For Petya Valcheva, an underwriting manager for a life insurance company in Sofia, Bulgaria, being different from her peers is her greatest tool in sharing the Gospel.
Sofia is a modern European city with a population of over one million people. More than three-quarters of Bulgarians identify as Eastern Orthodox Christians, and much of the population is solidly middle class. Much like other Western cultures, ending Gospel poverty in Bulgaria is a nuanced endeavor, requiring close personal relationships and repeated intentional conversations.
“Most Bulgarians define themselves as Christians, but without a real relationship with Jesus,” Petya says. “I strongly believe in the power of prayer and the perfect guidance of the Holy Spirit in my interactions with people who do not know Jesus. I pray for open doors for sharing my faith and use every opportunity to declare the truth from the Word of God — not any other truth — in different situations in people’s lives.”
Astrological signs, or zodiac signs, are wildly popular in Petya’s circles. In astrology, each person is assigned a sign of the zodiac according to their birth date, and these signs are supposed to predict personality patterns.
“When I meet a new person, almost every time, I hear the question ‘What is your zodiac sign?’ Petya says. “My answer is always the same, ‘Well, I do not believe in zodiac signs, for I am a Christian.’”
Petya uses this answer not to shame her friends, but to spark curiosity in them. Why would Christianity conflict with zodiac signs?
“Last time I said this, a new colleague of mine showed real interest and told me, ‘Please, tell me more,’” she says. “I was able to share more about Jesus and declare my faith uncompromisingly. She did not make a commitment, but I believe that the seed of the Word is sown in her life.”
Written by Jill Clair Gentry