… Ibro has no hope.
The Good News that offers true hope should have reached his village centuries ago.
… It didn’t.
By the end of the Apostle Paul’s life he was able to say that the Gospel had been preached in Illiricum, and that he had sent Titus to Dalmatia. Ibro’s village is only a few hours away by modern transportation... but somehow, the Gospel never traveled those last few miles. The villages of Bosnia are still in darkness...seemingly forgotten.
Perched atop a steep Bosnian mountain, Jezcica (Jezh CHEAT suh) is much the same as thousands of other Bosnian villages. The rocky soil produces only sparse grass and vegetation for their families and their livestock. Winters are harsh. Life is simple…but very hard. Work consumes their time and ages them prematurely. Despite their difficult life, traditions are more important than work. The time-honored tradition of hospitality is strong, and there’s always time to visit and drink coffee. Ibro’s life is not very different from his father’s…or his grandfather’s. Generations have lived and died in the tiny village where his forefathers embraced Islam hundreds of years ago, and where Ibro still follows blindly in their traditions.
Ibro is a shepherd. He understands how a shepherd must provide for and protect his sheep. From dawn until dark, his days are spent in leading his sheep to pasture and water, or, if his son from another village can care for the sheep, Ibro leads the cattle out to a nearby hillside to graze. He takes good care of his livestock...but he doesn’t really know that there is another Shepherd - the Great Shepherd - who longs to do the same things for him.
Jezcica is only about 40 miles from the capital city of Sarajevo in distance... but until recently, it was isolated, untouched ...a place where time stood still...waiting. Even the 1984 Olympic Games … held in Sarajevo … had little impact on Ibro’s village— but civilization burst suddenly upon them in 1991, as war engulfed the country. Their home was burned, one son was killed, they were forced to flee. Since the war, Ibro and his wife, Fata, (FAH-tuh) have tried to rebuild their lives as they were before the war...but too many things have changed. Ibro, like thousands of other Bosnians, feels hopeless and forgotten.
A few months ago, Ibro and Fata’s family saw the Jesus video. Ibro was deeply moved by the story. At the end, he said, “This film has opened my eyes.” He wanted to know more and asked for a Bible. When the New Testament became available in the Bosnian language for the very first time in 2002, Ibro and Fata were among the first to receive it. But he still has not given his life to the Great Shepherd.
Are the people of Jezcica forgotten?
Overlay: Will you remember?
Will you remember Ibro and Fata and the thousands like them?
Overlay: Will you pray?
Will you pray that they would understand that the Good Shepherd is waiting for them to come to Him? Will you intercede so that the Gospel will travel those last few miles to the forgotten villages of Bosnia? Will you pray?
Closing Overlay: How will YOU be involved?
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