Outreach officially started on December 30. We packed up our nine-passenger van around 7:30 a.m. It’s hard packing a van with nine people who will be gone for two months. We have a lot of stuff. And not even all of it was for us. We found a store outside of Modling that sold soccer balls for one Euro each. So we bought 10 of them, which will be given to the kids in Bosnia and Serbia. They were stored under our feet for our 10.5 hour drive to Bosnia.
On our travel to Bosnia we traveled through parts of Slovenia and Croatia. During the last portion of our trip we found ourselves in a traffic jam for about 45 minutes. Good thing we had lots of car snacks — stashed all over our van. I looked behind one arm and found a bag of Doritos. Under Courtney’s feet we found a bag of soft tortilla shells and a package of cream cheese. I know it sounds like a weird combination, but it was actually really good. Then Mallory found the Cheez-its and fruit leathers. We snacked all the way to Sarajevo. Time flies when you’re snacking. Thank you for your prayers; we safely arrived in Sarajevo about 8 p.m. after traveling through many “ia” countries.
let it snow!
Oh, the weather in Sarajevo has been a bit frightful. One day it rained buckets of water. Yes, this would be the day we spent walking around town to pray for the city. We were soaked — and yet excited to see that as the temperature dropped it all turned to snow. All my friends in Colorado are having snow days left and right and I haven’t seen a single flake until I got here.
The place we’re staying (as you can see from the pictures above) is a house that reminds me a little bit of a ski lodge/condo. Mostly because of the view. Our balcony looks out onto this valley with a huge mountain in the background — all covered in snow. It’s absolutely beautiful!! I smile because I’m reminded of the little and BIG ways God takes care of me when I miss my Colorado home. I have a piece of Colorado right here. And have even had a couple blue-sky days during this week. Another tiny thing is that most of the water faucets in our house in Bosnia are opposite — cold on the left and hot on the right — just like my house was on Uintah St.
During our first few days in Bosnia we’ve been able to hear the story of how the YWAM Bosnia team came together, and all God is doing here. Here’s a bit of a recap of the week:
We attended a local church and taught Sunday school for the kids. Our theme was Jesus’ birthday party. We used a wrapped present to play hot potato. And at the end of the game we handed out the stickers which were inside the present. We found out later that Bosnian kids LOVE stickers and have sticker books. I thought that was a cool God blessing on our lesson. We then did an interactive telling of Luke 2 — The Christmas Story. The kids loved being King Herod, the shepherds and especially the sheep.
We went to the S.O.S. Kinderdorf which is a local community center for kids/teens as well as an orphanage.
We’ll be spending a lot of time with these kids. On this day we helped the kids there bake cookies. Here’s my group of bakers who were all 10 years old (Ilma, Ilya, Nadea and Nadea). We had fun making snickerdoodle cookies, which were for an elderly home in the community.
We went back to the S.O.S. and finished putting cookies in plastic bags and made tags that said Happy New Year. Then a group of 14 kids went to the elderly home with a few of us adults and handed them out. At first the workers wouldn’t let our group in, but then things changed and these kids started on the fourth floor handing out cookies to as many people as they could find. They had sooo much joy from doing this that they started giving one person three or four bags of cookies. When I walked down the hall I noticed an older gentleman sitting at a table in front of the television watching basketball wtih four bags of cookies in front of him. (I was tempted to go join him and help him eat all of those cookies during the game. *smile*)
We arrived at S.O.S. ready to teach five one-hour English classes from 4 to 9 p.m., but found out that our contact forgot about the appointment. We ended up playing with the kids who were there for an hour. We created a mini obstacle course for them to go through while tied to their partner’s leg. Then we played a fun game of Crab Soccer. The evening wasn’t like we expected, but we had a ton of fun!
a call to prayer
Every morning around 6:30 a.m. I hear the call to prayer from the local mosque. The Muslim community is growing rapidly here. Please pray for the hearts of the people here. They are spiritually hungry — and yet looking for food in the wrong place.
There is a lot of spiritual oppression in this area and it obviously affects the Christian missionaries here. But God is moving in a mighty way. Even these last two weeks He’s opened doors for our Austria team that He hasn’t opened before for the YWAM Bosnia team.
Pray for all of us as we continue to build relationships and love on the S.O.S. Kinderdorf kids. We’ll be sledding with them four or five days next week, as well as playing games and teaching value-based lessons. We can’t openly preach the gospel to the kids without the parents permission
Tomorrow we’ll be handing out Samaritan Purse gifts, as well as leading the Sunday morning program. We’ll be sharing the gospel with the people from the community who come to receive presents.
Thanks for your prayers. There are days I find harder than others to push through and keep going. Pray that I will be available for however God desires to use me in Bosnia.
Pray for our safety as we travel to Serbia a week from tomorrow.
Pray for our relationships as a team. It’s easy to get in conflicts when you’re living out God’s heart for the people here. The minor things get in the way of what God really wants to do. I’ve been through many confrontational moments in the last week. It’s good for me to practice my confronting skills more and more. We’ll be studying Ephesians over the next few weeks which I think will be a great study on unity in Christ and with each other.
I hope you all are seeing God’s work in your life and in your heart. I can’t wait to hear what He’s doing all around the world. Please drop me an e-mail sometime soon.
one more random thought: dessert cereal and more
It’s amazing, but I’ve found a large grocery store in Bosnia that sells Cheerios and Fruit Loops. They also have a special kind of Fanta that you can only find in Bosnia. It’s called Fanta Shokata. And the drink is blue. I’ll have to bring some back to the States for you to try. It tastes sort of like Fresca.
I have more pics I’m going to try and get up now, but if they don’t work know that I’ll show you later. There are some pictures missing that I uploaded earlier. Aaahhh! Technology! Thanks for your patience!