Norfolk Churches support good news in Serbia
Churches in Norfolk have supported Good News Church in Nis, Serbia, for many years; as more people come to know Christ and the economic climate in this country further deteriorates the church are looking for humanitarian aid and finance, Andy Latham reports.
15 years ago Vlada Stojanovic arrived in England to start church leadership training; his English born wife was here with their young daughter, he had recently finished a mechanical engineering degree and then completed his national service in the Serbian Army.
Vlada spent three and a half years working with churches in North Walsham and Aylsham before returning to Serbia with his wife, Sonja, his daughter Eva and son Milos, and Norfolk churches have continued to support him and the work the whole family are undertaking.
Nis is a southern Serbian town of over 350,000 and has an evangelical Christian population of less than 100, Vlada was following God’s calling to train in the UK and then return to his home country, plant churches and lead people to Christ.
“There is a lot of xenophobia in Serbia which means people will not go into a Christian church on Sunday, so our programmes give them a reason to come to us during the week” said Vlada, “we now see more non-Christians every week than Christians on a Sunday.”
Programmes include music workshops for teenagers where they are taught to play instruments and sing. Many find this ‘cool’ and choose to come along every week ignoring the many attractions of the city, and a few have taken the step to joining the church on Sunday mornings.
Multi Activity Days for children, known as MADDAY are always very popular for the children, their mothers and school teachers. Again, these people would not come along on a Sunday but during the week are more than happy to come into the church building, a building that was purchased with support from Norfolk churches and church members, where they enjoy crafts, games, friendship, fellowship and learn a little about Christ as they take part in the events.
Ladies Lunches are becoming an even bigger success. Once a month the church welcome ladies on a lunchtime who come along to socialise, eat and listen to a short evangelical message. Those who come along one month return with friends the next who are fully aware that this is a Christian event rather than the traditional orthodox religion. The church always try to provide an extensive lunch at these events and this could be the best lunch these ladies eat each month because of the very difficult economic climate that Serbia is experiencing.
Vlada and his team at Good News Church are also supporting a church plant in Kragujevic, a city in central Serbia with a population of nearly 300,000.
The church leader is an ex drug-addict, who along with his wife and three daughters invite friends and people from the streets with the result that Vlada is teaching to more and more non-Christians each month who always ask for more teaching and when he and the worship team are coming back next.
“It costs me around €100 each time,” said Vlada “we do not want to stop visiting, but the economic difficulties facing the country mean that this could soon be limited.”
The economy is at the front of Vlada’s thoughts right now, “there are so many in need that we cannot do enough for them all, but we can make an impact” he said, “we need to re-introduce humanitarian aid for those who are suffering - food parcels will be a great start”.
The challenge for Norfolk Christians is three fold:
Prayer - pray for funding, for growth, wisdom, and that schools will open up to the church.
Funding - humanitarian aid to support those going without food and travel costs to Kragujevic.
Visits - come and see what God is doing in Serbia and let your heart be captured.
“I want to get the windmills moving” said Vlada, “and I need God to blow into the sails, Norfolk can help”.
A recent video message from Good News Church that shows some of the outreach programmes that includes a personal message from Vlada can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIr7L-fiQqM&feature=youtu.be
If you want to know more about Good News Church and how you can help them further then please contact Vlada at firstname.lastname@example.org
The pictures show Vlada and some of the work of Good News Church.