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Something's happening in Eastern Europe
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Something's happening in Eastern Europe

The writer is a Church of God member who lives in Eastern Europe. He has translated the book Mystery of the Ages, by Herbert W. Armstrong, and several core Church of God booklets into his native tongue, Serbian. Contact Mr. Veljic at cbbj@sezampro.yu or Dalmatinska 31, 23000 Zrenjanin, Serbia.

By Sasha Veljic

BELGRADE--I chuckled and felt a great need to react to one of the statements in the May 31 issue of The Journal [in the article "United Elders Meet for Eighth Time; Church Names New Chairman, Dedicates New Building"]. You will, of course, understand why: I live in Eastern Europe.

In the reports from non-U.S.A. elders of the United Church of God, Johnnie Lambert of Horseheads, N.Y., reported on Eastern Europe.

"All of the communist world is stony soil," Mr. Lambert said.

This interesting comment from a Church of God elder made me chuckle for two reasons:

• Eastern Europe is no longer a communist world, so I take it that such a comment was rather a joke. Eastern Europe is now in transition toward capitalism.

• Second, I presume that "stony soil" refers to the fact that the Word cannot find any fertile ground in Eastern Europe.

But, thanks to God, even that is now a matter of the past.

A gospel miracle

Brethren who care about the work of God should be relieved about Eastern Europe. Both the work and the Word of God are being preached in Eastern Europe! The results are quite remarkable, amazing and incredible. In fact, what God has done in Eastern Europe in the last few years is simply a miracle.

God has called several enthusiastic supporters of the Word in what until recently was the last communist bastion in Europe: Serbia. There are six baptized members and one prospective member in Serbia.

In spite of difficult economic conditions and other trials, such as high levels of intolerance in the society where they live, these Eastern European members have been doing their part in spreading the Word.

The most remarkable result is the Church of God Web site in Serbian that has been visited about 1,200 times by the Serbians in their homeland and in their diaspora.

As a result of its work, a Serbian family in the U.S.A. contacted the church in Serbia, where hundreds of booklets have been distributed to recipients in Serbia and neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The church now has a presence in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, renowned for its multinational population. Most minorities that live in this province are descendants of Eastern Europeans.

Recently there have been possibilities for the Word to be translated into several Eastern European languages, namely Romanian and Hungarian. The church has also made contact with other Sabbath-keeping communities in Vojvodina for a witness.

God has also called two young people in Croatia. Because of circumstances beyond their control, they have not been able to be baptized yet but are present and active in the work of God.

The Croatian site has been visited about 700 times. Considering the small size of the Croatian nation and that it is a fairly Catholic nation, 700 visits is an amazing success.

The prospective members in Croatia located a former WCG member and several coworkers in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, and provided them with materials in their native tongue.

The members in Serbia also posted a preliminary Web site in Slovakian, since one of the members is half Slovak, but the Web site mysteriously disappeared. However, the members didn't give up.

Booklet translator

One of the most amazing events in Eastern Europe is a young man from Slovakia who found the Serbian Church of God Web site. He was looking for Slavic Web sites.

Since he likes Belgrade, the Serbian capital, he got in touch with various Church of God members in this country.

Deeply impressed with church members, this young man, who just recently was graduated from high school, decided to translate all the booklets into his native tongue as a tribute to his faithful friends in Serbia and service to his own people.

There are about 10 Church of God booklets that have been thus far translated into the Slovakian language.

Considering that the Czech language is quite similar to Slovak, new horizons for the Word have become visible.

Besides these achievements, dynamic members of the Church of God in Eastern Europe are involved in other projects. The most colossal one is Mystery of the Ages, the book by Herbert W. Armstrong, soon to be completed in Serbian and Croatian.

The members have also registered a new site in Serbian as, while plans are underway to register a site in Croatia.

The members also hope that eventually they can provide a shortened version of a Church of God magazine to Eastern Europe.

Possibilities seem to be endless, but God is doing everything in His own time.

The level of dedication to the work of God and generosity of Church of God members in Eastern Europe in these modest conditions are most inspiring and encouraging to anyone who cares about God and His Word.

Fertile soil

In spite of the personal commitments and barriers they encounter in their society, Church of God members in Eastern Europe are doing their utmost to put their hearts into the work of God.

Thus a stony Eastern European soil has been softened, and the Word is finding fertile ground in that part of the world.

I hope this news will comfort and overjoy those who care about the preaching of the gospel in all the world.

Considering the scattering, divisions and mayhem of the Church of God in the U.S.A. and elsewhere, where it seems that many hearts have become stony against the needs of the work of God, Eastern Europe has been blessed with dedicated young people who have decided to respond to the call of God with everything they can do for His work.

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