It was a cold winter day of December 1989. It was only weeks after Communism fell in Bulgaria. For a first time I could remember, one of the grocery stores in my town, Veliko Turnovo was selling bananas. My mom had already been waiting in line for an hour and a half when I walked by together with another friend to see what was taking place. Even though it was cold no one was complaining. There were close to 70 people crowded together, talking and stomping with their feet to keep warm. Some of them, including my family and myself were going to taste bananas for a first time. They were so expensive that my mom couldn’t afford to buy more than three. When we finally brought the bananas home, I was so excited, I could hardly wait to eat them. My parents were always very sacrificial, so they took only 2 little slices from one banana and gave me the rest. Three bananas lasted us for a week and a half. I would go and take a little slice at a time, so I could enjoy their taste better.
During those years, my family never celebrated Christmas. Raised under Communism most people didn’t know the truth about Jesus. It was two years later when I accepted the Lord, but my family still didn’t believe in Him. Christmas time came and I wanted to share God’s love with them just like they shared not only those 3 bananas with me, but also everything else they ever bought. I was always first on their mind, but now there was someone else who had them first on His mind!
I prayed that my parents would come to know Jesus, but it wasn’t until several years passed when they invited Him in their hearts! At that time, I was already studying and living in the States.
In 1998 I went back to Bulgaria after finishing my Bible School education. This was the first time in my life when our family had Christmas together. It was like a dream to me to hear my parents say, “Let’s pray and thank God for this food.” It took a few years, after I had prayed for that to happen, but now it was a reality. Seeing them come to church with me and all of us worshiping the Lord together was the best Christmas present I had ever gotten. It tasted better than those three bananas, but this time it wasn’t going to last only for a few days, but for eternity.
Jesus is the greatest gift God gave us. He loved us when we didn’t. He cared for us when we only cared for ourselves!
May you be encouraged to continue to pray for those around you who may not yet know Jesus. The Lord is well able to reach their hearts in ways we cannot imagine and draw them to Himself.
It is my prayer that in this New Year ahead we will find the time to give back to Him our devotion and appreciation for the greatness of His everlasting love.
Written by Ceitci Demirkova
Founder and CEO "Changing a Generation"