Dispelling the Darkness
           Video Download

                       28 Jan 2008


Part 1 4:30

 dark city skyline with minarets…words: …the people living in darkness…

         sound: call to prayer

          Title --

 For over a thousand years, the Balkan people have been oppressed by towering political and religious systems…one powerful conqueror after another…each casting a shadow over this land.


 When the first major power, the Roman Empire, split apart, the people of the western Balkans were aligned with the Roman Catholic Church, those in the east with the Greek Orthodox Church, and the area known today as Bosnia became both  …and … neither.  In the resulting spiritual vacuum, an indigenous group emerged known as the Bogomils, whose burial stones still remain. With the invasion of the Ottoman Turks, many converted to Islam.

 The strangling (hated) domination of the Austro-Hungarian Empire exploded into World War I when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on a bridge crossing the Miljacka River in Sarajevo.

. Two world wars further split the ethnic groups as the Croats fought with the Nazis, and the Serbs resisted German occupation. Following World War II, the dictatorial leadership of Marshal Tito forced the political unification of the country into what became known as Yugoslavia.  With the death of Tito, the hostilities and suspicions held back by the power of his dictatorship erupted once again as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate.


 When Bosnia declared its independence in 1992, the coexistence of three ethnic/religious groups there became a breeding ground for internal and external pressures, plunging the area into a war of ethnic cleansing and death …a three-way battle between the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.  In April 1992, the city of Sarajevo was surrounded by heavy artillery on the mountains and the nightmare of the longest seige in modern history began. It would last 1,395 days. Every day 4,000 shells hit the city, systematically targeting hospitals, schools, mosques, libraries, public buildings, and even ordinary people standing in line for bread and water.  The patterns left in the cement by exploding grenades, called “Sarajevo Roses”, the bullet-riddled buildings, the grim, silent graveyards and the estimated 3 million hidden land mines, provide constant reminders of the reality of the nightmare. The painful memories will not go away.

 Bosnian Muslims call themselves “survivors” … and rightly so.  For over three years, these Bosniak struggled to survive.  Getting food and water often meant risking ones life.  Park benches, trees, and pages of treasured books disappeared as the cold winters intensified the suffering.  Food and water had to be smuggled into the city and dandelions often meant the difference between a full stomach and an empty one.  Parks became cemeteries. Even as citizens sought to bury their dead, the snipers continued to kill, forcing them to dig graves at night. Bosnia had truly entered the shadow of death. The horrors of this war can be seen in the eyes and heard from the lips of Bosniaks…

 “Sometimes I just have the feeling the sniper is watching me from the hill and can shoot me whenever he likes.  My forehead begins to itch at the place where I expect the bullet…we shut our ears to the gunfire.  We spend hours fetching water, looking for food. We live for today and can only hang on to dreams about the future. But I still love Sarajevo.”

 -----Lejla, age 20

 All over Bosnia there are reminders of death and destruction.  Whole villages were wiped out, thousands killed; homes, factories and machinery were destroyed.  Nearly 100,000 Bosnian Muslims lost their lives.  Families have been forever separated by death and emigration. It is not just the physical death that casts its ugly shadow upon this land … there is spiritual death as well.


Part 2   2:30


 The Turkish influence is seen in Bosnian language, architecture, food, and dress…but nowhere as strongly as in the religion. Throughout the country mosques are ever present.  The faithful are called to prayer 5 times daily from loudspeakers mounted on the minarets of hundreds of mosques. For many Bosnians, being a Muslim dictates the kind of clothing they wear, the types of food they eat, the customs and holidays they observe, and the people they trust.  Even though many are nominal in their beliefs, the family values and structure, the culture, and the traditions are so intertwined with the Islamic religion, that to consider anything else is, for most Bosniaks, almost unthinkable.  Following the war, Islam has made giant strides  through educational thrusts, the growth of Young Muslim groups, and the building of new mosques.

 Because the Shadow of Islam covers them in the darkness of deception, the Bosniaks are without the True Light.  Of the two million Bosnian Muslims living in the country, very few have been identified as evangelical believers. (overlay numbers)  The Bosniaks have no peace, no inner joy, and no hope.  They are shackled by a burden larger than they can bear, by a religion that requires more than they can give. 


 The future does not look promising-- there are few jobs, all too often those with jobs do not get paid regularly, if at all. Half of the people are unemployed.  Many Bosnian Muslims see emigration as their only hope and wait in long lines to obtain visas to other countries. University students struggle to complete their degrees knowing that there is a slim chance of actually obtaining a job. Most of them want to leave Bosnia. Within Bosnia, there are still hundreds of thousands of displaced Bosniak who illegally occupy places left vacant by someone who was killed or emigrated. Evictions are common.  Corruption at all levels undermines economic growth. The people see little hope for a better future socially or economically and there is only false hope in their ritualistic devotion to Islam.  When asked about spiritual hope, the Bosniak simply reply, "Only God knows." They know nothing of the hope God has already provided through Jesus.


Part 3  4:40


 When the war ended in 1995, many government, private, and religious organizations assisted Bosniaks in rebuilding their homes and their lives.  Many evangelical churches and groups generously gave to provide food and shelter for this devastated area.  But material help is not all the believers brought – they also brought light.

 Emina lived in Sarajavo during this devasting war.  God answered her prayer by sending someone with the light:

  “…he opened the Bible and he stood up and read a verse that left me paralyzed.  He said, from John 8:12, “Jesus spoke to them again, ‘I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me shall not live in darkness but will have the light of life.’”  And, you know, in that very moment, I think my search was over.  I found God and He displayed His mighty power to me and I know He is the God that hears prayers, answers prayers and, most of all, He came down and saved me … and, as dark as it was that day, I got hope and I got light and I am blessed to be one of His ministers to be able to talk about that light and that joy to others … so praise God, He saved me.”

 Only the light of Jesus shining through His people will dispel the Shadows of Darkness engulfing the Bosnian Muslims.  Jesus quoted Isaiah 9:2 saying “ …the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16 NIV)  There are several small churches in Bosnia and believers are beginning to see their part in reaching out to their families and friends with the Good News that Jesus is the Light. Jesus – “the true light that gives light to every man” – has come into the world.” (John. 4:9 NIV)

 We rejoice that God’s Word has come to the Bosnian Muslims, as the very first Bosnian New Testament became available in 2002.  Never before have they had the Word of God in their own heart-language. With the distribution of New Testaments using volunteers and Bosnian believers, God’s Word is beginning to penetrate the clouds that have overshadowed the hearts of these people.

 The vision is to see indigenous and reproducing churches that will give every Bosnian Muslim the opportunity to worship God and exalt Jesus.

 The strategy is:

 (Overlay:  BE LIGHT)

  to be light in the way Jesus meant when He said:  “YOU are the light of the world.”

 (Overlay:  PRAY)

 to ask God for the Holy Spirit’s power to break the chains of darkness that engulf the Bosniaks.

 (Overlay:  SHARE GOD’S WORD)

 to saturate Bosniak communities with God’s Word.

 (Overlay:  PROCLAIM)

 to boldly and intentionally proclaim the Gospel.

 (Overlay:  GATHER)

 to gather Bosniaks for Bible studies,

 (Overlay:  REPRODUCE)

 which will result in rapidly reproducing churches.

 YOU can bring the Light to the Bosniak.

 (Overlay: PRAY)

 Ask God to give you His heart for the Bosniak who walk in darkness.

 (Overlay: RESPOND)


It is desperately important that God's people respond to the need for volunteers, long-term workers, and resources to help bring the Bosniak out of darkness and into the Light.

 (Overlay:  PARTNER)

 There is a desperate need for churches to form partnerships to help achieve long-term goals.  

 Millions of Bosniak still sit in darkness.  Will YOU bring the Light?



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