Zijah and Lorena say, “In this hard time, God is giving us a great blessing.” The Coronavirus impacted Bosnia in 2020, but the growing church adapted. They’ve experienced growth, but with a flexible, creative attitude toward changing needs and requirements, “It was never like the time that we have now.”
The ministry in Bosnia shines as a beacon of Gospel purpose in the Pandemic. “We have a lot of new contacts, new people coming to church services; we already have people who would like to participate in the next season of theology lectures; there are new contacts in other towns that are open to studying Bible and regular visits; it is really an amazing time.”
How has this fellowship continued to serve migrant families while expanding their reach during the Pandemic?
Dying to Self All Day
To minister to needs and help people grow, while still complying with restrictions, the church held church services all day. “The biggest encouragement for us is that the majority of those things were not connected to any plans that we had before. It is a gift from God and we can see that God is working.” 45 minute services included prayer, a shortened sermon, and a single song for 4-5 people at a time. “It is hard for people who are leading a program because they have to repeat the same thing again and again and again,” but this allowed people to come all day.
Serving Special Needs Families
During COVID-19 the “Church is continuing to be very active, with no slowing down.” Church members started home visiting families with special needs. To love the families, the church took a group of children with special needs to the zoo.
“Practically all of them live in villages that are with [the Majority] population, without practically one single person who is from any other background. It would be great to use those visits for open doors… Right now we are just in the stage of building relationships with people and it is going well.”
Walking Through Open Doors
People are traveling far to come to gather, and one landlord has created challenges. The Bosnian fellowship is praying for a new place to meet in two different cities.. They are praying for new spaces closer to where people live. They are asking God for a place to freely minister to refugees, many coming from conflicts in the Middle East.
“We are continuing to encourage people to focus on God and not to focus on all problems surrounding us.”
Taking the Gospel with Technology
The church led by Zijah and Lorena began sending teaching to those who were cared for in Bosnia and migrated to other countries. At first, this provided teaching for personal devotions using WhatsApp. But people began to share the messages, using them for small prayer groups in migrant camps. In one place, a prayer group developed into a church gathering three times a week, attended by ten people and growing.
Now they record sermons for far away church meetings with mobile devices. Every Thursday and Sunday, new sermons are recorded for “Mobile Church.” Messages are sent to brothers and sisters now living in Western and Central Europe. Lorena says, “It is amazing that they all feel that their home church is in Bosnia.”
A missions movement ignited when Zijah, Lorena, and the members of their church began to serve those at their door and then adapted to create a Mobile Church. People who came to know Christ in Bosnia continue to grow after moving on to the United Kingdom, Spain, Slovakia, and Germany. “Yes, we know there are problems, but we know that God is bigger than all problems and that He is with us.”
Focusing in Trials
The people of the Bosnian church and those who have gone out from them have experienced trials brought on by the global Pandemic. Even so, the Bosnian leaders say, “Our church definitely feels blessed with new church planting projects, new people in our church, and all other projects. There is something much bigger and much better. I can say that the church is growing spiritually.”
For example, E “is the first Christian in her village, the first [non-Majority] person in all of her village. When she decided to be baptized, she was faced with pressure, insults, screaming and anger from her family. We told her that the goal is not to have time without problems, but to have a chance to show the love of God to her family.” Spiritual opposition adds to the challenges brought on by health and economic concerns. Still, Zijah and Lorena say, “Every week we can see that God is changing the lives of people and that they are relying on Him in spite of all opposition in their families. It is great to see that God is opening new doors and that the church is also growing in numbers.”
The church in Bosnia is growing in new ways. God is at work through their willingness to adapt ministry to divinely designed opportunities.
Would you join Zijah and Lorena by praying for God to provide for their needs, bless their flexibility, and multiply the movement of the Gospel from Bosnia?