Friday, January 14, 2011

First Branches Created in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo

Last spring the Church created administrative branches in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Montenegro to manage membership records and coordinate small LDS gatherings in the Balkans from the Europe Area headquarters in Germany. However no official branches were organized in any of these countries at the time. Progress has been made less than a year later as the first LDS branches were organized in Pristina, Kosovo and Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Both branches appear to have native branch presidents and jurisdiction for both countries remains under the Europe Area. Administrative branches continue to function for both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo despite the creation of the two new branches. LDS meetings also appear to occur regularly in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Church dedicated both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo for missionary work last fall. No proselyting missionaries have been assigned, but senior missionary couples regular serve in the area.


Tom said...

This blog seems to have been void of comments for too long now, need some kind of activity on it :D!

Anyway great news, I dont know how fast the church will grow in these countries mind. As I know a Serbian convert who converted last year, he told me that the church seems to be struggling in his country due to a heavy catholic/orthodox which is very resistant and hostile towards LDS evangelism and thus progress is slow.

So I wonder if it this will be the same for Bosnia and Kosovo?

Jared said...

I am of Serbian extraction and it would be very nice if the church took root there. Hopefully it will help make inroads so more genealogical records become available. Slavic Eastern Europeans in the Balkans have are hard time finding any information. I imagine growth will be slow, but there are examples of steady, but not rapid growth in the Balkans.

For those who are obviously interested in following church growth, this was in the Deseret News today.

Ryan said...

It looks like the Canje Guyana District and the Cayenne French Guiana District were both dissolved. The branches report to the West Indies Mission.

Erik said...

I guess that leaves Guyana with just one district, right? Wonder when their first stake will be established? They certainly have enough members on the rolls but perhaps not enough active, full-tithe paying members...

Ryan said...

Riverton Utah Harvest Park Stake created last Sunday

holly said...

I am beyond thrilled that the church is finding it's way to those who are waiting for the gospel.
I am married to a Bosniak, a Bosnian Muslim originally from Banja Luka. Most of our family has moved to Sarajevo as Banja Luka has been pretty much "overtaken" by Bosnian Serbs.
The history of this region is very complex. The best way to describe it is that there is still animosity toward the Turkish Muslims who overtook what is now Bosnia during the Ottomon Empire. After 400 years, there is still bitterness.Of course, I am oversimplifying, but am providing some insight. I have read many books and talked to many Bosnian people. I still have a lot to learn.
Bosnia, of course, was once a part of Yugoslavia. It was then that the country lived civilly and treated each other as countrymen, not as parts of different ethnic groups. There was a time during World War 11 when they all fought off German invaders together. How they went from a united front to killing each other is hard for even the most scholarly to figure out.
Although this war was fought over religious ethnicicities, irony can be found as most Yugoslavians did not attend any church or mosque at the time war broke out. My husband and many of his friends said that they had not even known of these ethnic groups or that they even existed. To them, they were all Yugoslavian, and that was it. It was very shocking to many citizens when war broke out. Most wanted nothing to do with any war. But suddenly it was neighbor against neighbor. Somehow, my husband and his family were able to get out of Bosnia. They spent 7 years in Germany before arriving in the United States where they now call home.
I know that these people have seen atrocities and have had experiences that would leave even me feeling forsaken by God. There is bitterness, depression and still hostility toward each ethnic group. There are no jobs and people are still hungry. It will take a few generations for Bosnia to rebuild.
I have faith, however, that there are those just waiting for the truth, that the light of Christ has not entirely left them. My mother in law has not joined the church, but she is the essence of love and forgiveness. She is kind and compassionate. I believe that these qualities were instilled in her as a young child. I believe she learned important values from her parents, her school and her community. Surely, there are many good people, just like her that still live in Bosnia. There hearts are open. I hope that they can get the chance to hear about the gospel.
I hope to one day visit my husband's native country and find an LDS meeting house that I can attend. It is also my secret wish that my son will one day serve a mission to Bosnia.
In the meantime, I am excited that the seeds are being planted, that the Bosnian people will find their purpose and know that they are loved.

Actually Textual said...

I am a Latter-day Saint, and I studied Serbo-Croatian while in graduate school at The Ohio State University (Slavic Department). I work as a medical and legal interpreter of Russian and Spanish. However, while working as an interpreter in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I had the opportunity to take on a very good post as an interpreter and quality assurance coordinator, provided I could interpret Bosnian. I was woefully unprepared for the task, but I gave it my all with mixed results. One of the best results was that I learned (somewhat) to speak Bosnian (or Croatian). What little I had retained of Serbo-Croatian gave way to this wonderful blend of Turkish, Arabic and Zoroastrian- and Islamic-influenced Slavic lexicon. I fell in love with the Bosnian people, culture and language, and even to this day read the Qur'an daily in Bosnian, the D&C and PGP in Croatian (four years later). Does anyone know if the Church is preparing a "Bosnian" translation of the standard works, at least the Book of Mormon? We (our Church) have fine translations in Croatian and Serbian, but it would be helpful to translate the BoM to Bosnian. I truly hope that day comes, and I truly hope to be able to help spread the Gospel to the Bosniaks, as well as the Bosnian Serbs, Croats and the beautiful Kosovars. It would take a miracle, but I'll live in the hope that it happens. Look me up on Facebook "James Weller", Columbus, Ohio.

Anonymous said...

My wife is deployed with the US Army to Kosovo. She had the wonderful opportunity to attend the branch in Pristina. It is amazing to see the Church grow in regions of the world like the Balkans.

John said...

Does anyone have contact information for the branch in Sarajevo? I can't find anything on (not surprising, sadly, since that is a very poorly organized site).