Following Family

Tags: From Canada, Story

Written by Amy Schuett.

Becoming Children of God

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).”

Those who come know Jesus Christ as their Saviour become children of God. Leaving the old life behind, Christians gain a new inheritance into a new family. This is the message that SEND mission workers seek to share with the people of North Macedonia by the power of the Spirit.  

Listening But Not Accepting

Macedonia has two main populations of people: Macedonian Orthodox and Albanian Muslim. There are less than 1% of evangelical Christians in both groups. The culture has open doors and welcoming hearts, but many are still far from knowing Jesus as Saviour. People are willing to listen to the presentation of the gospel, but few accept it. One mission worker in Macedonia for many years has witnessed this pattern firsthand.  

“Having a good conversation and having them accept [the gospel] are two different things,” she says, “It’s not a taboo subject. They don’t find it offensive - but change impacts who you are.”

The battle for soul change is over heritage. Tradition, politics, and background are all strongholds that are hard to overcome. Change is resisted.  

“To be an Albanian in Macedonia is to be Muslim, and there are only a dozen or so Albanian Jesus followers in the whole country. Those who become Christ-followers are considered 'Torbish'”.

In the same way, only 0.2% of Macedonians are evangelical Christians. Following Jesus in this society means denouncing your identity. This has many serious repercussions.  

Following Family Quote

Some have family members that have stopped speaking to them or visiting, including parents not visiting their grown children, or brothers and sisters not visiting their siblings’ families,” she says.

To follow Christ, a person must be willing to give up their earthly family in this country where families are a pillar of society and deeply involved in each other’s lives. Family members often try to make it difficult for new believers to attend services, Bible studies, etc. Some are threatened, kicked out, or at the very least, made to feel unwelcome.

Joining the Family of God

This however doesn’t stop Christ-followers from sharing the gospel. The people of Macedonia need Jesus. Many feel the weight of human needs: loneliness, strife, brokenness. These heart longings transcend the lines of society. Christians have been able to help identify these longings and point thirsty souls to the Living Water of Jesus Christ. Those that do accept Christ, receive a new identity, a new inheritance, and are welcomed into the family of God. When a person accepts Jesus, the church becomes their new family, and it may be all they have.   

Pray for Macedonia. Pray for the youth especially, that they will be open to change. Pray that the pull of ethnic heritage, traditions, and family, will no longer prevent people from accepting Christ. Pray that people will understand their new identity and heritage in Jesus Christ. Finally, pray for perseverance for the mission workers in Macedonia - that in spite of these strongholds, they will continue to share the good news of Jesus, and that many will join the family of God.  

Learn About SEND's work in Macedonia

Learn About the "Engage Macedonia" Internship Program 

Read Another Story from Macedonia: "Coffee and Questions"

Discover Ministry Opportunities

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