Area Intel on The Balkan Peninsula
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Who sinned, the Balkan peoples or their ancestors, that the region is engulfed in bitter fighting?
If the Balkan peoples were suffering on account of national, ancestral, or even original sin, then we Americans should be similarly distressed over sins against Indians, Africans, unborn children, and God. Does American peace and prosperity mean that our sins aren't as bad?
Jesus said about the tragedy of a blind man, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life." As the redemptive power of God was put on display in the life of a man born blind, so it is on display in the Balkans through Christian relief and development agencies. Jesus went on to say, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me" (Jn 9:4-5). God's glory can be displayed through us as well, when we support his work in the Balkans with prayer and giving. Jesus said, "You are the light of the world." Isaiah wrote that our light would break forth like the dawn when we share our food with the hungry, provide shelter for the wanderer, and clothe the naked (Is 58:6-8).
Current conflicts and, hence, ministry opportunities on the Balkan Peninsula are driven by the clashing of three great civilizations.
In The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order, Samuel P. Huntington says, "In the post-Cold War world, multiple communal conflicts have superceded the single superpower conflict. When these communal conflicts involve groups from different civilizations, they tend to expand and to escalate."
Nowhere is the reality of multiple communal conflict more volatile and pronounced than in former Yugoslavia, where Western Christian, Orthodox Christian, and Muslim civilizations converge; where cultural fault lines between Ottoman, Byzantine, and Holy Roman empires still endure.
No peacekeeping or ministry proceeds in the Balkans without encountering these civilizational affinities. Greece and Russia support the Serbs. Western Europeans support the Croats. Iran and Saudi Arabia send arms and finances to Bosnian and Albanian Muslims.
Stemming genocide here, as opposed to worse genocide elsewhere, interests the United States because America depends on Middle Eastern allies to contain Saddam Hussein.
Although Christianity flourished in spite of persecution in Romania and Bulgaria, the rest of the Balkan Peninsula has been a spiritual wasteland. Pioneers estimates fewer than fifty believers reside in the entire province of Montenegro. In Slovenia, evangelicals number less than one-fifth of one percent. Bosnia holds fewer than one thousand believers in a population over four million, and Serbia holds fewer than ten thousand among eight million. Evangelicals in Greece are fewer than two-tenths of one percent, and less than two percent of Greece's mainly Orthodox Christian population attends any church at all.
But the light is growing. Albania was once the darkest corner of Europe. As a self-professed atheistic state it brutally suppressed all religion. Ten years ago it had no churches and only six known believers. By 1999, Albania had 154 congregations and 7,500 believers. Though still less than one quarter percent of the population, that represents an annual growth rate of 100 percent!
Meanwhile, in Kosovo, among people of the same culture and language under Serbian domination, Christian growth was stagnant. Kosovar knowledge of Christianity came from stories of the Crusades and experience with Orthodox Serbs. When Kosovars fled Serbian atrocities, many discovered the difference between genuine faith and the cultural kind. They not only heard the gospel but they saw it in action through the ministry of relief agencies and Albanian congregations.
Today the demand from inside Kosovo for workers to disciple, shepherd, and train new believers in newly established congregations is overwhelming missionary sending agencies.
Resouce Contact Information
Resource Contact Information Resource Phone Number Web Site JESUS Video in Balkan Languages 1-800-560-8713 www.jesusfilm.org Balkan Language Scripture Audio Tapes 1-760-745-8105 www.gospelcom.net/asi Gospel Broadcasting in Balkan Languages 1-719-548-7490 www.wb2000.org Balkan Language Scriptures From:
International Bible Society
American Bible Society
Scripture Gift Mission
Christian Literature in Balkan Languages 1-717-738-0582 www.multilanguage.com Unreached Peoples
Ministry Tools and Information
1-303-730-4170 www.calebproject.org Video
"A Hope and a Future for Bosnia"
Agency Contact Information
Agency Contact Information Agency Location/s Phone Number Web Site Ambasadors for Christ Int'l Croatia, Kosovo, Romania 1-770-980-2020 www.afcinternational.org Campus Crusade for Christ Int'l Albania 1-407-826-2800 www.ccci.org Catholic Relief Servicies all Balkan countries 1-800-736-3467 www.catholicrelief.org CBI Albania, Slovenia 1-720-283-2000 www.cbi.org Christian Aid Mission Albania, Croatia, Macedonia 1-800-977-5650 www.christianaid.org Christian & Missionary Alliance Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia 1-719-599-5999 www.cmalliance.org Frontiers Albania, Kosovo 1-800-GO-2-THEM www.frontiers.org Greater Europe Mission all Balkan countries 1-800-GEM-4488 www.gemusa.org Horizons International Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia 1-303-442-3333 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org International Teams Albania 1-800-323-0428 www.iteams.org Mission Possible Albania, Bulgaria 1-800-729-2425 www.mp.org Mission to Unreached Peoples Albania, Kosovo 1-888-847-6950 www.mup.org New Beginnings Children's Home Albania 01252-333233 (UK) www.kingscare.org Operation Mobilization Bosnia, Macedonia 1-770-631-0432 www.usa.om.org Pioneers Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo 1-800-755-7284 www.pioneers.org SBC - IMB Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo 1-804-219-1000 www.imb.org SEE Teams Albania, Croatia 1-941-795-1314 www.seeteams.com TEAM Albania, Croatia 1-800-343-3144 www.teamworld.org Team Expansion Bosnia, Kosovo 1-502-297-0006 www.teamexpansion.org Trans World Radio Serbo-Croatian Broadcasts 1-800-456-7897 www.twr.org UFM International Bosnia 1-610-667-7660 www.ufm.org World Relief Refugee Resettlement 1-800-665-0235 www.wr.org World Vision Community Development 1-888-511-6565 www.wvi.org