Bulgaria: Escaping Easter? 

This Prayerline is based on our latest Voices of IFES podcast – an interview with Silas Walter, who serves the Bulgarian movement (BCSU) through IFES InterAction. To find out more about Silas and his experience of cross-cultural ministry listen here.   

Five students are locked in a kitchen. To get out, they must solve a riddle. They can see remnants of a dinner party – the table is cluttered with half-drunk glasses of wine and leftovers of bread. But who were the guests? What happened? And why has no-one returned to clear up? 

This was the first of three rooms set up last Easter as an Escape Room event by Silas Walter. Originally from Germany, he now serves the Bulgarian Christian Student Union in Sofia and works across Bulgaria to support ministry among international students. He says, “I love riddles. I love escape rooms. I wanted to do an escape room that was also an invitation to talk about faith, and I thought Easter would be the perfect occasion.” 

When you arrive at Silas’ apartment, you receive a note from a man called Pilate – he’s alarmed by the supporters of a new movement and wants you to track them down. On escaping the abandoned kitchen, you head into another locked room, dark as a cave, lit only by a few candles. Through a series of clues, the story unfolds: the suspects were hiding here in fear, but something happened, causing them to leave. In the final room, you must solve puzzles to discover that these fugitives are now out in the open, propelled by a new hope and joy, touring around, telling others what happened.     

About five different groups took part, with three to five students in each. After an hour of mystery-solving, they were invited to offer impressions and discuss their favourite riddles. Silas then explained the connections to the Easter story, opening a space for them to share and consider their beliefs about Jesus. One participant remarked on its impact: “It was such an immersive experience. I’ve been to a few escape rooms before, but none of them integrated culture in such a beautiful way. We all found it very interesting to learn about the traditions of Easter and solve the mysteries and puzzles.” 

This creative approach to evangelism attracted students who’d never heard or engaged with the gospel before, whether international students from other faith backgrounds or Bulgarian students who only considered themselves Christian in a cultural sense. It also encouraged BCSU students to see fresh ways of presenting their faith. Silas is now wondering about running another escape room, this time based around one of Bulgaria’s historical faith figures. 

As we approach Easter, let’s pray that we’ll all escape from being stuck in traditional forms of outreach. And let’s pray for student ministry in Bulgaria and beyond: 

  • Give thanks for Silas, the ministry of IFES InterAction, and the BCSU partnership. Pray for him as he plans to remain in Bulgaria and contribute as staff within the national movement – that he would continue to inspire creative evangelism. 
  • Pray that a new InterAction staff member can join the team in order to further the international student ministry (ISM) and pray for the upcoming ISM evangelistic retreat – that students will bring their friends and see God at work in them.  
  • Pray for BCSU groups, and all IFES movements, as they plan Easter outreach – for creativity, clarity, and courage so that as many students as possible might hear the good news. 

IFES InterAction works with national movements throughout Europe to recruit, train, and send cross-cultural workers in student ministry. It gives young graduates a 1–2-year taste of cross-cultural mission. Staff and volunteers are involved in training and supporting students in discipleship and evangelism, international student ministry, and launching new groups. Find out more. 

And if you’re interested in running an Easter Escape Room, you can find more details and hear advice from Silas in the podcast. 

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