Country Profile: Croatia
Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Croatia focused its attention on trying to oust the Serbs in a dreadful war lasting until 1997, towns and villages in the north of the country were completely devastated and deserted and unemployment in many places rose to 100%. Today, tourism along the coastline is aiding the economic recovery, and Croatia is currently preparing to join the European Union.
Alpha and Outreach
Since providing training in how to run Alpha and funding for the translation of materials, churches across Croatia are discovering that the Alpha Course is one of the best ways to reach their communities with the good news of Jesus. The fantastic news is that they are so united in their vision to reach others; they have teamed up withthe Alpha teams in Serbia and Bosnia to create a regional Alpha office.
Our church partners in Split and in Vukovar believe that working with children is a priority for the church, and summer camps can play a key part in developing the spiritual lives of children and young people. Thatʼs why they run summer camps every year, and why we provide funding to help towards the cost of these camps – giving children the opportunity for fun, games, and to hear about Godʼs love for them.
Support for the Poor
The town of Vukovar is close to the border of Serbia, and was therefore under siege in the 1990s, leading to the town being deserted for seven years. Those who eventually returned had to start to build the economy from scratch.
We provide funding for a church to buy and distribute food to those who still struggle to feed their families through the winter in this fledgling economy. Not only does this take away the stress of choosing between feeding your family or heating your home, it also helps to boost the local economy!
Strengthening the Church
Christianity was banned under communism and this has led to an acute shortage of trained, mature Christian leaders today. Churches are often led by men in the 30s, often with no formal teaching or training, yet with the responsibility of leading others.
Transform Europe Now has sponsored key people in the church in Croatia to gain theological education – providing them with the resources they need to run their churches effectively for God.
With the outbreak of war in 1991, we were able to help those who were suffering its effects in a small way by sending a plane packed full of aid into the capital, Zagreb. Churches in Zagreb were then able to visit towns and villages across Croatia to distribute much needed food, blankets and other aid to people who were suffering the effects of the devastation.
A couple in the northeast of Croatia felt called to plant a church in a village about 30 kilometres from their home, as they knew there were believers there who did not have transport to enable them to attend any church meetings. We found them a link to enable them to receive regular financial support, and they were freed to continue with ministries in their home town, as well as planting a new church as they felt called. This church is now flourishing, and with Godʼs provision they continue to benefit from the knowledge of regular income to provide for their family.