After a great stay in the very urban Sofia, Bulgaria, we boarded a blue van to head towards Shumen for the next leg of our journey. This Blue van was a real classic- wouldn’t start half the time, and lacked shocks, causing a bumpy ride most of the time. But luckily we got her started and headed out.
We traveled to Shumen- about a 4 hour car ride in the van. I learned how much I love European gas stations. I’m not kidding man- they have high quality chocolate and espresso, and usually pretty decent bathrooms. We stopped at a few along the way because the blue van needed to be filled pretty often 🙂 We even stopped at a Bulgarian McDonalds, and had a comical experience trying to order in English to the girl behind the counter who spoke mostly Bulgarian.
We arrived in Shumen, and Sarah, Anthony and I got the privilege of staying with a great couple- Bobby and Rali Stefanov. Bobby is a pastor of a church in Shumen and works with Navigators. They have three great kids- Sami, Tedi, and Anni. They graciously kept us up in two of their spare rooms.
While in Shumen, we got to play a concert at the church. Sarah sang, Anthony put together a drum set up with a tamborine, bass drum and electronic snare drum. We played a set of songs including stuff by Ingrid Michaelson, Adele, Phil Wickham, and some originals. Many of the students that attended the concert became fast friends. Because the vibe was right, we just ended the concert with a stream of worship songs and I shared my story of getting rescued from addiction by Jesus- and Sarah and Anthony shared their stories and hearts.
At one moment, we were singing “Mighty to Save”, and the Bulgarians knew the song in their language. We backed off of the microphones more than once to let them sing. I remember looking at Sarah and we both had tears in our eyes. That morning I had been reading about the Tower of Babel and how God had scattered people into different languages because: 1. They weren’t following His command to continue to move out into the ends of the earth, and 2. They were getting prideful in their quest for power and making a name for themselves. But this moment of worshipping with family from a different country was a taste of what it will be like in the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus Christ breaks down barriers between races, nations, classes, languages, and brings His Church together in unity. What a beautiful thing.
We made many friends in Shumen- like Joy- one of the pastors daughters- who showed us around town and took us to get some really tasty crepes, and Aysun- who was a Muslim girl from Turkey- a really sweet girl who was really good friends with some of the other students from the church. We hope to keep in contact with them for many days and years to come.
Next: Our experience at the English Language Camp in a Bulgarian Village with a population of 10 people!