| · Note: We last prayed for Kosovo in 2001. God is answering!
Kosova or Kosovo?
This region of the Balkans, known as Kosovo by Serbs and Kosova by Albanians, has been part of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Empires. Kosovo became part of Serbia before the First World War and Yugoslavia just after it.
Since June 1999, it has been under United Nations administration, following the extreme ethnic violence between the Serbs and Kosovar Albanians, which began in 1998 and resulted in several thousand deaths and numerous refugees. The European Union is playing a major role in its reconstruction; over the past few years, Kosovo has become increasingly peaceful.
Christianity in Pristina
Here is a report from some Christians who visited Kosovo recently: “We spent most of our time with one of the congregations in Pristina, the capital. We were amazed at the hunger for the gospel and the openness to discuss Christ. Wherever we went, we had great freedom to share the gospel and gave out many Bibles and tracts. One brother held seminars at a university campus, which were attended by about 100 people each time. When some Muslim fundamentalists were disruptive, this only encouraged those disillusioned by Islam. Afterwards, Albanian believers shared their faith with boldness!”
Christian Growth in Kosovo
In the last 10 years, one movement of Kosovar Christians has witnessed numbers increase from three people to hundreds (possibly 500) and from one church to over 30. This group started meeting in one room, without a car, with little money, and walked for hours each day visiting people all over their city. They published 60 books and booklets, as well as a Christian magazine, covering many topics, from apologetics to the Christian life.
The Indigenous Mission Movement in Kosovo
Some former Muslim Kosovars have even been involved in missions. Recently, six of them joined a team of Western Christians and spent a week in Istanbul. They walked the streets, handed out Christian literature, and talked to Muslims. The Kosovars were very touched to see that the Turks, who originally brought Islam to Kosovo, were open to the gospel and wanted to know more about Jesus. As God worked in their hearts, the Kosovar believers gave up negative attitudes and were filled with compassion and love for Muslim Turks.
Prayer guide for Kosovo:
* Thank the Lord for the positive things happening in Kosovo.
* New Kosovar believers need teaching and discipleship training. Pray that the new believers will continue to grow in the knowledge of God and become even more effective in proclaiming their faith.
* Pray that the Lord will continue to create an even greater spiritual hunger among the Muslim Kosovars.
* Pray that the Kosovar believers would be filled with God’s wisdom and be a light and source of hope to their people and their land.
Background on Kosovo (World Factbook)
The central Balkans were part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires before ethnic Serbs migrated to the territories of modern Kosovo in the 7th century. During the medieval period, Kosovo became the center of a Serbian Empire and saw the construction of many important Serb religious sites, including many architecturally significant Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The defeat of Serbian forces at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 led to five centuries of Ottoman rule during which large numbers of Turks and Albanians moved to Kosovo. By the end of the 19th century, Albanians replaced the Serbs as the dominant ethnic group in Kosovo. Serbia reacquired control over Kosovo from the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan War of 1912. After World War II, Kosovo became an autonomous province of Serbia in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (S.F.R.Y.) with status almost equivalent to that of a republic under the 1974 S.F.R.Y. constitution. Despite legislative concessions, Albanian nationalism increased in the 1980s, which led to riots and calls for Kosovo’s independence. At the same time, Serb nationalist leaders, such as Slobodan MILOSEVIC, exploited Kosovo. War in the region fources some 800,000 Albaninas fro their homes leading to the 3-month NATO military operation against Serbia in 1999.
After years of negotiation, on 17 February 2008, the Kosovo Assembly declared Kosovo independent.
Economy of Kosovo
The complexity of Serbia and Kosovo’s political and legal relationships has created uncertainty over property rights and hindered the privatization of state-owned assets located in Kosovo. The majority of Kosovo’s population lives in rural towns outside of Kosovo’s largest city, Pristina, and inefficient, near-subsistence farming is common. Kosovo’s citizens are the poorest in Europe with an average annual per capita income of only $2,300. Unemployment, around 40% of the population, is a significant problem that encourages outward migration and black market activity.
Population: 1,836,529 (July 2012 est.) World rank #150
Ethnic groups: Albanians 92%, other (Serb, Bosniak, Gorani, Roma, Turk, Ashkali, Egyptian) 8%
Religions: Islam, Catholic, Serbian Orthodox
Languages: Albanian (official), Serbian (official), Bosnian, Turkish, Roma
Ripple effect warning of Kosovo independence – Video
After nine years of UN administration, Kosovo declares independence. But, in the international arena at least, the debate is not over with heated discussion on the possible petrifactions of the breakaway.