Category Archives: Bosnia

Sarajevo, Bosnia Update – by Robert Jurjevich

Jurjevich - Sarajevo GreetingsAs I sit writing this update, I am listening to sounds coming from outside. It’s the noise from the workmen removing the scaffolding from the newly built mosque here in Dobrinja, right beside our apartment. Soon, five times a day, the loud speakers on the minaret will call out to the residents of our neighborhood to come and pray for guidance from the Islamic god that they will not walk in the ‘deceitful’ path of the Jews and Christians. Jurjevich - New MosqueIn other words, the mosque is a physical structure established as a spiritual ‘stronghold’ from where the god of the Qur’an makes war against the God of the Bible. This is our world – the battle for the souls of the Bosnian people.

Two years ago we arrived in Sarajevo with the vision of establishing an effective church-planting ministry that would eventually bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every individual in the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even before our plane touched down on Bosnian soil on August 1st, 2013, the resistance was rising and the spiritual warfare hasn’t let up since. We are very thankful to everyone who has stood faithfully with us in prayer and financial support as we have sought to fulfill in obedience our calling according to God’s will. We want you to know that we have no plan B – we are all in – and we intend to complete the mission.

We are excited to share with you the opportunity at hand for us to have a stronger presence in Sarajevo with two new developments in our area of the city, Dobrinja:

Jurjevich - DobrinjaJurjevich - Dobrinja 2The first is that our present ministry location will serve a dual purpose: 1) serve as the office for our ministry Healing The Nations, newly registered as a non-profit ministry in Bosnia, and 2) become the new Center of Hope for Women, from where Sandrina will be providing Biblical training and prayer counseling for women.

The second development is the new location (1895 sq. ft  of a former furniture store) for  our  Dobrinja Ministry Center, which will house all our other church and ministry activities. It will be where our Sunday worship services, seminars, leadership training and classes for the Focus Business School will be held. We will have space for up to 100 chairs, a Cafe & Resource Corner, and much needed space for children’s ministry with direct access to a city park located behind the building.Jurjevich - Ministry CenterOur expenses for moving into the new facility is a minimum budget of US$30,000 (= 27,400 EURO), which will cover expenses for initial renovations, technical equipment/furnishings and provide a 12 month buffer on the lease. Work begins as soon as we receive the keys to the building on September 1st. The slide presentation below hopefully will give you a sufficient overview to understand clearly this development. At the end of the month, the building will be emptied out and we will be able to show pictures of the interior.

Jurjevich - NamjestadNext month, September 2015, marks the beginning of the Biblical Year of Jubilee – the purpose of which is to bring liberty to the nation of Israel, breaking the oppression and poverty off the people, and restoring the land to it’s heirs. Bosnia and Herzegovina is my ‘Israel’ and Sarajevo is my ‘Jerusalem’. It’s only been 700 years – time to redeem my inheritance. My ancestors of the Jurjevich clan were part of the Bosnian nobility before the Ottoman Turks conquered the land by the oppressive sword of Islam.

Jurjevich - Sarajevo MinoretsMy prayer before our Savior, Jesus Christ, King of kings, Lord of lords, is that I would stand on behalf of an oppressed nation, Bosnia and Herzegovina, as an intercessor, watchman and rightful heir to a stolen inheritance – may this Year of Jubilee begin the harvest of Bosnian souls to be brought into the Kingdom of God, and may this nation be set free from the wages of it’s sins through the blood of the Lamb.

We would ask you to help us today on two levels:

1) Prayerfully partner with us financially in helping make PROJECT ‘JUBILEE’: TIME FOR REDEMPTIVE EXPANSION a reality in Sarajevo – our goal is to raise $30,000 in the month of August. We are expanding our faith for a financial miracle in August so that the new Dobrinja Ministry Center will be completed without delay in September.

2) Please consider sharing this information, only as the Lord would lead you, with someone whom you feel might be interested in being involved with supporting PROJECT ‘JUBILEE’ and ministry here in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Jurjevich - Croatian ChurchJurjevich - Sandrina Croatia

 

 

 

 

 

The highlights during a visit to the neighboring country of Croatia was spending time with a young, single mom in Zagreb whom we had helped a little just over a year and a half ago when she was abandoned by her family because she would not abort her baby. Eventually, after some months, she was reconciled with her parents and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It was encouraging to see that she is growing strong in her Christian faith and pursuing her university degree.

Jurjevich - Movie StarPLEASE PRAY for our friend Cristóbal Krusen, director of SABINA K. – first ever Bosnian Christian film. SABINA K. will be presented at the Sarajevo Film Festival (14-22 August). PRAY that Cris will have tremendous favor in his interactions with the Festival committee, media interviews and public contacts. PRAY for open hearts to the love of Jesus with all those who will be present for the screening of the film at the Festival. For more information about Cris and how to financially support his film ministry, and especially about SABINA K., please visit: www.messengerfilms.com

ON THE PERSONAL FRONT

Jurjevich - Timothy WeddingFrom May 26 to July 15, we visited friends, supporters, and partners in the States.  We are now back in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and wish to express our appreciation to everyone who provided in one or another way for our seven weeks in the USA. Special thanks to very special friends who made available the perfect vehicle for our 5,800 mile road trip! And to everyone along the way who hosted us, fed us and took time from your busy schedules to fellowship with us, a huge THANK YOU!

Jurjevich - Lydia

The highlight of the trip for us was the wedding of our son Timothy and his Julianne on July 5, held at the beautiful Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. It was the first time in 2 1/2 years that we had been together with all our children in one place at the same time – definitely an extra blessing!  Right now we are all reunited  again in Amsterdam, Holland, celebrating our daughter, Lydia’s wedding to her Lennart which took place on August 22.

FROM R.K.’S CORNER

Ulrichs 11-1428 years ago, in 1987, Robert and Sandrina Jurjevich arrived in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, where they settled and pioneered a church with Robert as pastor.  Five years later, In 1992, while they were on a visit to the States, the war broke out  in Bosnia, and Sarajevo was closed off to all outsiders.  They were not able to return.  They had all their belongings in their apartment in Sarajevo.  When a bomb hit their building, they lost everything they had.  In spite of that, they never lost sight of their call to serve Bosnia with the Gospel!

In the ensuing years, they raised four children, worked for The Bridge, Holland, and pastored churches, both in the States and Holland. In 2013, they finally returned to their beloved Sarajevo, settled and pioneered a new church anew in the city.  You can find more background information about them at:  http://www.bridgeinternational.org/2013/06/

Steve and I highly recommend Robert and Sandrina to you as people of faith and integrity, close friends, and partners who need your prayers and financial support. Please mark your gifts 8345 Balkan Workers.THANKS!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert and Sandrina Jurjevich Planting New Church in Sarajevo, Bosnia – June 2013

RK Ulrich 2012From R.K.’s Corner

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)!Jurjevich Family 2013 -2

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. 

Below, Robert and Sandrina are expressing in their own words about their journey, vision, and plans for the near future:bosnia-map3Map Bosnia - Europe

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.IMG_2122

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.Sarajevo Emblem 2013 BR

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!Robert and Sandrina 2013

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

Church Gathering Sarajevo 2013 BR1984-85 Spent our first year of marriage in the U.S. where Sandrina learned Southern cooking.

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.   

IMG_20651987-92 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.

Sarajevo Gate2004 – ’10 Robert made short term mission trips to the Balkans, especially with focus on Bosnia, while working as an independent contractor and networker for missions.

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!