Inter-European Division

IMPACT Inspires Young People to be the Engine of Missionary Work in Bulgaria

IMPACT stands for "Inspiring members to proclaim the advent of Christ together."

Fani Bacharova, with ANN Staff
IMPACT Inspires Young People to be the Engine of Missionary Work in Bulgaria

[Photo: EUD News]

From May 23rd to 26th, 2024, the IMPACT youth missionary training took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. It was organized as part of the Bulgaria Seventh-day Adventist Church's national mission project called "SEED", with the support of ASI Bulgaria and ASI Europe. The guest speaker of the training was Joakim Hjortland, one of the founders of the IMPACT movement and a long-term organizer of mission projects and campaigns in Europe. He is currently the head of AFCOE Europe and chairman of ASI Scandinavia, a chapter of Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries in Europe.

The four-day training was divided into two parts—a theoretical and a practical one. In the afternoon activities, the participants applied what they learned from the morning lectures, which included conducting surveys, distributing books, praying with people on the street, and more. Hjortland shared practical advice to inspire young people to serve God and give them the confidence to share God's Word with strangers.

"The main thing I want to address to the participants is inspiration. I want to inspire them to get involved in missionary work and serve God. This is a great blessing and a transformative Christian experience. You start to see answered prayers, miracles, and how God works in different situations," says Hjortland.

Michael Garkov, chairman of ASI Bulgaria, announced that Bulgaria is the eleventh country in which the IMPACT training is held. This was the first one in the country, and more are planned for the future.

"We are launching this initiative, and we hope it will become like a wave. I believe that these young people will inspire other young people, who will inspire other young people, and this will become like an avalanche," commented Garkov.

The goals of IMPACT are, apart from carrying out various mission activities, also to give young people the necessary skills and confidence to give their lives in the service of God and share their faith with friends, colleagues, and classmates. Hjortland is an example of this as he started preaching and leading Bible courses when he was only 17 years old. Today he preaches in over 10 countries, on six continents. He shared many stories and experiences from the IMPACT training in Europe and across the world.

"IMPACT has been incredibly successful in Europe and there are many strong and impactful stories from almost every country, which we want to happen in Bulgaria as well. In neighboring Romania, for example, the project is growing particularly dynamically and soon there will be over 70 baptisms as a result of the IMPACT project there," the speaker encourages.


The first official IMPACT training was held in 2009, starting with a helicopter crash involving a Norwegian Adventist pastor. The pastor used a helicopter to travel through the mountains and fjords in western Norway, but one day a crash happened. He got out of it unscathed, and all the Norwegian media covered the incident and talked about the "Adventist pastor who fell off from heaven" and the "pastor with angelic protection". The pastor asked God, “God, why did you take this tool from me? What do you want me to do now?” The Lord directed his thoughts to a quote from Ellen White: "With such an army of workers as our youth quickly could the message be carried throughout the world." Shortly after, Hjortland and his team contacted the pastor and launched the IMPACT project, which has achieved impressive results since then.

"Pray that God leads you and will meet you with people who are open, and He will give you wisdom... Go out and try it, your life will change", appeals Hjortland.

The original article was published on the Inter-European Division website.


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