AGAPE STUDENT & REFUGEE MINISTRIES
Agape Student & Refugee Ministries Project walks alongside the local church in Plovdiv, Bulgaria as they step into two unique ministry opportunities amongst English-speaking students and Ukrainian refugees. Agape student ministries serve as the only campus ministry to the approximately 3,000 English-speaking students in Plovdiv. Additionally, Agape refugee ministries meet critical physical, psychological, and spiritual needs for some of the nearly 5,000 Ukrainian refugees entering their community.
The goal of this project is to raise $7,058 to support both Agape student and refugee ministries.
Project # 42.30404
Agape Ministries reflects God’s heart for foreigners by creating a sense of home and belonging for both international students and Ukrainian refugees.
Agape student ministries provide a hospitable space for English-speaking students to gather, fellowship, and worship together. Agape programs focus on welcome and evangelism for newcomers, as well as discipleship and leadership development for more invested students. There are men’s groups, women’s groups, and a Christian Student Union- all of which are student led and run!
Agape refugee ministries provide a safe place for Ukrainian refugees to meet together and receive services including language learning, professional counseling (for both adults and children), and kids’ club.
Donations given to the Agape Student & Refugee Ministries project support the local church in paying rent for the spaces where these ministries are held. Their goal is to become self-sustainable as alumni from Agape student ministries begin to give back to this good work.
Bio – Kenneth and Svetlana
Kenneth was born in Cameroon, but would later study in Russia, and also in Ukraine, at Donetsk Christian University.
Svetlana grew up in Donetsk, Ukraine. After becoming a Christian, she decided to learn more about the Christian faith by studying at Donetsk Christian University.
Upon her graduation, Svetlana went as a missionary to Bulgaria, working to reach an ethnic Muslim people group. During this time, she got connected with the Bulgarian Church of God. Meanwhile, Kenneth went as a missionary to Asia, where he would spend three years ministering to young people in the Phillipines.
In 2006, Kenneth joined Svetlana in Bulgaria where they got married and started a family. They have three daughters (born in 2007, 2009 and 2011). As their family began growing, Kenneth & Svetlana entered into a mentoring relationship with former Church of God missionaries, Dave & Kathy Simpson.
In 2009, Kenneth & Svetlana started an English club to minister to Bulgarians who are interested in learning the English language.
Five years later, in 2014, the Plovdiv Medical University began an English-language degree program. As a result, the city received an influx of English-speaking students. Some of these students began attending the Bible study Kenneth & Svetlana had been offering to their English club.
Increasing numbers of students began attending these Bible studies, and they were hungry for an English-language worship service. So, Kenneth & Svetlana started a foundation and officially registered an English-language church affiliate of the Bulgarian Evangelical Church of God. The first service of the Agape Faith United Church was in February 2015.
Even after the Simpsons retired and moved back to America, the Three Worlds missionary team has been involved in walking alongside Kenneth, Svetlana, and the ministry of Agape Faith United.
Over the past 8 years, more and more English-speaking students have come to Plovdiv to study medicine. Kenneth & Svetlana have continued to lead Agape Faith United Church towards reaching these students with the Gospel, and offering them a safe place to worship and grow in their faith.
At the moment, there are about 80 current students who consider themselves members of the Agape Faith United Church.
Additionally, since the war in Ukraine began in February 2022, Kenneth & Svetlana have been actively caring for Ukrainian refugees who have come to Bulgaria. This has been in the form of meeting immediate needs (food, clothing), meeting relational needs through community, meeting psychological/emotional needs through hosting counseling services in the Agape Faith United Church meeting space, and through meeting long-term sustainable needs by teaching the Bulgarian language.
Will you join Global Strategy in preparing a path for the next generation of leaders?
Ways to make a difference
- Online—Visit this link.
- Check—Make checks payable to “Church of God Ministries” and specify “Agape Student & Refugee Ministries – 42.30404”” in the memo line.
For more information, contact Global Strategy Projects at 800.848.2464 or GSProjects@chog.org.