Galloways in Bulgaria

The Galloway family are selling all they own (or giving away) and packing 2 suitcases apiece to follow God's calling to Bulgaria. The two parents, 3 teenagers, and one young one are leaving Oct. 7, 2011 on an adventure of a life time. Follow as we leave American culture and comforts and travel over 5,000 miles to a country full of tradition and beauty. May God be glorified as others follow our "Adventures of Faith!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

Priorities Part 2

From the other day's post on priorities, I am today leading into specific priorities like time, giving, love, etc.
You know, of course, that I am a missionary, so therefore I base what I believe on the Bible.  I try not to have preconceived ideas to cloud my viewpoints, only what I think the Word is saying to me.  I love actually reading the Word and see how we as Christians, through religion or whatever, have messed up over time.  I think I enjoy doing this mostly because I was raised in a somewhat religious home and church and went through confirmation at 12, but never had a relationship with Christ until I was 22.  When I read the Bible for the first time, I was amazed at what it said and kept repeating, "How come I didn't know this?"  or "Are other people reading the same thing I am?"  Maybe some people go to church or do religious acts all their lives and never study scripture.  Maybe that's why the church is in the mess we are in.  Anyway, just my opinion and some background on that....
So that brings me to my topic for today.  Giving and the priorities the Bible puts on it and where it should go.  When I studied this topic, I wanted to be sure that my resources were going where God says to put them and where God says the leaders should put them...according to priority.
1)  Give to the Poor-  There are many scriptures about giving that begin as early as Cain and Abel bringing their sacrifice to God, then to Abraham bringing his tithe to Melchizedek.  When God told Abraham that he would be blessed to BE a blessing.  As a worldwide church, I believe we have done well giving to the poor, but we could do much better.  I believe God gave the responsibility to the church to take care of the poor, but when the church's responsibilities get out of order, there are issues and problems.  When there are issues and problems, the government or other institutions have to step in where the church is failing in their priorities.  When America was a new nation, the church was involved if not in charge of schools (small community ones up to universities), but they have since let the government take charge, the church was the leader in many hospitals and taking care of the sick, and we have also let go and let the government take care of the poor.  God gave those to us to care for, and we have handed it off.  The church is so concerned with buildings, when God cares for people. Just some references to refer to if you would like to do some study...(Rom. 15:25-27, Rom. 12:13, Acts 11:27-30, Acts 20:35, Acts 6:1, Gal. 2:9-10, I Cor. 16:1, II Cor. 8 and 9, I Tim. 6:18, Lev. 25:35, Deut. 15:7-11, Ps 41:1-3, Prov. 14:21, Prov. 19:17, Prov. 22:9, Prov. 28:27, Heb 6:10, I John 3:17, Acts 2:44-45 and Acts 4:34-37)  Giving is an overflow to the generosity and gratefulness that we have inside.  If we are missing this generosity and gratefulness, giving will be a law rather than a love.
2) Gifts to ministers- From the OT to the new, we see that the ministers had to live off others generosity in order to minister full time.  They didn't own land or have inheritances to give their descendants, they lived in constant reliance on God and the people of God.  They weren't intended to be uber wealthy, but to live sacrificially, but comfortably. (I Cor. 9:7-14, Gal. 6:6, I Tim. 5:17-18, Deut. 14:27:29, II Chron. 31:4-20, Phil. 4:10-19, Acts 15:3, Acts 21:5, Rom. 15:24, II Cor. 1:16)  There is something about a preacher/missionary living in a mansion with the poor living all around that doesn't seem quite right, as there is also something not quite right with a preacher/missionary living in poverty that is also a wrong witness (that they are not being cared for by God or His people).  I thank God everyday that we have people that support the work we do.  That we live comfortably and our needs are met each month.
3) Give to missions- The missionaries could fall into the ministers category, but they could be separated.  Paul himself was a minister and missionary.  The minister himself needs to be provided for, and also the work he/she is doing.  They are different categories.  He sometimes took offering for himself, and from others he didn't want their offerings.  He was a tent maker and could support himself.  (Rom. 10:15, 3 John 6)  Many circumstances missionaries are not allowed to work to make money in the countries they are in, so funds must come from those who are doing the sending.
4) the Temple/Facilities- God set aside offerings to build His house in the OT (Ex 25:1-8) and a tax to help maintain the temple (Ex. 30:11-16).  In most of the NT, the believers were more concerned with people and the poor than buildings it seems to me.  Not that it is wrong to have a nice church building by any means, but remember, when our priorities are out of order, as we saw in yesterday's blog, things can get out of order and cause major problems.  Especially when mindsets are continued over long periods of time.  I see the church (being American I see mostly this philosophy there, but American church philosophies carry over to the rest of the world, believe it or not).  We are in Roma/Bulgarian churches now and most of what we hear are needs for buildings, not people.  It's sad to me... we are not an OT church, we are a NT church.
I love it when churches are about people, when they love people and meet needs (physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, financially, and, of course, spiritually).

Monday, December 16, 2013

PRIORITIES

Priorities are very important in life.  I know I have learned a set of priorities that help keep my life in good working order and when those priorities get out of order, I find trouble...or trouble finds me.  I was taught, and live by these order of priorities in order of importance.  It has always kept me grounded and kept my life working quite well.
1)  God- keeping Him as first priority keeps my life full of love, purpose, and guidelines that keep me grounded and driven.
2)  Self and Family-  Love yourself so you can love others.  My family are my love in action.  They are where I love to give and sow purpose into and help pass on to the next generation what I've have learned and to encourage to love God, and also have purpose.
3)  Ministry/Work-  I also love to put my hands to work.  Work for the Lord, work for people, work to make a difference.  We all work at something that we want to make a difference in this world and something that gives us purpose.  This kind of work is so fulfilling.  Even if you have a job that you have to go to to earn a living that doesn't fulfill the sense of purpose you need, get involved in church, group, or place to give of yourself.  Put you faith in action.  Fellowship with others to encourage one another to be better and to give more of yourselves.
When these priorities get out of order...then chaos or trouble arrises.  If we make ourselves #1 then we make ourselves as gods and become consumed with ourselves only.  No one wants to be around that type of person very long.
If we make our husband or children #1, then we can elevate our children as gods in our life.  (I've actually seen this before having been a teacher for 11 years.)  We think we are doing good and giving love, when in reality we are creating little monsters that believe that the sun and moon should rise and set with them and have no sense of reality (the real world).
Being in ministry, we have also been tempted at some points to put ministry up before its place.  We all know the old stereotype of preacher's kids.  Sometimes preachers can put ministry as #1 or even #2 before family.  This in turn causes kids to act out in order to get the attention in priority they can feel they are due.
I'm sure you can come up with more examples of how a life out of order can be lived in many families and know the problems it can cause.  I thank the Lord everyday for bringing this knowledge to my attention years ago and keeping me in order.  We have not always been perfect, but we know when they get out of line, and we have some things to change.
Tomorrow part 2 of priorities...we talked about life priorities (that cover the big picture of life), but tomorrow I will share my thoughts on individualized priorities.   

Living for the Resurrection

We all know that in life there are consequences.  There is sowing and there is reaping.  It is just part of the world in which we live.  If we eat too much, we will get fat.  If we don't pay our bills, someone will come looking for us or our services will be cut off.  If we eat right and exercise we will loose weight, if we pay our bills we get to enjoy the services for another month.  It's just the way things are.
We try to teach our children these truths in order to save them from hurt or heartache in the future, but it is something we all must face and recognize as truth.  We may ignore these facts, or "do nothing", but the consequences of ignoring them or "doing nothing" still come regardless of whether we want them to or not.
My children have school deadlines.  I say every day, "Are you doing the most of what you can today to make sure things are done when this certain day/deadline is here?"  Many times they put things off/ do nothing until they are under extreme pressure to get it done.  It's as if they are unsure or think if they ignore this certain deadline that it will not be so.  Until it gets so close that they panic and have to overcompensate and put themselves under extreme stress and pressure.
Many people plan for tomorrow or for their future in this world with retirement funds, 401ks, life insurance, etc.  They plan today for a future that they know will be a certainty.  They will stop working and there will come a day when they will not be here, therefore they make plans to take care of their loved ones when they are gone.  
But how much of a reality do we give to our eternity and to the plans of reality that lay after death?  I studied today I Cor 15 and it talked about the resurrection.  How our faith hinges on the resurrection of Christ and our own future resurrection.  How Paul lived every day "in the resurrection".  
Are we conscious every day of the resurrection?  The Bible says we are either living for the resurrection or not.  We either live in the present like we know the future or we are living in the present with no knowledge, hope, or understanding of the future.
If we are living for the resurrection, we live with purpose every day according to the future we know will come.   We are purposing ourselves for eternity.  We give all of these purposeful plans to retirement and our future here on earth, but give little regard to planning for our eternal future.  How much of a reality is your eternal future to you that it would impact your every day, every minute present plans?
How should we be living in the present when the future of a resurrection is certain to us?  We are to be witnesses and share this certainty of the future with others.  We are to love the One that gives us this ZOE life and love others.  
Do know, if we live in this party, "do nothing", mode and believe that our eternal future there will be no consequences we may be ignoring the obvious, or hiding in our ignorance or telling ourselves great lies in order to do as we may, but as with all things in the world, the day of consequence will come.  The deadline as it may.  There are always consequences...ALWAYS.
Live today in the present with a certainty of the resurrection.  Live today and be purposeful.  Being conscious of the resurrection purposes your present.  Gives you a hope for the future instead of dread.

Thursday, January 31, 2013


We can't explain in words why we love Bulgaria so much other than to say that God dropped His great, unfailing, and precious love for the people here into our hearts.  It is such an interesting place that is changing in many ways, but in so many other ways, they are very tied to how they have always done things.  

Across the cultural divide between young and old there is much difference.  The older generation only knew communism and the old ways of thinking, the iron fist of leadership says not to have ideals different from how the government/leadership says it should be.  They still turn their yards into gardens for their livelihood and jar and can what they have grown for the winter and live very simply.  90% of the housing is old block housing and individual homes that need lots of attention.  

The younger generation love to watch American movies and MTV and believe all of America dresses and acts like that.  Therefore, they emulate the things they see.  It has become a young generation strongly desiring western culture and materialism.  This stark contrast in the social generations is also reflected in the architecture.  In the capital you can find modern buildings and malls with Starbucks and Gap, but most of the country's buildings look like the ones pictured above.  It is an exciting time to be a part of the changes happening here in Bulgaria.  Holding onto culture, but embracing new ways of thinking.

One of my favorite quotes from a movie titled "Sweet Home Alabama" is:  "You can have roots and wings."  It is great to remember your culture and ancestry, but also to have wings to soar into new ideals and growth.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hope


Almost twenty years ago Dee Dee and I started dreaming about travels we would be doing as a couple during our marriage.  We would share with each other different places from all around the world and most of the places were different except for one place, Scotland.  Being a Galloway whose family came to the United States in the late 1700’s from Scotland, we have documented history of a Galloway dying in Scotland around 1100 in Edinburgh.  We also discovered early in our marriage that the Dee River ran through the region of Galloway in Scotland.  Dee Dee started making the statement that one day she would stand on the Dee River in Galloway and take a picture.  After many children and lots of financial losses through the years it seemed we would never see this event ever happen in our lifetime.  This did not stop Dee Dee from saying that one day she was going to take a picture on the Dee River in Galloway.  After becoming missionaries in Bulgaria I never imagined that Dee Dee’s dream would ever come true.  Then by a miracle, from a grant to attend a minister’s conference in Birmingham, England, Dee Dee got to experience her dream.  I now recall that she keep saying I’m going to have my picture taken on the Dee river in Galloway and I started picturing her standing beside the river taking a picture.  When I snapped the picture this week of her at the river, God did it better than I had imagined, Dee Dee was standing the Dee bridge on top of the Dee River in Galloway.  So what is this simple lesson, Hebrews 11:1 now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  I want to focus on the word hope, without hope, faith could not be the substance.  Hope is the ability to imagine or visualize something in your mind, like the picture of Dee Dee standing by the Dee River.  After years of confessing and believing, with hope, this dream finally came true.  It did not just happen, it was first hoped for, then a picture was formed in her mind twenty years ago, and then God did more than we could have imagined.  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  Ps. 37:4

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It is What it is (some random thoughts)


We have been living in Bulgaria for some time and the Galloway family has a saying… “It Is What It Is”.  I cannot remember when we originally began saying it or how it became a part of our everyday lives, but it is now what we say when things happen here in Bulgaria that are the way they are.  It is how we cope with the different way of doing things.
My son says it is an Alabama saying, but I have heard it here in Bulgaria and from other Americans also, so who knows.  We realize that when you encounter a different culture it will not be the same as the culture that you are used to.  We have to embrace the differences and realize that it is not better or worse, it is just different.  Here are some differences:
       
 Driving and Roads:
     Every two-lane road is actually a three-lane road (pass at your own risk). There are pot holes in the road that will damage your car.  There are some big potholes!  We call them pot graves because some you could bury a person in. The Police are constantly pulling people over to the side of road for “inspection”. You park your car wherever there is some space (middle of road, sidewalk, etc.) There is no warning about workers ahead…pay attention.
           
·      Beaches
  The sand is very different from Gulf Coast beaches….coarser.
   Some topless and completely nude people…ages 2 to 80.
           
·      Food
   You cannot find a rib eye steak or any other steak for that matter!
   All the restaurant menus are the same.
   Best vegetable and fruits I’ve ever had in my life.

·      People
   Eastern Europeans are very family oriented.
   Public urination is not against the law.
  Women will clean the urinal next to you while you are doing your business.
   Some bathrooms are equipped with a hole in the ground only.
   Eastern Europeans will use a tool until it is absolutely broken and will use anything to       get the job done.

We have enjoyed getting to experience life from a different perspective.  Eastern Europe is a fascinating place; it has a lot of beauty and history.  Growing up in America we heard a lot about Greece and Italy, but because the Ottoman and Communist governments hid Bulgaria from us, we did not realize all the history and beauty here.  We enjoy getting to unfold and learn all about this hidden treasure of a country and learning all of the differences of how things are done and of course we continue to say, “It is what it is”.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear



For years I have been trying to understand a certain passage in the Bible. The verse is:
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
I have listened to many pastors, teachers, evangelist, and instructors. I have read many opinions on this subject, also studied the Bible, and meditated the verses dealing with love. But in my life I have had doubts, unbelief and placed myself under condemnation in some way, which opens the door to fear. We all know that fear does have punishment that comes with it, in the form of torment. I am not unfamiliar with love; I know God loved us so much He sent His Son. God introduce me to my wife (the love of my life) and we have four kids that I love with all my heart. God saved my wife from cancer by His love. Also God has saved me hundreds of times in my lifetime. I was a “chance” in a million to even be born (hence the name Chance) and I am alive and well today doing missionary work in Bulgaria. I still struggled with this verse in understanding the full meaning of “no fear in love”, that is, until yesterday.
I am the type person that God has to occasionally hit over the head with a 2x4 to get my attention. Yesterday God showed me what love is about in His unique way concerning me (no 2X4 this time). Dee Dee and I took a friend and his family to visit his mother. When we arrived at the home for women in the mountains, several women came running to the front gate to greet my friend. One of the caretakers came to the gate and was informed he wanted to see his mother. We were going to take her and have a picnic under the apple tree beside the home. While this is going on Dee Dee and I were sitting in the car waiting and then I noticed the caretaker escorting an elderly lady. All of a sudden the elderly lady stopped, the caretaker starting pulling the elderly lady. The elderly lady sat on the ground, the caretaker started dragging her, and then the elderly lady pulled away from the caretaker in absolute fear, hiding in some bushes. The caretaker walked up to the gate and let my friend in the front gate, at the same time the elderly lady crawled out from under the bushes and was sprinting away in the opposite direction of the caretaker. Then my friend starting calling, “Momma, momma!”  At this point the elderly lady saw her son and came running….all of her doubts, unbelief and fears were gone…she was running to her son. After kissing and hugging her son in an unbelievable embrace, Dee Dee and I wiped the tears from our eyes and looked at each other and said, “Love casts out fear”!
When we start learning how much God loves us and realize that He cares for us, we can start to walk in that love. We have to start by getting to know God, and knowing that He is the God of love.  To run to His perfect, loving embrace and let it cast all of our fears away.

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