry. During her high school years, she participated in two youth group trips to Mexico. During this time, she says her childhood dream of sharing the gospel in another culture became a passion.
Both Josh and Lydia graduated from Welch College. Josh earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Missions in 2010 and Lydia earned an A.A. in Christian Ministry and Missions. They married in January 2008.
While in college, Josh served in two Nashville churches in various capacities—Sunday school teacher and deacon. After graduation from Welch, the family moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Josh attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. While there, he served a local church as Wednesday night youth group leader. He was invited to pastor the First Free Will Baptist Church of Weatherford, Texas, in 2011. The family remained in ministry at the church until their deputation ministry made it necessary to resign.
Josh and Lydia were approved for a two-year overseas internship with an unspecified destination in April 2013. Certain of the call to serve God overseas, the Provows expressed their desire to minister where needed most. A few options were presented and, after much prayer and conversation with current missionaries, the couple was appointed to serve in Bulgaria in July 2013. They lived in Missouri while raising prayer and financial support, and awaiting visa approval. The family departed for Bulgaria June 30, 2015.
After their arrival, the family of six integrated into the day-to-day life and culture of their small city as they served in the New Life Free Will Baptist Church.The couple studied the Bulgarian language with a tutor on a weekly basis. Initially, they worked with the Awtreys and Postlewaites.
However, when the Awtreys were on stateside assignment and the Postlewaites moved to begin a new work in another town, Josh preached at the Svishtov church and Lydia led the women’s ministry. They also led a weekly Bible study in their home and participated in hosting four weekly English clubs for various age groups. Josh initiated a weekly Bible study for English-speakers in the nearby village of Butovo. He hopes to see this expand to a church that reaches the Bulgarian population of the town. The group is currently led by their Bulgarian teammate Radostin.
They have three daughters: Naomi born December 18, Phoebe born June 2, and Zoe, born January 31. The Provows’ son Malachi was born May 11.
Josh—Coppermines Free Will Baptist, Fredericktown, Missouri
Lydia—Bethel Free Will Baptist, Ashland City, Tennessee
Updated November 14, 2017
Updated September 4, 2018
Praise God that on July 13th, we closed on a house in Shumen! After renovation, this house will be an ideal home for our family and meeting place for a house church.
Please pray that we will have all needed permits, so that builders can start renovating the house around mid October. If the house is going to be finished in a timely manner, then all of the outside work will have to be done before winter sets in.
Please pray for us as we begin learning the Turkish language. While most Turks in Bulgaria speak Bulgarian, learning Turkish will be a critical part of planting churches among this unreached people group. We have a potential language tutor who will start working with us in mid September.
Please pray for the group in Butovo. The group continues to meet every week. Josh will travel to Butovo (about 2.5 hours) once a month, in order to encourage the group and lead them in Communion.
Praise God we were granted another year of residency in Bulgaria. Our residency is currently good until August 30th, 2019.
Please pray for The Hanna Project team that is being formed right now. At the end of December a team from the States will come and will help us distribute at least 250 Operation Christmas Child boxes. In each place where we distribute boxes, we will share the gospel and invite families to begin studying the Bible with us.
Please pray for your church-planting team in Bulgaria. Trif and Vanya Trifonov have started a new church in the city of Varna. Jonathan and Amy Postlewaite are working to start a new church in the city of Pleven. And Tim and Lydia Awtrey, who are leading the church in Svishtov.
Most importantly, please pray that the Holy Spirit would do a mighty work in the nation of Bulgaria. Among the Turks only 1/10,000 know Jesus. Please pray that the Lord would go before us, softening hard hearts so that they will be eager to hear the good news of salvation.