Becoming a Real Man

Bulgarian soldier no longer looks to military service for meaning.

By Sarah Freyermuth   |  08/28/2008
bulgarian-couple-military-min-465x280.jpg Hristo Hristov joined the Bulgarian Army hoping to find meaning. "Now I look at Jesus," he says (pictured here with his wife Antoaneta).

Hristo Hristov wanted to be a good soldier. He enlisted in the Bulgarian Army with hopes of joining the French Foreign Legion.

“I dreamt to serve in it because it was the right place for becoming a real man,” he says.

Studying at the National Military University, Hristo noticed group discussions, hosted by the Bulgarian Military Ministry, a branch of Campus Crusade for Christ, that were offered to the cadets. Joining in, he learned many things about Jesus.

“I started to think about Him, and I wanted to know more,” he says. “I needed to be sure Jesus was not a lie.”

Hristo started reading a Bible he received from the Military Ministry and kept it hidden in his room. He also watched the actions of Christians he met.

The more he learned, the more he understood. “I saw that the Bible and Jesus are very real,” he says.

Choosing to Follow

One night, sitting alone, the then-21-year old read through a brochure, also given by the Military Ministry, describing how to have a personal relationship with God.

Following a sample prayer at the end, Hristo acknowledged his need and chose to follow Jesus.

To the surprise of his fellow cadets, when he returned to his dorm room, Hristo placed his Bible on the desk instead of in its usual hiding place.

Thankful for the Military Ministry

The Military Ministry in Bulgaria, now celebrating its 10th aniversary, desires for all military personnel to have the opportunity to learn more about Christ.

They have distributed more than 2,000 Bibles during the past decade, although recent Bulgarian legal changes now prevent anyone from doing so. Still, other efforts continue, including Bible studies and prayer groups as well as plans for a new chaplaincy ministry.

Thankful for their efforts, Hristo no longer looks to the French Foreign Legion to make him a real man. He serves as an Army reservist and plans to go on a mission trip to Uganda next year.

“Now I look at Jesus, my personal Savior and my leader,” he says. “My life is dependent on Him.”