The Lovelaces really enjoyed their flights to Sofia. They were able to leave and arrive the same afternoon and there was only a one hour time difference. Oh, the joys of following God’s directions!
Curt and Sandra were met at the airport as well as hosted and transported by the Raykov family. The warm welcome, sacrificial ministrations, and gracious hospitality they offered was a massive encouragement in the midst of a major life change. Of course the energy and joy provided by their delightful children and the support given by their Grandma was a colorful bow atop their gift.
The blessings of the Lord were wrapped up in a two week tour around the entire nation. The first stop was Silistra with a side visit to Rousse. Visits to Varna, Ravda, Bourgas, Kameno, Assenovgrad, and Smolyan took the Lovelaces from northwest to southeast and back to Sofia. Along the way they were hosted by wonderful Bulgarian families: Porumbachanov, Hristov, Mitevi, Petkov, Marinov. It was delightful to meet each one and get to know the parents and their children.
There were two main reasons for this trip: to get to know the larger homeschool community and how they’re coping with the trials they face as home education is considered illegal, and to encourage the parents who, like parents all over the world, want to provide the best foundation and open the most opportunities possible for the next generation. There was a lot of ground to cover and much information to assimilate. There was also an outreach to offer.
Curt and Sandra spoke to small groups that gathered from place to place. Some were spontaneous responses to the news that the Lovelaces were coming. God filled more than one venue that way. Other visits were more intimate, a family or two here or there where tea, coffee, snacks, and meals were offered. Each encounter was bathed in the kindness of a people who know how to make guests feel welcome. Many new friendships were begun and prayers offered up for God’s ongoing care of His people.
One of the surprise meetings God arranged was with the director of a school in Sofia. The topic of discussion was possible ways, within the law, that a school might be able to provide an umbrella situation for homeschool families. The Bulgarian educational system is still undergoing a lot of change since 1989. Private and Christian schools are not well accepted or approved in the governmental scheme of things. Difficulties, fines and closures are common place for them. God oversaw the conversation and provided warm words of mutual respect and understanding. Only He knows the future. Curt and Sandra pray it will include a return visit for them.