One of the realities that hits you when you visit Bosnia is that this is a spiritually dark country. But the darkness doesn't stop in the spiritual realm.
On Sunday, we went out to the west end of town and worshiped with the Ilidza church. For those of you that are familiar with the Bosnia church, you may be interested to know that this small church has moved to a larger facility in a more central location to the shopping and dining area of Ilidza. They are experiencing some moderate growth and have benefited from a partnership with another mission organization that uses their facility for mid-week children's programming. I had the honor of bringing the message during the service. At the end, Alliance worker Kathy Eikost was leading the congregation in a rousing version of "How Great Thou Art." During this same time, a a drug-related incident was occurring outside, not connected to the church. Just beyond the front door of the church, a man was stabbed in the leg. As we ended the church service, police were responding and putting up caution tape that blocked our way to the parking lot! Talk about an unexpected end to the morning. As you might imagine, our prayer walking in this area later that afternoon had a particular urgency to it!
Sunday night, we joined the church at Malta for their worship service, where Matt Howell of Tacoma both played bass and also did the preaching. It was great to reconnect with many in this group whom I have met on previous trips. Pray for Pastor Sasha as he leads this diverse group towards spiritual maturity and tries to build a greater passion for reaching their city.
Today (Monday) involved some prayer walking around downtown, visiting a local museum on the Srebrinca massacre (a tragedy of the Balkan war where Serbian forces killed over 8,000 Bosnian men and boys in a single day), and coffee with another local pastor named Slavko. His story of how he came to faith was a great encouragement to our team.
Please pray for us as we continue to serve here. Matt is leading a "Business Ethics" seminar for over 25 Bosnians tonight at the Izvor Center. This is a challenging topic in a country where bribery is the social norm and corruption in the political system is the norm. Pray that this topic will challenge those who attend, and that it will spark a spiritual curiosity in them.
Thank you for your prayers! Many blessings-