“We serve together” in south Serbia
by Laurie Lind, Entrust staff writer
“Dear friends, sisters and brothers, I hope that this letter will find you in a healthy environment and with God's blessing.” So begins a ministry letter from Pastor Danijel in Lebane, Serbia.
Pastor Danijel is what we at Entrust call a third-generation ministry learner and leader. He is a faithful young man who has received training from second-generation learners in Bulgaria and Romania, who themselves were trained by first-generation learners from Entrust and other ministries. Now Danijel, his wife Alexendra and their team are shepherding a congregation called Radostna Vest (Way of Joy) Evangelical Church in Lebane, Serbia, and planting a new church in a nearby village.
Pastor Danijel’s letter continues, joyfully describing the church plant.
“What is our mission in the south of Serbia is to establish more house groups and churches. Thank God, he leads that we can serve in various villages. We have been serving in the village of Brijanje for several years, but this summer we were able to build a church building there. This is a real miracle for us, but everything is possible for God.”
Of Serbia’s nearly 7 million people, 1% or less are evangelical Christians. Many Serbs see churches like Radostna Vest as a sect and sometimes make things difficult. Yet, the congregation presses on.
Radostna Vest held a youth camp during the summer of 2021, designed to encourage and refresh each of the young people in their walks with God. In September of 2021, the church celebrated the baptism of nine believers. Currently, the church runs a kindergarten where children gain basic early education and begin to learn about the Bible. The kindergarten is outgrowing its current space and staff, so the search is underway for more teachers and meeting space.
Nik Nedelchev, a second-generation learner and Entrust staff member from Bulgaria, is one of those who traveled to Lebane and Lescovac, another south Serbian city, over the course of five years to train leaders. Nik, his wife Grace and a few additional Bulgarians, at least one Romanian and one American, trained some 20 leaders in these cities, including Pastor Danijel, using six ministry courses which were translated into Serbian for regional use.
The main idea, Nik says, was to, “transfer all the responsibility to the local people who had been trained, just as quickly as possible.” That is exactly what has been done. Plus.
“These people have big hearts for evangelism,” Nik says. “They started new Bible study groups in new places and planted three churches.”
That Pastor Danijel has caught this vision is evident, as his letter continues.
“We worked to build individuals so that they could lead and serve in various places and home groups in the villages. Our enjoyment is to invest and work with individuals who will serve God. We can already see the fruits of that, so we are determined to continue doing discipleship and investing in young people.”
His conclusion applies to all of us.
“Pray for us as we pray for you. We serve together in the kingdom of our Lord.”