I just arrived in Sarajevo from Herrnhut, Germany, sometimes known as “the little village that changed the world.” It’s the home of Count Nicolaus von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Brethren. These were the people who launched the modern-day missions movement with a legendary zeal that has seldom been equaled. Sometimes even selling themselves into slavery for the Gospel, the Moravians packed their meager belongings into their coffins and set off for foreign lands from Labrador to Egypt, Suriname to South Carolina. These were the same people who famously influenced John Wesley in his search for faith and who began a prayer movement that for 100 years maintained around the clock prayer for churches, missions and the advance of the Gospel.
In the early seventeen-hundreds refugees from numerous Protestant sects in Moravia and Bohemia, (present-day Czech Republic), fled to Saxony asking Count Zinzendorf for asylum from their persecutions. The godly count welcomed them onto his estate and charged them to lay down their doctrinal differences for the cause of Christ. He offered them a corner of his property and invited them to settle in what is now Herrnhut.
Zinzendorf was a broad-minded believer who championed the grace of God and the unity of believers above divisive doctrines. So it was a perfect setting for YWAM to pioneer it’s first eight-week “School of the Kingdom.” In the tradition of the Moravians, one of this week’s students shared his story of taking an outreach team into a rebel militant camp in Nigeria, and leading fifteen of the soldiers out of the camp and into faith in Jesus.
It was an amazing week of grace and learning in a setting that has earned a special place in history. And now I’m back in wonderful Sarajevo, with a very different and almost opposite history. More on that later.