Croatia (part 2)


The Bethel in Croatia is in the capital city of Zagreb, a sleepy capital with worn concrete buildings and angry drivers.

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Instead of continuing on our journey, we jumped at the invitation to spend a night and tour the translation center, or Bethel as we call it.

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50 full time volunteers work here to translate literature for the Croatia people and provide support for disaster relief and hospital stays for the Brothers and Sisters. Jehovah Witnesses were legalized in the country in 1953 but communism limited their growth. Then came the breakup of the Soviet Union that led to ethnic and religious killings. I remember the wars in the 90’s and how little I paid attention. Of course the Brothers (like everywhere in the world) would not join a side or support any faction. This lead to some being killed but many times their reputation of neutrality helped save the lives of many JWs. You can read more about their trials during this genocidal war, in one of the recent Yearbooks.

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One last thing on the Bethel, they had a display setup that showed the time-line of the Bible in Croatian. In 1665, some guy translated the Bible from Latin to Croatian but Pope after Pope would not let the Bible be released to the populous until 1831. Jehovah’s name was used in this Bible over 6000 times. The Witnesses used this (difficult to understand because of the old translation) Bible but noticed that every time it was republished (by a for profit publisher), that a few instances of Jehovah’s name was removed and replaced with “God” or “Lord” even though this was inaccurate. Eventually, the translation was deemed not good enough for use and after 10 years of work, the New World Translation was released in Croatian in 2006. The 60 congregations in Croatia now have a easily understood Bible that they can study.

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The southernmost city of Dubrovnik has what has to be one of the best ancient walled cities in the world….it was just unfortunate that we have become tired of old cities, ancient walls and medieval fortifications. Tamara and I faked it, trying to enjoy exploring the city. While we were disappointed with the level of commercialism in the city, the incredibly old buildings were impressive.

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Then we discovered that the fortified walls were open to being explored. They have maintained the wall enough that you can walk around the entire city, pretending the city is under siege by some foreign force! The funny thing is that during the ethnic war of the 1990s, the city of Dubrovnik was besieged by a modern military. They with-stood the siege but the city was heavily damaged by rockets and artillery. Most of all the damage has been repaired.

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Eventually, my “itchy feet” got the better of us and we were off driving around the countryside. We visited a few towns in Bosnia and Montenegro bringing our visited countries to 43. In case you are wondering, they are similar to Croatia just not as nice and more farm equipment on the road.

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Soon we turned our car north and headed to Slovenia, one of the least known countries in Europe. Hope to share more soon!

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  1. #1 by Charter on November 19, 2011 - 9:42 am

    Nice to have you in Croatia! Hope you enjoyed here!

  2. #2 by Vicky on October 11, 2010 - 4:31 pm

    That is a very cool picture of the Bethel sign. At first glance it looked like your grandma Lorraine, with you in the picture at the bethel.Thanks for sharing

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