Love For the Balkan People
We went out to dinner with a local pastor and his wife tonight. We heard him speak on Saturday night in a smaller village church. He spoke about how Paul sent Timothy to the church in Thessalonica as an encouragement and to see how they were doing as a church after Paul and his team had been ran out (1 Thess 2 and 3). We don’t know what Timothy did to be an encouragement necessarily, but it begs the question, how can we see ourselves as encouragers, or Timothy to the church here? Paul speaks to the church with so much love and he reflects on their relationship with joy and such pride in how they accepted the word of God.
I have my own love and joy when I think of the Balkan area and this short term visit here has been a reminder that God has placed a special love for the people here on my heart. The difficulty and hardness of the soil here is heard in the pastors description of the ups and downs of church attendance or steadfast faith of the attendees and it pains me to hear his discouragement. Our small team of six was equal in number to the believers sitting in church next to us on Saturday, and tonight, he asked us, "How big is your church?" A common question from believers here, but not the time to exaggerate. Even an honest and underestimated answer can feel braggy.
The pastor spoke and asked about ways that Satan discourages the believers and you might guess that they are much the same as we experience: shame, doubt, bitterness, anger, resentment, laziness, fear...you name it. Add that on to years of human rights atrocities, oppression, recent war trauma, poverty, genocide in the name of religion... Things get difficult really quickly. We must be praying for Bosnians to be released from Satan's grip in these areas and that there would be spiritual breakthrough in the hearts and minds of the unreached.
Paul shares his desire to see the Thessalonians face to face again and this is my prayer for the Bosnians tonight as I write this:
"Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints."
“In no other way can the believer become as fully involved with God’s work, especially the work of world evangelism, as in intercessory prayer.” — Dick Eastman
- Kadie Warner