Trif and Vanya were appointed to join the Bulgaria team in April 2014. The Bulgarian couple is planting a church in Varna, a city on the Black Sea. Their efforts focus on engaging the atheistic population through seminars, events that revolve around national holidays, and the innovative Bread House (bread-making classes featuring discussion about the Bread of Life).
Raised in communist Bulgaria, Trif and Vanya lived as atheists.
Trif encountered the gospel through other students while studying English literature at Veliko Turnovo University. His roommate was a Christian who introduced him to the Bible. Trif began attending a small Bible study and quickly accepted Christ as Savior.
Vanya grew up heavily indoctrinated by communism and served in Komsomol, a communist youth organization. While in high school, Vanya was invited to attend a large evangelistic event and gave her life to Christ. After graduation, Vanya pursued a history major at Veliko Turnovo.
The couple met at a church service while attending college and married in 1993. In 1995, Trif graduated with his B.A. in English literature and Vanya graduated with her B.A. in History.
While at the university, Trif and Vanya became heavily involved in student ministry. Trif worked with Tim Awtrey and another expatriate missionary to begin the first student-led Bible study in the town. This led to a 20-year ministry with the Bulgarian Christian Student Union (BCSU). The couple worked to establish new student-led groups in colleges and universities around the country. They focused on the discipleship and development of student leaders.
Meanwhile, they continued their education. Trif received a bachelor’s in theology (2009) and a master’s in American literature and culture (1996). Vanya obtained her master’s in history and geography (1996) as well as in library science (1996).
They moved to Varna, using the city as a base from which they continued to work with BCSU. Trif served on the board of BCSU, eventually also serving as the general secretary, and worked as a youth leader in a local church. Vanya taught history and geography in a private high school, worked as a wedding and party planner, and joined her husband in youth ministry.
Trif and Vanya sensed it was time to pass the baton of student ministry to younger workers and begin working as church planters. The Awtreys’ invited them to partner in planting Free Will Baptist churches. With board approval, they joined the effort to plant churches with strong discipleship training.
Trif and Vanya have three children: Deborah (1997), Monica (1999), and Stefan (2002).
Last update: April 15, 2015