Population: 3.7 million (2012)
Official language: Bosnian
Major religions: Islam, Orthodoxy, Catholicism
Bosnia and Herzegovina is still struggling to recover from war in the early 1990s. Ethnic divisions remain deeply rooted every aspect of life. The economy is weak, corruption is high, and unemployment hovers around 40%. The Evangelical church is very small, with less than 1% of the population.
IFES Movement in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- around 90,000 students in 15 universities across the country
- IFES is currently active in 2 cities, encouraging believing students in several other cities
- project to expand to at least one other city in the next two years
The greatest worry of students in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the difficulty of finding a job after graduation. They are frustrated by the injustices in their country, and the near-impossibility of gaining employment without paying large bribes.
This post-war generation has been raised in a world defined by ethno-religious divisions and infightings. While many students’ personal practice of Islam, Orthodoxy or Catholicism is weak, they still strongly identify with these groups and are thus extremely resistant to changing.
Bosnian culture is built around socialising in cafes. The IFES team is able to meet many students through a variety of activities and relationships, and invites these students to investigate Jesus. Many are curious, but seeing true life change is less common, in part because people fear that they will lose family, community and opportunities if they differ from the norm.
In the past few years the team has been investing in a small number of believing students and has been encouraging them to reach their friends. Simplifying activities, focusing on prayer ministry and starting Bible studies with the friends of students have been some encouraging developments. The team is working hard to persevere in an environment where many burn out, and a wholescale transformation of society is sorely needed.
- for the few believing students to be grounded in the Word, join God’s mission and become active witnesses;
- for new students to trust and follow Jesus and become examples to their communities;
- for deep transformation of political and social systems in the country;
- for the IFES team to stay spiritually healthy and persevere in joyful service.