Tensions and the Gospel grow side-by-side in Kosovo

By August 24, 2018

Kosovo (MNN) — Serbia and Kosovo have long been at odds, but recent talk of a “land swap” is ratcheting up tensions.

In a few weeks, Serbia’s president will meet with his Kosovar counterpart to discuss Serbia’s “guidelines and directions of state policy towards Kosovo”. Both want to join the European Union (EU), but there’s a catch — the two leaders first need to agree on Kosovo’s sovereignty and borders.

(Map credit CIA World Factbook)

It’s a decade-old disagreement, and experts like this one say redrawing the map will only make things worse. The recent shift toward diplomacy already has some groups on-edge in Kosovo.

However, not all of the government’s alterations are making people unhappy. Pierre Houssney of Horizons International says one change is actually working in their favor.

“There has recently been a shift in the government of accepting the evangelical Christian movement,” he explains. “There is a parliament member, a Muslim parliament member, who spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the evangelical church.

“He said that the evangelicals in Kosovo are the future of Kosovo.”

Growing pains

Kosovo’s history is full of struggle. Nation heads have fought to control the small Balkan realm for centuries. “The Albanians were one of last kingdoms the Muslims were able to take over when they were expanding and trying to get into Europe,” says Houssney, referring to the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

In February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence. And, while the constitution defines Kosovo as a “secular state,” its population is 95% Muslim. Houssney says many of them are coming to Christ.

“The Kosovar people, the Albanian people, are still quite open to the Gospel,” he shares.

“We need the Christian community to wake up and realize what a strategic place this is; a beachhead in the Muslim world.”

Horizons International is at the forefront of the Church’s growth in Kosovo. They’ve been partnering with Kosovar believers since 1994. In December 2017, after years of growth and struggle, Christians finished work on the largest evangelical church in Kosovo.

Read the complete journey here.

“It’s exciting because it’s a fully-indigenous church from a Muslim background,” Houssney says. “They are now planting churches and ministry centers around Kosovo among the Albanian Muslim people group that they come from.”

Supporting the Church in Kosovo

Although the building is up and its doors are open, work isn’t completely done yet. Houssney says their partners need $150,000 to finish the interior of the church’s top two floors. They also need to purchase land and install a parking lot nearby. You can help them finish the project here.

Though the church’s doors opened in December 2017, some interior work remains.
(Photo courtesy Horizons International)

“This is a really amazing church because it is one of the most developed Muslim-background church movements,” says Houssney. “All the leadership of the church are Muslim-background, indigenous people, and they even have a mind for missions.

“They’re going out into other villages and they’re starting to plant churches…just as the Muslims are going in and building mosques.”

Additionally, translation teams working with the newly-established Kosovo Bible Society are starting to translate God’s Word into modern Albanian. This will serve as an essential resource as Albanian Muslims seek to understand the Gospel in their heart language.

“Pray about getting behind this movement to Christ among this Muslim people,” requests Houssney.

See how you can partner with Horizons in Kosovo.


Header photo credit Baudouin via Flickr.

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