MISSION WITHOUT BORDERS
"Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of people out of poverty into a sustainable future"

Meet Sarkis

Sarkis

MWB Bulgaria's Manager

3/16/2016

"When I was 16 in 1985 I heard the word 'Christ' for the first time," Sarkis Ovanesyan, Mission Without Borders Field Manager in Bulgaria says. "Before then it was forbidden, as under communism, religion and Christ were taboo in Bulgaria. I was given a copy of the Gospel of John and I read it all in one night. When I told my family of my new belief and what I had found, they were worried about me, as they knew I could lose everything."

Sarkis is Armenian, but grew up in Bulgaria after his grandparents fled genocide at the hands of Turkey in 1915.

"My family knew what it was like to be persecuted," he said. "They knew if people found out that I was a Christian my education and chances in life would be cut. They had been held in camps, they had seen people die. My father also worked for the police communist militia, so he knew how people under communism were watched, who informed on who and what happened to those who were caught. In Bulgarian society at the time it was about obeying the regime and submitting to their control.

"I could not help myself though. I wanted to find out my beginning. When I read the first line of the Gospel of John: 'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God', I knew I had found a 'beginning' and that a journey had started for me.

"The underground church at the time would give you the Gospel of John and then if you believed it they would give you the rest of the Bible. While on military service I read more and more and then I gave my life to Christ."

Sarkis went to college and worked as a Civil Engineer in the Baptist Union before studying theology and beginning mission work. For the past eight years he has worked for Mission Without Borders. Now 47, he is married to his wife Marina and they have a young daughter. Based in Sofia, Sarkis and his wife focus their work primarily on the 12 clubs for older people and individuals with disabilities that Mission Without Borders supports in the city. A key part Sarkis' team's work is not only to spread the Gospel in Bulgaria, but also to help communities become self-sufficient.

"There is perfect fertile land in Bulgaria," he says, "which today no one is using because they don't have the tools, don't know how and don't have any hope."

"The Communists wrecked agriculture in this country by building chemical plants and industry. After 1990 everything fell apart. Since then, MWB's role in the country has been to empower and equip the church to rebuild. The project and work being carried out in Krupnik is one way to improve the situation for the vulnerable people we serve. We in Bulgaria want to thank all those who support our work, and we also ask for your prayers as we continue our work in the months and years ahead."