Approximately 46 years ago, Mladen Jovanovic was a young linguistic professor at the University of Zagreb where two American students began their private classes with him to learn the Croatian language. However, they wanted to use the Bible as their study text which was OK with Mladen. I am not sure how much Croatian they each learned but Mladen began to question his own faith reading the Bible where he was eventually baptized and committed to Christ. Dragica, his wife was later taught and baptized. They began having the church, together with Ivan Tesic in their homes which grew slowly and Mladen made the decision to work full time as a minister of the gospel.
Initial support and oversight for their family were provided by the Northside Church of Christ in Santa Ana, CA for a few years. In June 1982, Mladen was introduced to the elders of Bammel Road Church of Christ from Houston, TX, where they assumed his oversight and ministry throughout Croatia. During these early years of his ministry, a small apartment was rented close to the center of Zagreb, in 1984 that apartment was purchased and the Amruseva Church of Christ consistently grew in numbers. The former Yugoslavia, which Croatia was a part of, broke into six separate countries in 1991-1995 when Serbian forces created a war in the region. Refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina fled to Zagreb where the church became a humanitarian outreach providing shelter, food, clothing, and support. Churches in America sent many containers of supplies to Zagreb for assistance.
The church at Amruseva street outgrew their meeting place and Mladen made a request to buy and improve a large home in a residential area close to transportation and still central to Zagreb. God provided funds through many different sources to make this acquisition and all improvements required and in May 2000, the Church move into a new building. Today the Kuslanova Church of Christ building is the home of the largest and expanding Church of Christ in Zagreb and the home to the Bible Institute of Zagreb.
Mladen and Dragica Jovanovic’s legacy and commitment to expanding God’s kingdom throughout Croatia is well known in Croatia, Europe and America.