The Awtreys are pioneering a Free Will Baptist church planting movement in Bulgaria. They work with other members of the Bulgaria team to establish a healthy network of Free Will Baptist churches throughout Bulgaria.
Tim grew up in a Free Will Baptist home and church in California, where he dedicated his life to Christ at an early age. His early biblical training came through his father and grandfather, both of whom were Sunday school teachers. Much of his later growth came through his involvement with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as an undergraduate student at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Lydia grew up in Bulgaria within the confines of Communism. Neither she nor her parents had the opportunity to hear the Good News under Communist oppression. It was in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall that Lydia, at the age of 18, first had the opportunity to hear about Jesus and to read the Bible. The dramatic change brought about by the truth of the gospel in the lives of her friends led to her to attend a small, Christian church in Bulgaria and give her life to Christ.
Lydia and Tim met in Bulgaria while both were involved in Christian college ministry through the Bulgarian Christian Student Union. Lydia led several small group Bible studies with believers and evangelistic Bible studies with non-believers in Svishtov. Tim traveled throughout the country helping pioneer new student groups in various towns. Their work highlighted the desperate need for healthy churches in Bulgaria. Tim and Lydia returned to the United States in 1998 to receive biblical training in church planting. Tim graduated from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary with an M. Div. and a Th.M. in Biblical Studies. Meanwhile, Lydia had a much more difficult challenge—raising their two children, Yanna and Alex.
Lydia and Tim have two children whom they consider important members of the Bulgaria team. Yanna is a senior in high school and Alex is in eighth grade.
Last Update March 22, 2017
- Please pray for the many events we have over the next few months. Pray that many non-believers will attend and for God to touch the hearts of those that do not yet know Him at the retreat.
- Pray that Lydia and I will find moments of peace in the storm. I don’t know how many pastors every year burn out or burn up, but it’s probably a high number. Please pray that as we care for others that God will give us rest; even rest while we serve.
- Pray that God would send more missionaries and raise up Bulgarians to serve in the church.
- Please pray for continued maturity and faithfulness as many are new believers.
- Pray for the economic situation in Svishtov. Due to a lack of jobs many people are leaving town to find work elsewhere. We have already had several families leave the church because they are going elsewhere for employment.
- Pray that we can make a breakthrough with reaching out to men in the community. Many women are attending church, but their husbands do not. Pray that we can find a way to reach out to me in Svishtov.
- There are several individuals and families that want to attend church, but because of pressure from relatives they have stopped attending. Pray that God would give them the courage to choose Jesus over the opinions of family members.
- Leadership – Please pray that God will raise up a faithful person to pastor the New Life Church in Svishtov and evangelists who will start new churches throughout northern Bulgaria.
- Ask God to prepare the spiritual soil of the hearts of people in Svishtov. Pray words of hope and forgiveness will ring true.
updated September 15, 2018