Varna, Bulgaria


It is with great sorrow we announce that our brother and one of the first national members of the Original Free Will Baptist Church, Bulgaria, pastor Kosta Ivanov, went to be with the Lord on Thursday (June 18th 2020). After a short illness, he lost the battle with COVID-19 and on the fourth day in the hospital the Lord called him home.
Kosta was one of the first fruits of Willem and Lidia van der Plas. He became the pastor of the church in Varna and for twenty years, with the grace of God, the church has multiplied and now there are several small congregations that originated from this church in the surrounding cities and towns and even abroad in countries like France, Germany, and the Netherlands. As a real pastor caring for his flock, his custom was to travel and visit these younger Christian congregations and encourage them and make sure about their firm spiritual beliefs based on the Word of God.
Pastor Kosta had an open and broad mind for all the people in need. He cared for the spiritual needs and for the daily needs of the church, and also for the need in his region. As he always shared, he had good examples to follow in the persons like Willem van der Plas and Rev. Harold Jones, who did the dedication service of the church building in September 10, 2005. They kept a warm and brotherly relationship ever since. The last fifteen years the church in Varna was a good example of how the followers of Christ are expanding the Kingdom of the Lord overseas, when God pushed them to move out of the country for work and different reasons. Though the church in Varna remains relatively small with a congregation of 50-60 people it has been a starting point for many other congregations and churches.
Kosta was the father of three children. He had a son and two daughters. His youngest daughter and her husband are deeply enrooted in the church. We express our sorrow and embrace his children and his wife, Milena, who is still in the hospital recovering from Covid-19. (As of June 29.)
Pastor Kosta will be dearly missed by all of us who knew him personally, and by the people who have been influenced by his mentoring and helping hand in the times of need. Although as believers and followers of Christ, we have this hope that we will be reunited one day, our human nature is mourning for this temporary separation and our hearts are aching and we are low in spirit together with his closest ones. May God who gives the “peace that no human mind can understand” (Philippians 4:7) be extended to all of us, who are in sadness and pain.
We want to bow down and thank the Lord for giving us this time together with pastor Kosta. To Jesus our Lord, our hope and our Savior be the glory now and in eternity.

-Dr. Kiril Svilenov