This is a year of celebration in Serbia as the Bible School heads towards its twentieth year…
Bible School beginnings in 1996
It was autumn 1996 that the first group of students arrived to begin their studies in the village of Backi Petrovac in the north of Serbia.
With the wars that had marked the early part of that decade only just coming to an end, a number of those first students had come to know Jesus through the humanitarian work that we had been involved with since 1991. Time after time we had arrived in “Yugoslavia” with coaches and trucks loaded with supplies that had been lovingly prepared by friends across the UK. Every time that we shared these gifts in refugee camps or in sport stadiums we carefully shared the Message of a God who loves us and has come to us in the person of Jesus to rescue broken humanity through His death and resurrection…
Some of you reading this bulletin were involved right back in those earliest days as you prayed, prepared aid and even travelled with us.
Image below: arriving at a refugee centre with an Oak Hall coach.
A Year of Study through the whole Bible
Through that first year of studies, we explored through the whole Bible with around thirty different Bible teachers who gave their time to serve with us. Each week, the students headed to the refugee camps to continue to share the message of Jesus with those there… our lives were shared together as we lived in community.
Graduates Serving across the Region
As those students graduated, many of them headed to new locations to plant churches and launch other initiatives that brought a great and positive impact to the country and shared the Message of Jesus Christ still further. It was clear that it was right to run a second year of the Bible School and so the new year was launched…
As well as visiting refugee camps, we also travelled across the region to stand with – serve alongside – those students who had studied through the first year… and so the work gathered momentum year after year.
Image below: a children's camp organised by graduates Dragan and Danijela.
A New Centre for the Bible School in Belgrade
It was soon clear that although the welcoming, small northern village of Backi Petrovac was a perfect cradle for the beginning of the Bible School that, ideally, we should seek a base in the capital of the country. After years of prayer, research and preparation, God wonderfully provided the amazing building on the edge of Belgrade that is now our centre.
In 2003, after a summer of repairs and renovations carried out by graduates and team of the Bible School, the ninth generation of students began their studies in the “new” building Belgrade. This has proved to be an ideal base for the work as it grows year on year and now the twentieth generation of students approach their graduation.
Image below: students outside the Belgrade Bible School Building.
The work continue to grow in this Twentieth Year
With former students serving in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia and Serbia, it is amazing to see how God is building His Church across the region as we reach this twentieth year.