Bulgaria is an amazingly beautiful country. Breathtaking mountain views, beaches, ancient ruins, rolling farmland—God’s presence is visible everywhere you turn. And as beautiful as the landscape is, it takes a back seat to the people of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is a land rich in history. Some of its cities and towns can trace their history back thousands of years, and have survived centuries of subjugation by the Ottoman Empire, struggling to survive through both World Wars, and sixty years of communist rule before finally being reborn as a democratic republic in 1989. Even though Bulgaria is today the poorest country in the European Union, and many struggle to make ends meet, Bulgarians are very proud of both their history and their culture.
Although most Bulgarians will tell you that Bulgaria is a Christian nation, nearly 90% belong to the Orthodox Church. Most of these have never read the Bible or had the Gospel explained to them. Less than 3% are Evangelical Christians, and even among these many of the adult leaders grew up under communism and are still working out what evangelism and discipleship look like in a free society.
It is in the midst of this community that we will live, shop, walk, eat, play and serve, making the most of every opportunity to point people toward Jesus.