Tosk Albanian is spoken by people south of the Shkumbin River in Albania, and by Albanians in Italy and Greece, and is Albania's official literary language. The Gheg dialect is not used in publications, but is spoken by muslim Albanians in the north, and in Kosovo and North Macedonia. Pray for more workers to learn this oral dialect, in order to reach this people group effectively.
Although Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, after a decade of negotiation and brutal ethnic conflict, its independence is not universally recognised. Over half of Kosovo’s inhabitants live in poverty with nearly three quarters unemployed. Eighty percent of the population is Muslim, largely ethnic Albanian. Many are nominal Muslims, but extremism is increasing, as is opposition to Christianity. Nonetheless, there are a growing number of Christian believers, especially among younger people; pray that these would become mature Christians who lay aside ethnic differences and strive for reconciliation and healing in Kosovo. Pray for continued freedom to evangelise among the Muslim population. Pray for Jesus’ peace to heal hatred between ethnic Serbs and Albanians. Pray for spiritual growth and bold proclamation among the small group of committed Christians.
In a country struggling with unemployment, pray that BMS’ quality educational work with individuals from Kosovo’s minority communities would increase their employment prospects. Pray especially for BMS’ work amongst the marginalised Roma people and give than for a new partnership that facilitates this.
Serbia is a landlocked Balkan state with two autonomous provinces, Vojvodina in the north and Kosovo in the south. Kosovo declared independence in February 2008 but is only partially recognised as a state. The future of Kosovo and its independence is a contentious issue for Serbia. Pray for peaceful negotiations over this matter. Pray for the Christian compassion ministries to the many war refugees who were uprooted in the Balkans war. Few have returned to their original homes. Pray that they will experience God’s love and find a new sense of home and family.
Living in a country with a majority of Muslims is an everyday challenge for Christians. They need to put on God’s armour to stand firm by learning how to trust and obey Him. Serving among different cities of Kosovo, different genders and ethnicities, TEN’s partner church in Pristina, Kosovo, is taking steps to fulfil God’s call by proclaiming the Good News to the poor and binding up the broken hearted. Being part of a nation with a broken identity and vision, their heart’s desire and constant prayer is for God to reveal himself into peoples’ lives and use his church as a light in the darkness. Pray for the church to bring his hope in the midst of hopelessness and to proclaim God’s justice, grace, and love among the people of Kosovo.
Drita*, a newly committed Kosovar follower of Christ, had been searching for a week for important documents. She was desperate - replacing them was not an option. Her heart heavy with anxiety, Drita asked God for help. At last she fell asleep. In a dream, a voice told her that the papers were in a plastic bag in a particular place in the bedroom. When Drita woke up the electricity was out so she lit a candle to search in the bedroom. But she had no memory of putting them in a plastic bag. Gathering her resolve, Drita looked in the spot that the voice had directed her. There was the plastic bag, and in it she found the documents. Later, as she was talking with her friend Carmen*, an OMer who is discipling her, Drita asked who had been talking to her in the dream. Carmen assured her that it was God: “You prayed, and He answered you because He cares about you.” *Names changed
In April, Serbia reached a deal with its former province of Kosovo to normalise relations and so pave the way for both countries to apply to join the European Union. This doesn’t change the fact that minority groups in Kosovo often feel that they are political chess pieces in a game over which they have little control. Pray for progress for the economy (around half of the adult population are unemployed) and an end to exploitation. Kosovo is emerging as an enclave for drugs and human trafficking. It is estimated that around 40% of the heroin in Europe passes through Kosovo.
Since 1999, around 30 evangelical churches have been planted in Kosovo among the majority ethnic-Albanians. However, there are five other ethnic groups represented in Kosovo and they are frequently marginalised and discriminated against. Give thanks for the growth of the church in Kosovo and pray for those who are ministering to Kosovars on the margins.
The region, though largely peaceful, is still recovering from the war of 1999 which saw over 10,000 civilians killed, a million ethnic Albanians fled as refugees to surrounding countries, and extensive damage to property throughout the region. Kosovo’s status has been in doubt since the conflict but with independence having been declared on 17th February 2008, the people now look forward to peace and growth. However, it is likely that NATO and EU troops will remain for some time. Over 90% of the population claim to be ethnically Albanian whilst the others would be mainly Serbian. The Kosovar Albanian population is almost entirely Muslim, at least nominally, but after the war evangelical groups multiplied rapidly, so that by 2000 the number had risen to an estimated 45.
Population: 1,859,203 (2014)
Official languages: Albanian, Serbian
GDP (PPP) per capita: $10,134 (2016 est.)
Life expectancy: 70 years
Religions: 90% Muslim, 10% Eastern Orthodox