Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Serious Joy! (Part 4)

The following is Part 4 of my trip report from "Party with the Gypsies 2009," which I'm posting on 6/8, 6/15, 6/22 & 6/29 while traveling to Bulgaria, Greece & Turkey with Global Celebrations again this year. For 12 days, we shared God's Love, food, clothing, music & prayers while reaching out to poor gypsy neighborhoods in 3 countries; Georgian & Winnie Banov also taught a "School of the Cross" missions internship as we traveled "In the Steps of Paul" to historic sites of New Testament Christianity including Philippi, Thessaloniki, Athens, Corinth, Ephesus & Smyrna... Thank you for remembering us all in your prayers!

June 2009 - "Party with the Gypsies" - Itinerary

jumping for joy :)
by the Black Sea
 We flew into Bucharest, Romania, for the sake of a small enclave of gypsies who live near a junkyard there; then drove across the Danube into Bulgaria, stopping at Shumen and Varna, where we stayed our 2nd night. Saturday was a much-needed day of rest (the jet lag was pretty rough at first!) in Nesebar, by the Black Sea - that night we had dinner in Burgas, and boarded the overnight train to Sophia... Sunday was a long drive up to the northwest corner of the country, where we ate Bulgarian pizza before heading into two new villages for outreach, staying overnight in Vidin. In Sophia, we stayed two nights in a row at the same hotel (yay!), visited the boxcar neighborhood near the city (Global Celebrations is looking to buy land to relocate this group), had a half day off for sightseeing, and participated in a festival at Brestnica, which has a growing gypsy church. We fortified ourselves with lunch at a lovely restaurant (no one starved on this trip!) before visiting the poorest gypsies in Stara Zagora who live at the top of a very steep hill! then stopped by
gypsy men dancing - Kazanlak, BG
 Kazanlak to see the last 2 or 3 sheep slaughtered before the worship festival (Korban, same as in Hebrew) the next day. Our team leaders were very encouraged to hear the local gypsy ministers speaking powerful public words about the Father's heart for this very special community as we left. Drove all day to Istanbul on Sunday (Father's Day). Flew to Ephesus and toured the ruins, visited a carpet factory, and met with great favor in the Turkish gypsy community of Urla which had been a lot less welcoming on a previous trip (Georgian was delighted). 
Invitation to tea - Urla, Turkey
Shopped at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul on our last day, ending with a farewell dinner, shared testimonies into the night, and flew home after only 2 hours of sleep (some stayed up all night since we had to leave so early). After two weeks of touching sick people and hugging all the dirty children we could find :) it took some of us another week to fully shake some kind of respiratory virus, but I tested negative for flu or TB, and in the end it seemed a pretty small price to pay, considering how many glorious experiences we shared :)

When I first got the itinerary via email, I thought it was a little odd that the last line said – before we’d even left yet - "Thanks for joining us! I hope you can come again next year!!”  haha… now I understand.  :)

June 2011 - "In the Steps of Paul" - Itinerary

Sunday, June 12:  Depart Washington DC. The fun begins! – Get ready to meet new friends and dive into the Glory!

Monday, June 13:  Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travel 2 hours to town of Bretsnica. Worship and feeding outreach to local Gypsies. Orientation Dinner and overnight at hotel in nearby city.

Tuesday, June 14:  Drive most of the morning to reach the city of Kazanlak. All day Jesus Celebration in Kazanlak ministering, blessing and feeding our crown jewel Gypsy community of over 5,000 people. Dinner and overnight in Kazanlak.

Wednesday, June 15:  School of the Cross - Travel Day – Drive over the border into Greece to the port city of Kavala. Overnight in Kavala.

Thursday, June 16:  School of the Cross - Travel to historical ruins of Philip and then on to Thessaloniki – Gypsy outreach in the evening.

Friday, June 17:   School of the Cross - Travel Day – Drive to Athens, Greece.

Saturday, June 18:   School of the Cross - See Athens and Mars Hill – afternoon off for sightseeing/shopping – Visit museums and/or The Acropolis.

Sunday, June 19:  School of the Cross - Visit Corinth ruins, site of the early church of the Corinthians. Take the overnight Ferry to Turkey.

Monday, June 20:  Outreach to local Turkish Gypsies in the town of Izmir. Overnight in Izmir.

Tuesday, June 21: Visit ancient ruins of Ephesus, walk the roads where Paul travelled and ministered. Receive powerful revelations from Georgian and Winnie as they preach from the historic site of Paul’s teachings. Afternoon flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

Wednesday, June 22:  Day off for shopping at the exotic Grand Bazaar. Farewell dinner at private restaurant. Overnight in Istanbul.

Thursday, June 23: Morning flight to Paris, France. Afternoon and evening off for sightseeing / shopping. Overnight at Airport Hotel.

Friday, June 24: Flight back to the U.S.   See you next year!

For more info re: Global Celebration mission trips & other events, see

Note from Gina: Thanks & blessings to all who prayed & supported me on these trips. Greece is the new stamp on my passport this year :)  I've now seen 17 countries outside the U.S. in my life so far... short-term missions is lots of FUN !!! <3

No comments:

Post a Comment