How ‘Friendship Bread’ Is Making a Difference in Bulgaria

Outreach center found a simple but powerful way to connect and bring people to Jesus.

Earley Simon, Adventist Mission
How ‘Friendship Bread’ Is Making a Difference in Bulgaria
At the Trapezata Global Mission urban center of influence in Bulgaria, the bread is top-notch, but staff members offer visitors much more than food. [Photo: Adventist Mission]

In the early mornings, while it is still dark, flour and water meet. They rise with yeast and are eased into an oven to be transformed by heat. The aroma fills the air, sending an irresistible invitation to the mouth-watering delights.

One by one, people come to order, socialize, and laugh. Every day, people of all ages and different ethnicities line up at this bakery, eager to savor the delicious bread.

Making bread takes time and patience. It takes loving hands to mix ingredients and press them together until the dough is ready to rise and grow. So it is with people; it takes time and patience to cultivate trust and friendship, to warm their lives and invite them to follow Jesus.

At the Trapezata Global Mission urban center of influence in Bulgaria, staff members offer visitors more than food. Here people find room to interact and participate in various courses and activities. As they make new friends, visitors are invited to become volunteers themselves. This way, they can give back and help others too.

One regular volunteer, Dimitur, found purpose in Trapezata by tutoring students in math. “There are good people here, and I developed good relationships with different people,” Dimitur said. “So, I want to give my best to others. I feel a strong desire to learn more about God and the Bible. I have this idea that I have to help, and if I can, I am going to do it. I am not a math teacher. I’m an engineer, but here I help kids with math.”

Dimitur travels more than six miles every day, sometimes on foot. He started as a customer, then he became a volunteer, and now he is a baptized Seventh-day Adventist. Like Dimitur, many people who come to Trapezata find the Bread of Life.

The management at Trapezata has seen how centers of influence can work as a platform to engage the community and form friendships.

The bakery’s owner, Christo Kudinov, said, “God gave us this place to keep us close to people. He showed us that we needed a place where people felt accepted and at home. … That’s why we established a bakery: it smells like home. In Bulgaria, people eat a lot of bread. … This is how Christ worked. He was close to people. He offered them the Bread of Life, healed them, and took care of them. And we want to do the same.”

The original version of this story was posted on Adventist Mission.

Earley Simon, Adventist Mission