Spreading hope in Montenegro
The small country of Montenegro has been left virtually untouched by missionary efforts. But that did not stop EEM from seeking to make an impact here.
With access to some of the most beautiful stretches of the Adriatic Sea as well as an impressive mountain range which gave the name to this small European country, Montenegro (“Black Mountain”) has long been a popular tourist destination. Unlike tourism, missionary efforts, however, have been few and far between.
According to the 2011 census, Montenegro has a population of about 620,000. Among them, the majority are Orthodox (72%) with Islam placing second with nearly 20%. The remaining religious groups are virtually non-existent: Adherents of the Catholic Church, the third largest religious body, amount to as little as 3% while those describing themselves as “Protestants” number 143. An optimistic estimate might be that there are approximately 250-300 born-again Christians in the entire country!
With so few congregations, most of which do not exceed the size of a typical prayer group or small group in the United States, there are no Bible stores anywhere around. Bibles have to be delivered from Serbia, Croatia, or Albania—whether by post or by individuals traveling to visit friends and family members.
Recently, a small number of EEM’s Serbian Cyrillic edition of children’s Bibles was delivered to Montenegro through “Ikonos,” a partner organization from Serbia. The books were distributed to children in Podgorica, the nation’s capital. The Bibles were a gift for those who attended Bible club to learn about God and the Bible.
The girls in the pictures come from a non-believing family, yet they came to Bible club every week. Their mother brought them week after week despite being in the 8th month of her pregnancy! “I have not found such great faith even in Israel,” Jesus might have remarked.
In a country that still follows religious legislation passed in the Communist days (1977), it is good to see God’s Word making its way forward. In a country that has not seen significant missionary efforts, we are glad to be able to spread the Bible. Drasko Djenovic, a Serbian preacher who helped organize the Montenegro delivery, says: “We do not know how the seed that EEM sowed will grow and what the result will be—it is all in God’s hands. Still, it is important that EEM did not forget children even in countries where New Testament Christianity is almost unknown.”