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The Need for Joy

We entered Bulgaria about a week ago, which marks our last month in Eastern Europe. Bulgaria is “Manistry” month, which means that all the guys on our squad are on the same team. I’ve loved the teams that I have traveled with, but you never know how great “bro time” is until your in it. We are currently working with a Baptist Church in a town called Dupnitsa, which is about an hour outside of Sofia, the nation’s capital.

Dupnitsa a small town, but its quite beautiful. The town is surrounded by mountains, which including the tallest mountain in the Balkans – totally planning on climbing it in a few days. The work this month is quite fitting for “Manistry.” We’ve spent the past week putting in frames, drywall, and insulation for a new church. Construction work in foreign nations can be difficult with language barriers and cultural differences, but the project is coming along nicely. The down time has been a lot of fun and I spend much of it exploring the mountains around us.

My favorite definition of joy is “an inward happiness that is not dependent on outward circumstances.” The challenges of this area have been mostly cultural, as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of joy- even within the church. As you discover the nation’s history, the lack of joy makes more sense. The communism that Bulgaria was under several decades ago seems to have instilled a lot of fear and seriousness in the culture. For example, they joke about how Americans always ask them, “what do you do for fun?” because they don’t really have a focus on fun in daily life. One of the attributes of God that flows out of the Christian walk is joy- and I’m beginning to realize how important that is.

Despite the obstacles, God has been meeting us and we’ve been experiencing joy as a team. We had an amazing worship night with just the guys and it was one of the most powerfully nights of worship we’ve had on the race. One man came to Christ the next day in church and we believe it was out of an overflow of the night before! We’ve been praying big over this city, over the church we’re building, and over the people. I’m learning about faith, understanding that God has eyes for potential in people and churches that my finite eyes have trouble seeing. My hope is that God is laying the groundwork for something big. My biggest prayer for Dupnista is joy.

Please pray for joy and boldness for these people who have been through so much.


  1. Great blog Nic !! I know that you are really enjoying the physical work with the Brothers !! I am praying Isaiah 51:11 for the Balkan Island Countries. ” The ransom of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing ; Everlasting JOY will crown their heads. GLADNESS and JOY will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” For your group I pray, Nehemiah 8:10:
    ” The JOY of the Lord is your strength ” Love you mom !

  2. Well Nic you are no stranger to construction work. My Pastor told me that EVERYDAY is a TRAINING DAY!!!!!!!!!!! We may not recognize at the time but everyday prepares us for our future. You my friend are such a JOY to so many. I am glad you have some time for yourself. I know you enjoy so much exploring all the things around you. Love and bless you always, God protect you and bring you home safely. Debby

  3. Amen!! Boy you’re really opening your eyes to the suffering of the world Nic. I’m sure your beautiful heart is bringing light where ever you go. Please shine a little over to the US too while you’re at it – just watched the news last night discussing N Korea’s aggressive comments and Trump’s response – and I’ve been a bit paranoid ever since 😉 Crazy world right now. Thank god there are people like you still spreading love and joy. Yes, the world needs more. Just saw your sister – talk about JOY! Love you xx

  4. It is a great time for release when you are with your brothers in Christ. Y.all can show not only the strength but also the laughter and joy of Kingdom you live from. In a country that has had much stolen from it by politics and wars. God say’s “Come here sit with Me! I will show you My way,far above man’s politics and knowledge. As sons and brothers run in joyful play of work and adventure with one another!!” By doing so you change the atmosphere of possibility,to those that have believed otherwise.Nick, grab hold and enjoy this time with your bro’s!!

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