This is a little long, but it’s important. The following comes from the newly formed national church organization in Kosova. We are trying to call people to a day of fasting and prayer on January 31st. There are a number of very important prayer requests, especially for the new law that I mentioned here.
During the Kosovo crisis in 1999 Kosova was in the main news worldwide because of the war and tragedy. It was then that we asked our brothers and sisters around the world to join us for an International Day of Prayer and Fasting for Kosova on the 31st of January 1999. Now after 7 years many things have changed, but still there is a need for lots of prayer...
The Christians of Kosova need your prayers and support! Please join us in praying for:
Spiritually, Kosova contains about 2 million predominantly Muslim Albanians and over one hundred thousand Serbs who are Orthodox Christians. The Protestant-Evangelical Christian church in Kosova is very small and under pressure.
Many Kosovar Albanians have a hatred of Christianity as they were oppressed by the former Serbian (Orthodox Christian) regime. Albanians believe that whatever your religion is, to change it is a shameful thing. Muslims that accept Christ as their Saviour will bring shame on their families and face persecution from their community.
Politically, Kosova was a self-governing province of Yugoslavia enjoying significant autonomy before Slobodan Milosevic came to power in 1987. This autonomy was removed and Kosovo was made a province under the direct rule of Serbia. Even though the majority of the population of Kosovo was Albanian, the Serbian minority held most of the important positions in law enforcement and administration.
In 1998-1999, thousands of Albanians were driven out of Kosova by Serbian military forces. NATO subsequently authorized air strikes and by summer 1999 the Serbian military was forced to retreat.
On the 10th of June 1999, with resolution 1244, the UN Security Council authorized the establishment of an interim international civilian administration in Kosova. Subsequently, the UN administration has given back substantial autonomy to the people of Kosovo and the last stage of the UN Mission's mandate in Kosovo is to finalize Kosova's future political status. This future status is now the subject of intense diplomatic activity.
Economically, the challenges Kosova faces today are huge. The situation is serious. Following the economic crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, the economy in the post-war period has depended overwhelmingly on remittances from family members working aboard sending money home, as well as international assistance. Relative to the present size of Kosovo economy, the public sector is unsustainably large, and the continuing decline in international aid means that urgent investment is needed. Present rates of unemployment and underemployment are at crisis levels.
The current system of government in Kosovo is very new and untested. Many new laws and regulations have been passed already under the scrutiny of the UN Administration.
However, the Provisional Government of Kosovo is proposing to enact a new Law on Religion that will require the Protestant Church to register as a religious community. A condition is being placed on registration that will require a stated minimum number of 2,000 Protestant Christians to declare themselves as such in a forthcoming census. However, many are afraid of the consequences if they publicly declare that they are Christians. It will be difficult for the church to reach the required number and comply. The church in Kosova is having a hard time because of disagreements with different institutions about our position. There are some serious attempts to isolate and consider the Evangelical Church in Kosova as a "new sect".
Please pray that God will intervene and that this hurdle will be overcome.
As we write this letter Kosova is in 15 days of mourning as last week President Ibrahim Rugova died. He was a leader and an incredible president for 16 years. Many internationals have called him the Father of the Kosovar Nation. People are concerned that his death can cause troubles in Kosova. He has been known for his pro-Christian attitude and he was always willing to meet with church representatives at all times. Over five Hundred thousand people came to Prishtina to pay tribute to the “man of independence” for Kosova
Please pray for a new President that will be elected next week, and that he will continue to support Christianity.
We once again ask all of you, brothers and sisters, to join Christians in Kosova on January 31st on an International Day of Prayer and Fasting, to remember Kosova in your prayers in this crucial time.
1. For our political leaders, especially now after the death of our President. Pray that the new president will be a God chosen person.
2. Pray for negotiations regarding the final status of Kosova that are planned to begin soon. There is a huge difference between what Albanians and Serbs want so lets pray that God will provide the best solution for this land.
3. Let's pray that regarding the political solutions Kosova will remain a free country for Christian work and witness.
4. Let us pray that whatever the final law on religious freedoms would be it will enable us to freely exercise our faith and worship Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
5. Recently we have experienced a media campaign against our community. Let us pray for God's protection and His strengthening to all of us, Pastors, Leaders, missionaries and all Christian believers in our country.
6. Please pray for our witness and evangelism of our churches. Pray that 2006 will be a year of spiritual awakening and growth .
7. Pray for our discipleship ministries and for God to multiply Kosovan leaders in our churches. Pray for new pastors, new preachers, new worship leaders, evangelists, etc, among Kosovar Christians.
8. Pray for unity among Christians and churches in our country. We want to be one in God. Pray that we will have God's unity that will
show His glory.
9. Pray for the Council of Ministers of the Kosova Protestant Evangelical Church (KPEC), that God will give us wisdom and guidance as we serve our Christian comunity. Please pray that God will keep us humble and that we may seek Him above anything else.
10. Please pray for KPEC that it will be a real Body of Christ in Kosova and not just an organization. Please pray that everyone within KPEC will experience God' blessings as a family of God.
Together in Christ,
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of KPEC
Kisha Protestante Ungjillore ne Kosove
The Protestant Evangelical Church in Kosova