10 Years… Part 1

This March, my trip to Hungary to visit, encourage, and support our friends and co-laborers in the gospel from Ukraine coincided with the 10 year anniversary of me leaving Hungary to move to Colorado.

For more on what we did on that trip, see: Ukraine Relief Update: What We Did in Hungary & Ukraine

On Women’s Day, March 8, 2012, we left the beautiful city of Eger, where all of our kids (up until that point) had been born, and boarded a flight bound for Germany, on route to San Diego.

Eger, looking north from the city center. The minaret is the northern-most Turkish minaret in Europe, and the long yellow building behind it is where my kids were born. The church on the hill is a Serbian Orthodox Church; we started the Eger church in the neighborhood next to it.

We left part of our hearts there. People often ask me if I miss living in Hungary, and the answer is: Yes, I miss it so bad it hurts, every day. This isn’t to say that I’m not content where I am, or that I am planning to move back – it’s just the truth. I spent my entire adult life in Hungary up until we left. When we moved to Colorado, I had never been an adult in America before, and there was a learning curve, for sure.

Not only did we leave behind our beloved city, more significantly, we left behind a ministry we loved: one we started and nurtured.

We moved to Eger in 2005 with a vision to start a church which would be self-sustaining, that would be focused on evangelism and discipling those who became Christians through our outreaches, and we hoped that someday that church would have a Hungarian pastor, preferably someone who had been raised up through our ministry. Additionally, we hoped to start a “daughter church” out of that church, and to take the people of that church on mission trips themselves.

By God’s grace, all of these dreams came to fruition.

In January 2012, I handed over leadership of the Eger church to Jani, and he celebrated his 10 year anniversary as pastor earlier this year.

I had the opportunity to preach at the church when I was there this year, exactly 10 years to the week of my departure. I preached in Hungarian, which I miss doing.

The church recently moved into a new location, about 2 blocks from where they used to meet, and still in the heart of the city center, right on the main walking street, with a balcony overlooking it.

Standing on the balcony of the new church meeting place in downtown Eger.

Pray for Eger, and pray for Pastor Jani. He has been faithful. Pray for a fresh work of the Holy Spirit, for vision, guidance, and effective ministry.

Pastor Jani overlooking Eger from the fortress.

My Worst Easter Sermon + Preparation for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday

I recently had the opportunity to talk with some friends and record a podcast for pastors in our movement.

My friend and colleague Mike Neglia (we serve together in the Expositors Collective) and I were interviewed by Aaron Salvato of CalvaryChapel.com and the GoodLion Podcast Network about different aspects of preparing for Good Friday and Easter.

As part of the discussion, Aaron asked Mike and I about our worst Easter sermon ever. As I was telling about my worst Easter sermon, I remembered something that happened on our first Easter (also our first Sunday) planting a church in Eger, Hungary. It wasn’t something I did (or even saw), but it was something which probably made it the worst Easter service ever for those who attended 😂. Here’s the video of that part of our discussion:

Aaron broke up our discussion into sections and created a helpful article, with Mike and I discussing about Good Friday, how to support staff and volunteers amongst the busyness of Easter weekend, and how to keep Easter fresh.

That article can be found here: Advice for Pastors and Preachers on Easter Sermons and More!

In Section 2, Mike and I discuss our differences of opinion on the practice of Lent! Check it out, and see what you think.

Recap of Recent Travels

I just got back on Saturday night from a 2-week trip, during which I was in NYC, Turkey, Hungary, Ukraine – then a quick jaunt to Southern California, before making my way back home just in time for daylight savings! My internal clock was so confused by that point that losing one more hour of sleep didn’t even register.


The purpose for the European trip was to visit White Fields‘ missionaries and ministry partners in Hungary and Ukraine. I got to spend time with Pastor Jani and others from Golgota Eger, the church my wife and I started back in 2005. We also spent time in Budapest at Golgota Budapest and with the leaders of the Anonymous Ways Foundation which helps to rescue women out of sex-trafficking.


After a few short days in Hungary, we flew to Kiev, Ukraine where Mike and I taught at a Pastors and Leaders Conference for Calvary Chapel Ukraine. Our topic was “movement dynamics” and we gave biblical and practical instruction about leading missional churches for about 50 pastors and church leaders from all over Ukraine.


On Sunday morning I had the privilege of preaching at Calvary Chapel Kiev. Here is the video of that service if you’d like to watch it:

After church we spent some time with George Markey, one of the pastors of Calvary Kiev, and he shared with us the vision for urban church planting in Kiev – a city of about 5 million people. Their vision is to plant 30 churches in Kiev in 5 years! This year their goal was to begin with 2 church plants, and God has already raised up people for those in the northern Obolon region of the city and in the southern Teremky region. Please join in praying for God’s work in Kiev through Calvary Chapel and for this big vision they have for church planting!

Ternopil and Kharkiv

Sunday evening, three of us got on an over-night train to Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, near the Russian border – while Mike and his wife Marika took a train in the opposite direction, to Ternopil in Western Ukraine to visit friends from Calvary Chapel Ternopil.

In Kharkiv, we visited with friends from Calvary Chapel Kharkiv, including Pastor Victor Fisin and Assistant Pastor and missionary Nate Medlong, whose aunt is a member of our church. Nate and his wife Diana are on the front lines of ministry to orphans and children in the foster system in Kharkiv. God is doing great things through their ministry, so please keep them in prayer.


Returning to Kiev, I got to speak to the students of Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary on Tuesday morning, and then we spent time with one of the teachers and the director of the seminary afterwards. UETS is a doing a great work, raising up pastors and leaders from all over the former Soviet Union. They have a strategic partnership with the seminary I am currently attending: London School of Theology (LST), and they have several hundred students attending their many campuses all over Ukraine and one other former-Soviet country. Pray for their work!


While the others from the team came back to Colorado, I had one more trip before I came home: I went to Thousand Oaks, California for the first Expositors Collective – an interactive seminar for young people who have a desire to preach and teach the Bible well. As one of the leaders, I coached a group of young men who had a range of different experiences: from Bible college students to interns, to a staff pastor who sometimes preaches at his church. It was a great event, and one that was geared towards ongoing mentorship. This was only the first of what will hopefully be an ongoing collective to encourage expository Bible teaching in the next generation. For more information, check out expositorscollective.com

It was a great trip, but I’m glad to be home, here where God has called me to be!

Good Times in Eger and a Surpise in Heves

Yesterday we spent the day in Eger. The church here has a car, which we were able to borrow and I was able to Travis out to see the site where we do our English Camp outreach every summer.
A couple from the Eger church, Zakk and Mira joined us and we went to Heves, where in 2010 we started an outreach fellowship which morphed into a gypsy church. Before I left Hungary, this ministry really took off, and it has continued to be a big part of the Eger church's outreach focus.
It was a weekday afternoon, so not everyone was around, but 20 or so people gathered to see us.
While we were there, some people came up to me and showed me their 4 month old baby – a baby they had named after me, Nikolasz, because I had been their pastor! I was blown away and honored and humbled that someone would have felt so impacted by our ministry there that they would name a child after me.
I prayed over their church and over a woman who is sick, and then we came back to Eger, where we met with people from the church there. The church organized an open house for people who wanted to come and see me, and it was a great time of catching up.
Afterwards Travis, Jani and I went out to the thermal bath in Demjén until midnight and talked about life, ministry, church and family before returning to our apartment for the night.
We will see Jani and Tünde again on Friday, because they are coming to Kyiv for the pastors conference I'll be teaching at. Please pray for their family and the ministries they lead in Eger; they are doing well and doing a great job with the church. It has been wonderful to see Jani develop as a pastor over the past 4 years.
Currently we are on the train to Budapest. I have a few meetings today and will teach tonight at Golgota Budapest (Calvary Chapel Budapest), and Travis will be getting together with Németh Laci, the pastor of Golgota Dél-Pest to go see the city and to discuss the ministry Laci leads to combat human trafficking in Hungary. Laci is doing a great work, and we would really like to find out if there is anything we can do to support him and the work he is doing to set people free from modern-day slavery right in his own backyard.

Some of the people we met with in Heves
Little Nikolasz, who was named after me
Communist statue at the site of our English Camp. It says Faithfulness to your nation, Faithfulness to your party!
Hanging out with people from Golgota Eger at Jani and Tünde's house


Photos From Our Trip So Far

Preaching at Golgota Debrecen with my friend Jancsi translating. The church is biligual and does all services in Hungarian and English.

Refugee Bible study in Budapest with Farsi translation. They use “Simply Jesus” to teach the Gospel through movement which requires minimal translation.

Many of these Iranian and Afghan refugees recently became Christians

Pastor Jani of Golgota Eger representing for Longmont City!

Elegáns Eger

This is how we got around in Debrecen in Bodi’s tiny car…

Bodi bácsival a Békástónál


A Day in Debrecen

This morning began early, jet lag does that to you. Before church Travis and I discussed that we would go for a short run. I had an idea that maybe we could run over to see the Kossuth Egyetem (the university in Debrecen which is the largest in Hungary), so we left the church at 6:45. What began as a short run turned into a 10 km run through the medical university and the Nagyerdő  (Great Forest), but it was a great way to see the city.

At 10 we went to church at Golgota Debrecen; I taught and my long time friend Jancsi translated for me, as the church’s services are bilingual. At the end of the service, Bodi, the pastor, prayed for us and then I spent a long time catching up with old friends.

After church we went to eat with friends, and found out that Bodi was planning to drive to Hatvan, near Eger, so he was able to give us a ride to Füzesabony, where Jani, the man who took over for me as pastor of the church in Eger, picked us up and brought us the rest of the way.

We are staying at the flat of someone from the church who is out of town at the moment.

Tomorrow we will go up to Budapest for a meeting with some Iranian refugees who recently became Christians. White Fields Church collected money to buy Bibles for refugees a few months back, and these people were some of the recipients of those. 3 of them were baptized last Sunday and they asked if we could come meet them, so we will do that tomorrow and then come back to Eger for a series of meetings with friends.

I will post pictures tomorrow. We haven’t been able to get a proper Internet connection; I’m posting this from 2G mobile Internet.

I’m Back – and Shelby the Elder

I just got back from a 12-day trip to Hungary and Ukraine, the bulk of which was spent visiting the church my wife and I planted in Eger, Hungary. This church was celebrating their 10 year anniversary, so I and my fellow pastor from White Fields Church went to celebrate with them at a weekend retreat where we did the teaching. We also had great times of fellowship with church members and were able to spend some quality and hopefully encouraging time with the church leadership.

Conference in Eger, Hungary

After Hungary we travelled to Ukraine, where we visited a church which White Fields partners with in the city of Svitlovodsk.

The stand of the Lenin statue in Svitlovodsk, which was toppled last year and then painted with the colors of the Ukrainian flag

It’s good to be back home and I look forward to writing more as time permits.

In the mean time – I wanted to recommend a new blog, authored by one of the elders I serve with at White Fields: Shelby the Elder.

Check him out, engage with him and leave him comments and encourage him to keep on writing!

English Camp in Hungary

This July I was in Hungary for just under 2 weeks, leading a team from White Fields Community Church in Longmont to serve at the English Camp outreach hosted by Golgota Eger.

My wife and I started this camp when we were living in Eger and looking for a way to effectively reach young people with the Gospel. This was the 9th English Camp in the hills outside of Eger – and over the years, we have seen God do such great things through it and so much great fruit come out of it.

For the past several years, the camp has been at full capacity of what we can fit at this location, and the amount of kids we can reasonably handle and minister to well – around 130.

Here is are 2 short videos which highlight the long-term impact that this outreach is having on youth in this part of Hungary:


Having Passed the Baton

For many years, the third week of June was one of the highlights of the year for my wife and I. That’s because this is the time when the Foundations Conference takes place in Vajta, Hungary. Foundations is a conference for Calvary Chapel missionaries and national workers from all over Eastern Europe to gather together for a week of fellowship and teaching. It was a time for us of seeing friends we often only saw at that conference, as well as a time of being recharged physically and spiritually, and seeking the Lord.

This year I’ve been keeping up with some of what’s happening at Foundations on Instagram, where I get to see familiar faces and places.

Today on Instagram I saw this photo, which filled me with so many emotions:

In that picture are friends of mine, and they are praying for a young man named Jonathan, who is serving as a missionary in Eger, Hungary at the church Rosemary and I started 9 years ago. Standing behind him is Jani, a man who I first met when he was not a Christian, but who I had the privilege of leading to The Lord, pouring into, raising up in ministry, and who is now the pastor of that church in Eger.

I remember how on the last night of one of these Foundations conferences several years ago, I was up front praying for people, and Jani came up and asked me to pray that God would bless him and his wife with a baby. Only a few months later, we got the good news that Tünde, his wife, was pregnant with their first child.

I’m a bit jealous that I can’t be there withy them right now, but it fills me with so much joy to see these guys who now carry that baton, going for it with all they’ve got. It is a good feeling when something you started takes on a life of its own.

How did I know it was time to leave Hungary?

My wife and I were missionaries in Hungary for over 10 years, where we were doing church planting and humanitarian work with Calvary Chapel. In 2012, we moved from Eger, Hungary to Longmont, CO.

A friend recently asked me how I knew it was time to leave Hungary, and how God spoke to me and led me during that transition. I thought that a video blog would be the best forum for answering that question. Check out my response in this video.

If you have any questions about this topic, leave a comment below – and if you have any questions you’d like me to answer here on the blog, feel free to email me at nick [at] whitefieldschurch.com