The Provows lived and served in Svishtov, Bulgaria, until November 2017. When they returned to Bulgaria, the family relocated to Shumen, the tenth largest city in Bulgaria. 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.
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 April 15, 2019
Updated September 4, 2019
Praise God for the two Bible study groups we have at the moment. Please pray that these groups would grow, that we would be able to start a third group, and that the members of both groups would be active in our Sunday worship gatherings.
Praise God for our friend Sevdi, who recently decided to follow Jesus. Please pray that he would continue growing in his faith and that he would be a light to the people around him.
Praise God for the 47 copies of the New Testament that were recently distributed in the village of Kochovo as a result of an outreach done by a team from Pennsylvania and Missouri. Please pray that people would read them and express a desire to learn more.
Please pray for us as we are learning the Turkish language.
Praise God that our residency was renewed for another year! Our permits are currently valid until August 30, 2020.
Please pray for your church-planting team in Bulgaria. Tim and Lydia Awtrey are leading the church in Svishtov. Trif and Vanya Trifonov lead the work in Varna. Jonathan and Amy Postlewaite have started a new church in the city of Pleven. Karen Delgado was recently approved to work with Trif and Vanya in Varna. And Brenton and Debi Driscoll were recently approved to join our family in Shumen!
Please pray for the next scheduled missions trip to Shumen. The Hanna Project is organizing a team to come to Shumen AND Pleven to distribute hundreds of gifts from Operation Christmas Child. We are praying that both ministry cities would have a team of six people ready to come and serve. We will share the gospel in approximately ten different villages around Shumen. Please consider applying for this trip or supporting someone who is coming. For more information, please visit https://hannaproject.com/where-we-work/projects/shumen-bulgaria-operation-christmas-child-distribution/
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.