Kosovo independence provides opportunities for the Gospel

By March 5, 2008

Kosovo (MNN) — Serbia's parliament is taking action against the European Union in the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence February 17. The E-U has come out in support of the declaration, which is drawing fire from Serbian and Russian authorities. Serbia's parliament is likely to adopt a resolution to reject all formal ties with the E-U until the block withdraws its support for Kosovo's independence.

The draft resolution was submitted Tuesday, which condemns the E-U's deployment of what they call an "illegal" mission to Kosovo and calls for the E-U to withdraw.

While northern border areas are seeing unrest, the rest of Kosovo is enjoying their new freedom, says Keith who's partnering with Send International.

"The majority of Kosovars are extremely happy. They've waited a long time for this. In recent histories they've been waiting three generations for independence."

Keith is helping with a church-planting and evangelism ministry in mostly-Muslim Kosovo. He says the war in 1998-99 provided many opportunities for outreach. "800,000 refugees went into Albania and Macedonia. For those who went into Albania, the first people to help them was a fledging Christian church in Albania. So for a Muslim people group to hear the Gospel was a big surprise."

Many came to Christ as a result of that outreach. Keith says there are many evangelical churches in Kosovo. However, he believes Kosovo's independence will provide more opportunities. "One of the key phrases in this whole declaration is that Kosovo is 'New Born.' I think there's the opportunity for the new birth of a godly nation."

While many Kosovars are open to the Gospel and believe it in their head, the Muslim culture makes change difficult. "That's the biggest battle, I think, for people to make a stand. Even though their heart is saying one thing, it's difficult to make that step to risk the security that the culture offers them if they conform," says Keith.

Kosovo's declaration has done little to fix high unemployment and other social issues. Keith says, "My hope is that people will pray and that the hope that these people are seeking right now, they'll realize that this world doesn't really offer what they're looking for," and they'll find it in Christ.

In the meantime, Keith is asking people to pray for their camping ministry that reaches out to people of all ages. He's praying it can be a place to help develop Christian leaders for the church and that eventually he'll be able to turn it over to the Kosovar church.

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