During the seasons of life, some come and some go. We welcome Peter and Solvei Stohl’s return home to the States after completing twenty years of mission work overseas. They served the Body Of Christ as counselors, Bible teachers, and helped train new counselors, predominantly among believers in the C.I.S. nations of the formerly Soviet Union. The Stohls have now relocated from Kaunus, Lithuania to St. Paul, MN. Before they moved overseas, they were accomplished artists, so they are now actively pursuing their artistic talents, again; Peter as painter, and Solvei as photographer. WELCOME HOME, PETER AND SOLVEI – FAITHFUL FRIENDS AND MISSION PARTNERS (Mt. 25:21)!
Our friends and partners, Robert and Sandrina Jurjevich are in the process of doing the opposite — they are moving back into the mission field, after being away from their beloved Sarajevo, Bosnia for twenty years! The 1992-95 Bosnian civil war forced their family out of the city. Now, after serving the Lord in Holland and the United States while raising four children who are all serving the Lord, they are planning to move back to Sarajevo in July, and plant a church there in September. Although not their main sponsors, we support them in their in their efforts to return to the Balkans with the life-giving light of the Gospel! PLEASE PRAY FOR THE JURJEVICH FAMILY! Mark your donations: 8345 BALKAN WORKERS.
Sarajevo, Bosnia – Where We Will Serve
In 1987, we moved to Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia, and lived there till, in 1992, the Yugoslav civil war forced us out. Bosnia suffered greatly during the three year war. 250,000 citizens were killed, untold masses suffered injuries and were displaced as refugees away from their homes. Nearly twenty years later, the scars of the war still cover the land and define the lives of so many families and individuals. In 1987, the city of Sarajevo had 600,000 residents; today there are short of 400,000; among them there are 150 Bosnian evangelical believers.
The spiritual climate remains challenging. Predominate ethnic groups are Bosnian (mostly Muslim), Croat (mostly Roman Catholic) and Serb (mostly Eastern Orthodox). There are nearly 30 churches with an estimated total number of believers of 700. To put it into perspective, Bosnia is the same geographical size as the state of North Carolina. With only 700 protestant/evangelical believers from a population of nearly 4 million, Bosnia truly is a harvest field waiting for the reaper. Who will be the sower, who will be the reaper? Thankfully, it is God who gives the increase! He is the Lord of the harvest — both the sower and the reaper rejoice together in the rewards of the harvest.
Sarajevo2013 is our response to the harvest field of Bosnia. Our assignment from the Lord is to plant life-giving churches in the Balkan nations. The first will open its doors in Sarajevo in September. We invite you to partner with us in this time of harvesting. Please join us in our mission by your prayers and finances!
Who We Are
Robert: I was born in Mobile, Alabama, the seventh of eight children. My father, a chief engineer in the merchant marines, was the son of Croatian immigrants who settled first in Springfield, Illinois, and later moved to Perdido, Alabama. My mother, an elementary school teacher, was a native of Alabama with English and Creek Indian background.
In August 1978, after an extensive search for spiritual reality, I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Awaking from a dream, trembling and sweating in fear of being eternally lost, having dreamt that I was being left behind while my Christian friends were gathered up by Jesus, I knelt beside my bed, repented of my sins and asked Jesus into my heart. At that moment I had the revelation in my spirit was that I was born again, had become a new creation and received a new life from God the Father. Within a month I experienced the infilling/ baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Several months later, while looking out through a window and worshipping the Lord, unexpectedly, the Lord spoke in what seemed like an audible voice, “I am sending you back to the land of your forefathers.” Quick and simple. No fanfare and no angelic hosts. I knew immediately that I was on my way to Croatia, one of the six republics in the former Yugoslavia. I replied, “Lord, I have never been there and don’t know how I’m going to get there.” The Lord said nothing more about it till four years later.
In 1982, I went on my first summer missions trip to Europe, and had a week of ministry in Yugoslavia. At the end of the two month trip, I remained in Brussels, Belgium, where I attended Continental Theological Seminary. In 1984, I graduated with a B.A. in Biblical Studies and Theology. There, I met my wife, Sandrina Deij from The Netherlands. We were married in June of 1984 in Middelburg, The Netherlands. The Lord has blessed us with three sons and a beautiful daughter, all of whom are serving the Lord.
Sandrina: I was born in the coastal city of Vlissingen, located in the province of Zeeland in the The Netherlands. My father was a seaman in the Royal Dutch Navy till his retirement when I was a young child. My mother was a stay-at-home-mom; she raised my three older sisters and me most of the time on her own. My ancestry lineage is a combination of Dutch and French Huguenot..
As a child I faithfully attended the Dutch Reformed Church with my parents and also attended Sunday School classes, which I did not always find appealing. I believed in God as far back as I can remember, but I did not have a close relationship with Him. That changed when I was eight and was invited to a children’s club which captivated my heart. There I was asked if I knew for sure that I was a child of God, or if I had decided to follow Him. That night, I surrendered to Jesus and was later baptized. As a teenager, after being baptized in the Holy Spirit, my desire for more of God grew as a mighty flame in my heart. I wanted to be fully used in is service no matter the cost.
Soon, I began to work in the church as a deaconess, and later as social worker in homes for the homeless. The desire to be a missionary burned in my heart, so the church sent me to visit a mission base in Suriname, South America, but did not feel the peace that it was the right place for me. While vacationing in Macedonia, former-Yugoslavia, the Lord spoke to me that this was the country in which I was to live and work. Upon returning to Holland, I left for Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels, Belgium.
Where We Have Been
1985-86 Lived in Zagreb, Croatia, at the evangelical ehurch where we did language and cultural studies.
1986-87 Spent in the U.S. while sharing the vision for Bosnia. Attended Christ Fellowship in Carrollton, GA, which became our US base while overseas.
1987-92 Arrived in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia. Robert pioneered a church there and served as senior pastor of the new fellowship. When communism fell in 1991, we were able to register the church, Biblijska Vjerska Zajednica ‘RAFAEL’ and legally function as a Bosnian church..
1992 While on a two month visit to the U.S., civil war broke out in Bosnia and Sarajevo was closed off, so we could not return. Our apartment was bombed; we lost everything. The BVZ Rafael church ceased and most of the members were scattered throughout the world as refugees.
1992 – ’99 Resettled in Holland, the first two years (’92-’94) in the city of Gorinchem where Robert served as the ministry coordinator for the Dutch/US mission organization The Bridge International over the Balkan region (southeast Europe and Turkey). Lived the next five years in Sandrina’s home town, Vlissingen, while serving in leadership and missions through her home church.
1999—’04 Moved back to the US; settled first in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, AL. From 2001, Robert served as missions / associate pastor at Christian Life Church in Orange Beach, AL, while Sandrina served as a counselor at a pregnant crisis center.
2003 – ’04 Robert served as chief of Pastors at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Sandrina served at Center of Hope as a Biblically –based counselor to women of the church and community which she continued till 2010.
2010 – ’12 Robert served in Concord, NC as executive pastor at The Refuge, and Sandrina served as a Biblical counselor and teacher for women.
2012—’13 The vision for returning to Sarajevo was born and www.Sarajevo2013.net was set up to be the initial communication channel. We thank God for His call and guidance! We welcome you to partner with us by sending an email and/or donate via this website of The Bridge International, or do the same via our website mentioned above, where you will also be able to follow our journey updates through our blogs!