Bosnia and Herzegovina

Learning About Grace Underground

Jennifer Abegg

They met at midnight in the hole-in-the-wall pub.

Josh Irby and Jimmy Henderson, two Americans involved with Cru, greeted their new friend Darko Arsenovski in the underground pub in Sarajevo. A pub was the only kind of restaurant still open after Darko got off work.

Josh and Jimmy were determined to bring up spiritual issues with the Bosnian. "What do you think about religion and God?" Josh asked.

"I believe all religions are the same," Darko replied.

That response didn't surprise the Americans. "People in Sarajevo have pretty relativistic beliefs -- those who aren't Muslim, that is," says Josh.

 Josh says students in Sarajevo also don't understand God's grace-getting something you don't deserve. So he drew two boxes on a piece of paper for Darko, suggesting each box represented a test they were taking.

"I studied hard for the test and am going to get an A," the American told his new friend. "You don't know the answers and you're going to fail. But before we turn our tests in, I offer to switch tests. You write your name on mine, and I'll put mine on yours."

Then Josh drew two more boxes representing Darko and Jesus, explaining how Jesus had exchanged His life for those who believe. Christ did this, Josh said, so Darko could spend eternity in heaven.

Then Josh and Jimmy explained why Jesus is the only way. Unlike relativism, where a person believes they have to be better than most, the God of the Bible says people must be 100 percent perfect, which is impossible. God made it possible through Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

After an hour and a half, Darko demanded, "Why would anyone not want what Jesus offers?"

The Americans offered him the Four Spiritual Laws evangelistic booklet in his language and asked him to read the prayer. Then they scheduled to meet the next night at midnight to discuss the booklet.

Darko didn't show.

The men tried his cell phone. No answer. They figured Darko had changed his mind. "It's so difficult to be a Christian in that culture," says Josh.

Actually, Darko had hurt his leg and later rescheduled. The three met again, and the Americans asked Darko about the booklet. "I believe it," he replied. "Though on the back, it says to give it away. I've only read it three times. Can I read it more first?"

The Americans assured Darko he could and handed him another booklet to give away.

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