A quick glance at the numbers and you’ll see the great need for churches in the fairly new country of Kosovo. Kosovo’s population is around 2.5 million, and there are merely 30 Christian churches. These are small congregations, with the largest numbering just around 80 believers in attendance on a given Sunday. The smallest: ten members. The capital, Pristina, has just four established churches and a couple of groups working to build the church in different areas of the city.
“Sadly, in all of Kosovo, the number of churches in not increasing, but it’s in decline,” explains Elton, a young church planter from Albania. “The reason we are here [in Kosovo] is because we believe that it is time for a change, and by God’s grace we want to be a part of this change.”
Under the Serbian occupation, which ended when Kosovo became an independent nation in 2008, Albanians felt pressure from the government to extinguish their roots, identity, language and territorial claim. Most Albanians in Kosovo have embraced Islam to protect their identity and to separate themselves from Serbs, who are Christian Orthodox. For many, being Albanian means being Muslim.
“In most cases when someone accepts to follow Jesus, their family will throw them out because of the mindset of their larger family, friends and neighbors,” says Elton.
Thankfully, the new generation is more open to the gospel, and Words of Hope Albania offers a number of media tools for Albanian speakers to safely explore their faith.
As Words of Hope Albania prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary this year, they continue to expand the variety and scope of their outreach efforts. Over the past year, they have recorded 365 Christian testimonies for radio, and are on their way to completing 52 video testimonies for television.
Words of Hope Albania also launched a new smartphone app which incorporates the daily devotional, the bible in the Albanian language, and other Christian resources.
Words of Hope Albania will continue to support Elton and his team with prayers and with materials. Please keep this church plant, called “Impact Kosovo”, and the people of Albania and Kosovo in your prayers.Support Words of Hope Albania