July 20, 2017 – Today, we held our first meeting with all the full time missionaries in Bulgaria. As the team grows and gets settle the work grows but in exponential ways. As synergy is created great impact happens. Today...

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Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles

First Staff Meeting

July 20, 2017 – Today, we held our first meeting with all the full time missionaries in Bulgaria. As the team grows and gets settle the work grows but in exponential ways.  As synergy is created great impact happens.

Today was all about logistics – everything we are currently doing and who is the point person for this ministries, how we communicate so everyone is the know, how we fund what we do and what is the chain of command for the work.

Some of this is basic but we all need reminded that we are part of team and we need to know what role or position we play so that the team works together and not against itself.

WE have an amazing team here in the Balkans.  Each member has a different skill set that when brought together makes us whole.  Some are organizers and some are lovers, some are up front and some are behind the scenes, but when put together (especially with the nationals) a beautiful image emerges showing what the body of Christ is all about.

As I reflect on what is happening and what we have been working to make happen – we could not do what we are doing without the expansion of the team – God knew that and began long before we knew what our cutting edge would be to call the people He wanted to be here to make a difference.  We are both humbled and proud to be leading this group of Godly men and women. 

So this week pray for the Team:

Chance and Dee Dee Galloway – as they oversee the expansion into Macedonia and Serbia as well as the Blble School

Chad and Hollie Wells – as they oversee the set-up of the Safe House and farming ministries

David and Jill Sweet – as the get settled and get their feet under the roles they will play.

Diane and I as we keep track of the big picture and the economic ministries and care for each member of the team as they have needs. (and as we are stateside for 5 weeks for a Wedding and Church Visits – hopefully we will see some of you soon)

Thank you for your prayers and support for the work – This is an awesome group, but I do not think God is done with the team expansion.  There are many more areas that I see cutting edge ministries happening that will need leadership and they are not necessary in the traditional areas you think of for missionaries – So if you are feeling a nudge or a call from God, we want to talk to you as it might be God’s way of staffing the next cutting edge of the work in the Balkans!


Sweets are Here!

July 13, 2017 – After almost 2 years of conversations, planning, travels and fundraising. David and Jill Sweet have arrived in Bulgaria.


They are join us in the Petrich area of Bulgaria. Helping with our community center and administration projects.  But before they do that they will need to get settled. That means doing everything one does when one is starting out.  They have found an apartment and will be able to move in next Monday.  They will then be spending time collecting and getting everything one needs (Sheets to dishes to cleaning supplies to decorations) to make it feel like home.


WE are sooooo excited to have them join Team Balkans.  We now have all four missionary families in country and figuring out how we all interact and connect. What an exciting time it is for us.

Pray for the team and we all figure out who we are and how God will have us work together.

Pray for the Sweets as they will be using this time between now until first of September to adjust, get settled and begin to learn the language and culture more.

Pray for us as we prepare for our second stateside visit for the wedding of our eldest son and partnership building activities this year.


Cars & Car Documents - God Knows!

July 6, 2017 – It is the little things where God demonstrates His care for you. The week the Hobbies have been with us learning what we do and what we need. We have also shown them some of the historical sites in the region. On Monday we took them to Philippi, Greece to let them see this city (or what is left of it).

To do that we have to cross the border and show our documents for us and the car. In collecting them back we miss the car documents. We remembered about half way to our destination and figured we could get them on the way back. But that was not the case – they didn’t have them and there was no way they would not have given them to us. So we are thinking we will have to get all the documents replaced. We all said a prayer that somehow we would get the documents back.

On Tuesday evening we get a knock on our door from Karoline, our upstairs neighbor who speaks English. When we opened the door she way holding our document booklet which had just been dropped off by a lady from the border town. We were rejoicing and praising God and had a chance to share that with Karoline too!

Car documents may not seem like a big deal – all of them could be replaced – it would have just taken time and some money. But God cares about the little things in our lives and by showing that to us, it helps when we need to trust Him with the big things too!

Take a moment to thank God for getting our documents back to us.


Speaking of the car - on Wednesday we were to take the Hobbies to Sofia before an early morning flight out on Thursday - we started to go and the shifter for our manual transmission was not working right - so we stopped went back to Petrich to have Stefan look at it.  (It needs replaced)

But the real question was how do we get Hobbies to Sofia on Wednesday and the pick up Sweets with all their luggage on Thursday?  Again some quick prayers. There is a Rent-a-Car place in Petrich but it does not always have cars - I went and it did and the owners even knew Peggy & Stefan and so that moved the process along quickly and I think gave us a better than normal deal.  So we were on the road only about 2 hours behind schedule.  The rental car worked great and we got the Hobbies dropped of fine.

Take a moment to thanks God for providing a vehicle when we needed it.

Also, Pray for the Sweets as they have just arrived on this new adventure where much will change for them. Pray that we are able to find them good housing quickly and that it will begin to feel like home.

We have put an offer in for the girls home and are waiting to see if the current owners can get all their paper work in order quickly so that we can take possession and start to get it ready to serve the girls.


Human Trafficking Awareness Week in Western Bulgaria

June 29, 2017 - This is repost from the Galloways in Bulgaria Blog.  It is well said and needs to be repeated!

This is a big week for fighting injustice in our communities concerning Human Trafficking. We are visiting our church plants and engaging in the fight for the children of these communities. Bulgaria is mostly a country of origin which means our girls are kidnapped or tricked and will be transported to other countries. After starting heathy churches in communities the next line of defense to the dangers of Human Trafficking is to make the community aware with the information of the truth,  then empower these communities to take action by protecting these girls from the dangers of human trafficking. Some of the communities we are ministering in this week are where girls are being tricked or stolen every month. We work hard to fight against the brokenness in these communities by training up Godly leaders, creating jobs through micro-enterprise, feeding and clothing the poor. This week we are empowering the nationals to take action. The team is led by Dee Dee Galloway, Hollie Wells, Petra Ilieva and Meghan Shuffet from Samford University and they are going into these communities to engage the church to be aware, to bring the light to dark places, and to be a difference where the norm is hurt, brokenness and poverty.  

Trafficking - Meghan
We are going to the root of the problem by informing our girls and community of the traps of Human trafficking.  We are so encouraged by the willingness to stand and get involved by the people in each of these villages.  They are standing up after the presentation excited to engage in any way they can, by prayer, continued awareness to their friends and neighbors, and even putting their hands to work by coming alongside and offering help to pull weeds, paint, doing odd jobs at the new home for at risk girls! Trafficking #2
We love that they are taking ownership, taking a STAND, and bringing light to  injustice! Please pray for us this week

Pray for our ongoing work with the Trafficking problem in Bulgaria - we are in final stages of purchasing a home and will begin later this summer the renovations - (more on that soon)

Pray for us as we host Doug and Barb Hobbie from Zion, IL who are here exploring and looking at the kind of ministry that is being done - Pray as they scout out future projects for themselves and their church.



Meghan returns to Bulgaria after 6 years!

June 23, 2017 - Meghan Shuffett a recent graduate from University has come to spend a month with Team Balkans. We had the privilege of hosting her this past weekend. She is learning in greater detail what we are doing and who we partner with in ministry here.

She along with Dee Dee Galloway will be doing some training in our churches to increase awareness about human trafficking and what to look for and how to avoid it. Pray for these presentations. 

Meghan is the first of 4 Interns who will be here this summer. Helping us and learning more about what life is like and the work that we are doing.


We were able to attend a Cultural Festival in a nearby town after church on Sunday.

Meghan came about 6 years ago with a team from her church and wanted to return, we are always happy to have returning missionaries come to help.

This week pray for…

… our farming land as work begins to get it ready to plant regular crops.

…our church planting process in Macedonia - we will be interviewing potential leader in Macedonia over the next few months.

…The interns and groups coming this summer - safety in travel, open hearts to the message they share and ongoing friendships to develop.



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