January 15, 2019 - The last 2 months have been amazing – seeing and getting to be with our grand-daughter and her parents was amazing. The store project went beyond what I thought and hoped for. The people and our...

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

A New Year – and few things to reflect on:

January 15, 2019 - The last 2 months have been amazing – seeing and getting to be with our grand-daughter and her parents was amazing.  The store project went beyond what I thought and hoped for.  The people and our work in Bulgaria are going well! For all of this, we praise God and give Him the glory.


So, with things moving on and with more nationals stepping up to do the work – What role do we have what role will we play?  We do not have an answer but rather a list of things that we are going to do and see where that leads.

Here is what is going on:

  • We have returned to Bulgaria and are reconnecting with our friends and coworkers over here.
  • The Stateside store has remained open and is being run by our son and a couple of other part-time folks who will handle the day to day WITH THE HELP OF LOCAL VOLUNTEERS – (so if you are near –we are still looking for folks to help out each month)
  • We will be expanding the Livelihood groups here to help us keep new and enough inventory for the store and our online outlets as well as provide income to support families and churches.
  • We will be starting to prepare for General Conference and our regular partnership building schedule following General Conference.
  • The Safe House is on track (even though it is taking longer than we want – Team Balkans feels it is moving at the speed of God).
  • We are working on plans for the Light and Life Church (our church here in BG) to become a provisional Annual Conference of the FMC USA later this spring.
  • Church plants are on schedule for later this year – our plan is to plant between 15-20 in 3 countries by fall.
  • Bible School, Agricultural plans and many other things are on schedule for new work this year.

God is at work but we just take things one day at a time and often it is not until we look back that we see all that God is doing.  The things we learn today become the tools God uses in us for His work tomorrow.  I learned a long time ago to enjoy what you are doing today (even when it is not what you thought you would or should be doing) as it is most likely preparing you for a task in the future.

What does the future hold only God knows – but we want to be a part of whatever it might be!  Do you?

This week pray for the list of things above.  Pray God would make it clear what we need to do with each and every topic.



We don’t just Sell stuff–we offer HOPE!

December 30, 2018 -  Marketplace Manna and our partners are not primarily in business to make money – we exist to help the poor, disenfranchised, persecuted, disabled and unemployed around the world. 


How do we help, by giving them more than money, we give them HOPE. A future with Hope.  Hope that they can be self-sufficient. Hope that they will be able to care for their families without always depending on the handouts of others.  Hope is what will motivate folks to do better and work harder.

We pay a fair wage for what is produced.  We invest what is made back into the countries we are serving in. We are not here to make a huge profit for our futures but rather use the surplus to give more folks Hope.

At our store and online shops, we keep our markup low so that we can sell more because if we pay $5 for every hat our workers make – I would rather sell 10 hats with a smaller markup than 5 hats with a greater markup.  Because our worker will get $5 X 10 hats sold or $50 with a lower markup, where if I only sell 5 they will make $25.  Which model is helping the folks more?

Most of the folks we serve are in difficult straights they are struggling and if they could get ahead they would but culture, corruption and crime often keep them from being able to get ahead – they feel Hopeless!  When we come in and offer them opportunities to earn a living wage, care for their families and save a little for the future – they understand HOPE – they understand the future that God is offering them as well.  We are on of God’s ways of caring for the hurting.  We show that He is concerned about them.


You see it is not about sales or pushing stuff – it is about helping people learn how to help themselves and make a better life.  To then serve others like they have been served and to learn more about why we all do what we do!  It is because of the Love of God in us!

It is not stuff we sell but rather Hope for a better life now and for all eternity!

Diane and I also want to wish you a Happy New Year!  Thanks again for your prayers and support!

This Week pray for...

…the cross-cultural group from SAU visiting Bulgaria

…the continued success of the store and the final details for it’s continued operation

…the plans for our return trip to Bulgaria on January 10th.

Bonus Stuff

Still, want to do some year-end giving – you can click on the links below to make an online contribution.  Thanks again.

Country Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=620

Sweet Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/donation/df-vibgsweet

Galloway Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/galloway

Mellinger Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/mellinger


Merry Christmas from the Al & Diane Mellinger!

Xmas Photo
This Season of the Year we want to thank all our partners for your support, prayers, and encouragement!  It has been a different Christmas Season with us being back in the states, operating a Fairtrade Store and spending some time with our new granddaughter.   Through it all, we have felt and experience Christ leading us to new and amazing adventures.   We are looking with anticipation to the new year and the new opportunities that await us.

Our prayer for you is that you too will experience a new and fresh move of God in your life and your service to him!

Merry Christmas from Al & Diane Mellinger

Bonus Material:

Remember Team Balkans in your year-end giving – you can click on the links below to make an online contribution.  Thanks again.

Country Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=620

Sweet Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/donation/df-vibgsweet

Galloway Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/galloway

Mellinger Funds - https://give.fmcusa.org/mellinger


Bulgaria's Regulation on Churches Update!

December 19, 2018 - I just received a message that the parliament is going to vote on a revised bill regulating religious groups – here is what our Bulgarian friends are saying:

Here’s what we strongly disagree:

  1. An unfair one-percent population threshold discriminating against small religions
  2. Misuse of Voluntary Census Data 2011
  3. Denouncing a terrorist threat from all denominations below one-percent of the population
  4. Work by the Directorate of Religions to monitor for terrorism
  5. Blocking of theological education in Bulgaria for smaller churches
  6. Disregard of academic degrees awarded abroad
  7. Control of the content of sermons
  8. Prohibition of disseminating spiritual literature
  9. Restrictions on clergy from abroad to serve in Bulgaria
  10. Required License and Spiritual Employee Certificates
  11. Filtering of international donations through the state directorate
  12. Granting lands and buildings under the statute of limitations of religious groups
  13. Prohibition of worship outside designated religious buildings
  14. Imposition of a minimum number of 3,000 people for registration of a denomination

Here are links to several articles written explaining the proposed law and its impact.

Transformed Europe Network 


Sofia Globe


Evangelical Focus


This is a revised or compromised law but it is still not good for us and our work in Bulgaria – Join us in praying that God would intervene and this would not pass.  If it does pray that we will have wisdom on how to proceed in Bulgaria.


Year End Information:

December 12, 2018 – Another year is about to end. Where does the time go?

I am writing to share with you how you can help Team Balkans. I do not talk a great deal about our support and that of our team in our communication – I do share projects from time to time that you can participate in if you are able. But this week I want to share with you a few pressing needs we have within the team.


David and Jill Sweet’s support funding is very low. They are doing an amazing job and they are a very important part of the expanding work in the Balkans.  They are new and not as well known to the churches so they are often not thought of but let me testify they are very important to the work in the Balkans click on this link to give


Our CPD fund Church Planting and Development) – (used to be called the CSA (county support Account) is also very low. These are fund used to help run things in the country beyond what we as the missionaries do – it helps with administrative costs, conferences for training pastors, travel for nationals and much more.  These funds are sent quarterly but only if there is money in the account – we have not received our full funding in this account this year as it has not had funds there.  We have gotten by but are looking at some creative projects for next year and want to get the fund built up so we can proceed with the dream. Click on this link to Give



Finally, Chance and Dee Galloway are moving from VISA (short-term missionary) to Career (Long Term) missionary and are also needing to increase their personal support. So they could also use some year-end giving. Click here to give https://give.fmcusa.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=486

Additionally, you can make a pledge for 2019 to support these needs which will be a great help as well (email me with your amounts and I will get them processed).

Thanks for your support and help with all that God is doing with Team Balkans!

Please pray for:

The financial needs of Team Balkans

The distribution of the Virtual Christmas Gift Boxes – pray for the impact on families  through our local churches!

The ongoing economic ministries – the Jackson Store and the stores in Bulgaria

Bonus Material:

If you have not read this on FaceBook – here is a link to an article written by the local media about the store.  https://www.mlive.com/news/jackson/2018/12/fair-trade-store-opens-at-jackson-crossing.html



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