For 25 years, the Lord has gripped our hearts for Southeastern Europe, and in 2013, He opened the doors for us to move to Zagreb Croatia.Two years ago, we founded a ministry, Intentional Strategies for Transformation or the IST Group, and our heart is to pioneer and resource redemptive transformation in Southeastern Europe. We do this through three pillars: First through prayer, second, through helping the poor and underutilized, and third, through developing next generation leaders.
Communism left its crippling effects on this region, and then the Balkan wars of the 90’s destabilized a large portion of Southeastern Europe. These nations were emotionally, economically, demographically and physically raped. Communism and war are only two of the factors, which make ministry in Southeastern Europe very complex.Having recognized the spiritual condition of Southeastern Europe, our first step was clear. We were to establish a safe place, where anyone could come and experience the presence of God, because we believe that His presence transforms our lives. Today, this is also a place were we pray for the nation of Croatia. We call this place the Upper Room Zagreb, where we meet five days per week.
This spring one night, a young man came with his friend to an evening prayer set. He observed us worshiping our Creator and pouring our heart out for this nation. At one point, he broke down in tears as he explained how he grew up around religion that seemed to have no life in it, only tradition. He has never been around people who had a relationship with God. He realized that whatever it was that we had in that room, he wanted! As he was observing us, God was working on his heart. He explained it this way: “It is like He took my hard heart and turned it into a soft heart”. It was beautiful to see this unfold. Our new friend encountered the love of Jesus, simply by observing how we related to this God, whom he only knew before as an angry God. Our friend begun a journey that day, to get to know this loving God and this is changing his life.
Life changing encounters are not uncommon in the Upper Room Zagreb. As His presence comes, we have seen people healed and marriages restored. Everything we do in the rest of our pillars is also birth in the place of prayer.
His presence truly transforms everything.
IST Group Director
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