Since our youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism at 2 and a half years old, our main focus of ministry has become – evangelizing and serving families affected by disabilities (see haninanada.com/en). We partner with “Joni & Friends International Disability Center”(www.joniandfriends.org) in organizing annual retreats for such families. Many people struggling with disabilities in Serbia live in difficult circumstances with very limited resources and services from the government. They are often marginalized and discriminated against by their own society. God has given us so much empathy and compassion for these people that are desperate and in such need of experiencing hope through a relationship with our great Savior.
For the past 25 years we’ve been involved in church planting in Serbia (a country where less than 0.1% are Evangelical Christians; that's around 6,000). The country was ruled a Communist/atheistic government for 50 years up till the late 80's and there are towns, villages and cities, many of which don't even have one real Christian living in them! You can meet many people here even today that have never heard things like: "God loves you" or "Did you know you can have a relationship with God through Christ?" or "Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead." - wonderful news we often take for granted in the States. Jelena and I consider it an amazing privilege of God to be able to be the first messengers of the Gospel to so many people here and to help start and oversee churches in a country where there are hardly any born-again Christians.
Humanitarian Aid Distribution, Rehab, Caring for terminally ill
Serbia was involved in civil wars during most of the 90’s. The aftermath of these wars is still having negative consequences on the country: almost 40% unemployment, high levels of corruption, 1 million refugees, terrible poverty, increased drug abuse, etc. Many people have left the country to try to find work in other parts of the world. We often partner with Humanitarian aid organizations that send: food, clothing, funds for fuel for heating (wood, coal, gas and electricity) and other necessary items which we distribute to those in need.
Several years ago friends of ours started a rehab center that is on the same property where our church is. We get the privilege of assisting in sharing the Gospel with desperate people that have ruined their lives with heroine and other drugs, alcohol, gambling and other addictions. We have seen many people come to Christ through these ministries.