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Maria Bachvarova, 73, standing on a balcony of the Seventh-day Adventist Church headquarters in Sofia, Bulgaria, in December 2018.

New Year’s Miracle

Maria understood that God sent angels to care for her lonely brother on New Year’s Eve.

By Andrew McChesney

Three elderly women decided to hold two special sessions of prayer for their families on New Year’s Eve in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The trio, all members of Sofia West Seventh-day Adventist Church, would pray at 11:30 p.m. and then again at 12:15 a.m. in their homes in Bulgaria’s capital.

That evening, when the appointed time came, Maria Bachvarova left her husband and adult son in the living room and slipped into another room. She prayed that her husband and son would accept Jesus. She felt especially impressed to pray for her younger brother, Nikolai. She had invited Nikolai, 66, to attend the New Year’s celebration in her home, but he hadn’t shown up.

Nikolai was gentle, diligent, and honest, but he had suffered a series of misfortunes. Once a well-paid business executive, he had gone bankrupt after a robbery and his wife had left him. Now he was nearly penniless, working as the night guard at a construction site. He often visited Maria for food and a place to stay the night.

Maria prayed for Nikolai for 25 minutes, returned to the family celebration for 20 minutes, and then prayed for her brother again.

The next day, Nikolai showed up and related the following story.

The previous night, he was supposed to keep the night watch at a construction site. But when he arrived, the other guard sent him away, saying that he was waiting for his wife and the two of them wanted to celebrate the New Year together at the site.

Nikolai went to the tram stop at 10:30 p.m. and waited for two hours for a tram to take him to his sister’s house. No tram came.

A new apartment building stood behind the tram stop.

Suddenly, a window opened in the apartment building, and a man and woman appeared. They invited Nikolai into their home.

Nikolai entered a well-furnished apartment, and he was ushered to a comfortable armchair. Later he was fed a delicious meal, and his hosts played some Macedonian music, which happened to be his favorite kind of music. As a business exective, he had developed a taste for fine things, and now he was enjoying his old way of life.

In the morning, his hosts woke him up and told him that a taxi was waiting outside. They had already paid the fare. Saying good-bye, they gave him a banknote of 50 Bulgarian lev, or about U.S.$30. Nikolai had been flat broke.

Maria began to cry as her brother told the story.

“God took care of you last night,” she said.

She gave him a Bible and an Adventist book to present to the couple as a gift.

Several days later, Nikolai returned the Bible and the book to Maria.

“I went back to the apartment building and found that it was unfinished,” he said. “No one lives there.”

At that moment, Maria understood that God had sent angels to care for her lonely brother on New Year’s Eve. God had answered her prayers for Nikolai in a remarkable way.

“We think that God is just like us and that our ways are His ways,” she said. “God somehow tried to reach my brother at the level where he was at.”

She believes God succeeded. Nikolai never was baptized, but he attended church with his sister for several weeks after the New Year’s Eve miracle in 2012. Then he died.

Maria Bachvarova says God’s ways are not human ways and His thoughts and not human thoughts. In English and Bulgarian. (Andrew McChesney / Adventist Mission)

Part of the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering in first quarter 2020 will help Maria’s church, Sofia West Seventh-day Adventist Church, move from rented premises to its own building.