Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia has a tragic history of violence. The hatred among ethnic groups burdens Bosnia and appears impossible to resolve. Recovery from the most recent conflict (1992-1995) continues even now. Many have not returned to their original homes. Roads and buildings can be rebuilt, but deep community wounds remain. Only God can bring true reconciliation and unity.
Bosnia also struggles with poverty. Organized crime thrives, and it must be stopped for the country to progress. Young people feel discouraged, and more than 60% want to leave the country. Pray for a new generation of Bosnians to stay and lead their nation into a bright future!
Religious communities are as entrenched as ever and deeply divided along ethnic lines. Orthodoxy has been subverted by Serb nationalism, and Catholicism by Croat nationalism. Militant Wahhabism from the Middle East (that has bankrolled the rapid rebuilding of mosques, many illegally) is replacing the previously European, Sufi-influenced moderate Islam of Bosnia. A precious few are building bridges across religious divides. All groups view Protestants and Independents suspiciously. Pray for the Spirit to move powerfully among all Churches and for Christians to recognize that their citizenship lies first in Heaven.
Evangelical believers have increased significantly but still represent only a miniscule proportion of the population. From three congregations in 1991, there are now about 35. Only evangelicals are effectively bridging the ethnic fault lines. Baptists and Pentecostals predominate, but several other smaller churches are also at work. Baptists run a seminary in Sarajevo, and both Pentecostals and Baptists have Bible schools. An Evangelical Alliance has been founded for Bosnia. Pray for believers and their witness in this divided land. Bosnia is not a spiritually receptive place; pray that many hearts might open to the gospel.
From Operation World, 7th Edition, by Jason Mandryk. Copyright (c) 2010 by Jason Mandryk. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL, USA. www.ivpress.com