Do you have a desire to work with men who are unemployed or find themselves in a depressed economic environment? Are you interested to build capacity, recognise God-given gifting and enhance life skills? Do you have empathy to work with the vulnerable or marginalised over time? Do you have the heart and grit see isolated and unreached communities reached with the eternal hope of the Gospel?
North Macedonia is situated in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe. It is a country roughly divided between an Orthodox majority of ethnic Slavic speaking Macedonians and a large Muslim background minority of Albanians (also Turks, Bosnians and Roma.). In one way, North Macedonia is a socially warm, colourful and exotic environment with sun-baked mountains, rivers and gorges. It is a crossroad between East and West, where Belgrade and Beirut seem to meet in one city. At the same time, the country is marked by its history, and a legacy of ethnic tension and parallel existence of two communities. Perhaps even more felt today is the common experience of all people in the country: economic depression, wide-spread unemployment and stagnation – particularly following the impact of Covid 19.
Spiritually, all ethnicities are largely lost in religious traditions. Ethnic identity is felt to determine one´s religious affiliation. Amongst the Albanians, there is not one established church in the entire country. Islam functions as a cultural preservative against assimilation with the Macedonians, whose cross and icons are more symbols of ethnic exclusion than inclusion for Albanians. Miroslav Volf´s comments on the missional task in the former Yugoslavia are relevant here: “We do not start at zero…”
Nonetheless, a series of disasters have created an open door among this unreached community of 700,000 Albanians. The European Refugee Crisis, floods, earthquakes and more recently the COVID-19 pandemic, have created a unique corridor of opportunity of access deep into the heart of this closed community – many of whom feel they have been forgotten. This is especially so with vulnerable women who suffer gender inequality in terms of human value. Holistic mission, starting with joining that community, being a healing presence and working from the outside in towards worldview in a context of trust is the trail we are blazing – touching lives now and making a road the Gospel for eternity.
We are looking for people to facilitate life skills groups for men. Candidates may come from a variety of work backgrounds – sports trainers, teachers, social workers and others - who are motivated to work with a curriculum to promote healthy thinking and living amongst men and youth who live in a shame-based context of high unemployment, poverty, abuse and multi-generational living conditions. Such a curriculum would include areas such as personal value, stress management, healthy living and relationships. Valuing people made in the image of God, each with their own dignity and contribution of God-given talents and abilities is a key requirement. This role will also require exploring community development where men/youth can train in areas of felt need and interest such as IT skills, language learning or vocational skills.
The context is also one of ethnic reconciliation, so cultural adaptation, language acquisition and peace-making skills are also requirements.
Note: due to the need for a visa platform, it is necessary to have some kind of specialization or masters degree to be presented as fulfilling a unique role for which a local person could not be employed.
Personal and Spiritual:
This is where we are now. Do you feel like North Macedonia is calling you? If you want to explore this possibility and talk some more, please contact us.