Bulgarian Pastor, Haralan Popov, was arrested by the Bulgarian secret police on July 24, 1948. For the next 13 years—separated from his wife and two children—he faced imprisonment, starvation and endless torture. In the midst of this his testimony for Christ remained unchanged and his reliance upon and experience of Christ’s own presence grew deeply intimate.
“I was alone for ten days. I felt so close with God in solitary confinement that I spent the time in praise and worship. Such close communion with God! I talked with Him. He comforted me. It was a spiritual feast for me. During this time, I received new strength, though my body was wasted away to nothing. Tears of joy ran down my face. Here, in the DS prision, alone and with nothing, I had everything—Christ. Stripped of everything, without any worldly distractions, I found a deep and beautiful communion with God. Joy and peace flooded my soul. My body ached with starvation but my spirit has never been closer to God. Lying starved, alone and too weak to move, I felt I could reach out to God and be taken into His arms.” (Haralan Popov, Tortured for His Faith, p.45)
“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ . . . that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:8, 10)
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” (Colossians 1:24)