• Pray for reconciliation among those still traumatized by the bitterness of a devastating ethnic-religious war.
• Pray for the rebuilding of a shattered economy and even the desire of the people to do so.
• Pray for Christ’s love to penetrate the hardened hearts of many who are spiritually unresponsive.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is one country divided into two separate governmental entities and populated by three ethnic groups with strong cultural identities- Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims), Croats and Serbs. This triangular shaped country on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe is bordered by Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. In determining whether to separate from Yugoslavia in 1991, Bosnia and Herzegovina became involved in a devastating three-year civil war. Fighting broke out along ethnic lines where few cultural differences had previously existed. The war left over 200,000 people dead, half the population displaced, and much of the country's infrastructure and economy destroyed. The 1995 Dayton Peace Accord ended the war and established a governmental plan to include all three ethnic factions.
The new plan called for dividing the country into two entities - the Bosnian-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Bosnian Serb Republic or Republika Srpska. Each entity has its own governing powers with a central Bosnian government having three presidents - one from each ethnic group - who rotate every eight months. International peacekeepers from NATO and more recently the European Union have helped stabilize the country, but with unemployment as high as 50-70% in some areas, addressing economic issues is a priority. Bosnia and Herzegovina's desire to be a part of the European Union is a big motivation to improve the economy, but greater steps toward resolving the ethnic divisions will be needed before acceptance.
Religion also divides the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Traditionally, Bosniaks are Muslim, Serbs are Eastern Orthodox, and Croats are Roman Catholic. Religion is an important part of each group's national identity and culture. Constituting four percent of the population of four million, with only 800-1,000 evangelicals, Protestants are often viewed suspiciously. Evangelicals have had some success in reaching across ethnic lines, but one obstacle to evangelism has been the lack of Christian literature in the Bosnian language, including a translated Old Testament. The availability of affordable Bosnian Bibles and Christian literature would provide all denominations with additional resources to bring the Christian message of hope to the hurting people of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Capital City: Sarajevo
Government: Emerging Federal Democratic Republic
Major People Groups: 48% Bosnian, 37% Serb, 14% Croat
Religion: 40% Muslim, 31% Orthodox, 15% Catholic, 14% Other
GDP Per Capita: $5,600
Literacy Rate: 96.7%
If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. - John 14:14
Source: The Heart of Worship (Serbian language): mmmcculloch3