|Republic of Croatia|
Area 56,438 sq.km. Crescent-shaped country between the Danube River and Adriatic Sea. The land is almost bisected by Bosnia.
Capital Zagreb 1,060,000. Urbanites 54%.
Slavic 94.5%. Croat 3,887,000; Serb 220,000 (600,000 in 1990); Bosnian 120,000.
Romance 3.1%. Istrian 166,000; Italian 14,000; Friulian 11,000.
Other 2.4%. Gypsy(4) 131,000; German 80,000; Hungarian 20,000.
Literacy 97%. Official language Croatian closely related to Serbian but written in Latin rather than Cyrillic script.
A slow recovery from long-term Communist mismanagement and the four-year war with Serbia. Once fairly prosperous through industry and tourism on the popular Adriatic coast. Purchase of weapons, massive destruction and population movements have crippled development. Unemployment 19%. HDI 0.773; 55th/174. Public debt 22% of GNP. Income/person $3,800 (13% of USA).
Over 1600 years of Great Power rivalries lie behind the division between the related Croat and Serb peoples. Their mutual hatred dominated the politics of the former Yugoslavia and was one of the causes of the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Croatia lost much land to Serbia in 1991-1995, but regained it all through diplomacy and war 1995-98. A multi-party democracy, but it has been tainted by dictatorial nationalism.
Freedom of religion, but there is a blurred boundary between the state and the favoured Catholic church. Yet, the Catholic leadership has been at the forefront of reconciliation and justice issues.
1 The deep impact of historic and recent hatred between Croat, Serb and Bosnian on every aspect of national life could continue to hamper the affected nations for generations to come. Only through Christ can true reconciliation be achieved.
2 The link between ethnicity and religion for Orthodox Serbs, Muslim Bosnians and Catholic Croats has stifled any spiritual breakthroughs. The Balkan Wars since 1991 have helped some of those who have suffered most to be more open to change. Pray for the breaking of all satanic bondages and cultural blindnesses that prevent people from repentance and personal faith in Christ.
3 Evangelical Christians have emerged as one of the only trans-ethnic bodies that have ministered to refugees of all communities. Hundreds of Bosnians, Croats and Serbs have been won to Christ and brought to fellowshipping together. The compassionate ministry of both foreign and indigenous church/mission agencies such as the Baptists, the Lutherans and AGAPE (the social arm of the Evangelical Church) in dispensing aid, giving trauma therapy and loving those who have suffered, has won much credit for the gospel. Pray for these ongoing outreaches and their lasting spiritual impact.
4 Evangelical churches have always been few in number and stronger amongst minorities, but there has been growth during the 1990s among the Croat majority. In many areas, such as Istria, Dalmatia and Zagorjé in the west and on the coast, there are very few churches. Pray for effective church planting in every part of Croatia.
5 Leadership training. The impact of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek has been great. From small beginnings in 1972 (under Communism) it has grown into an international, interdenominational school impacting much of Central Europe as well as Croatia. Many fruitful ministries have had their birth within it. Pray for the continued spiritual fruitfulness and theological health of faculty, students and graduates now serving in 27 countries.
6 Foreign mission agencies have increased personnel in Croatia, most missionaries being involved in ministry to the refugees and traumatized, or in church-support. Pray for a healthy, wholesome partnership with the Croatian Church. Main mission-sending agencies are CCCI (28), OM (10), GEM (6), AoG (5) and International Needs (5).
b) Izvori Publishing House of the Evangelical Church publishes literature and 3 Christian magazines. It also has a radio ministry, Izvori-Vjere, broadcasting over 52 stations in Croatia and Bosnia. Pray for the healthy development of literature and radio ministries.
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