Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Team Bosnia- Final Day

As I write this final blog of our trip, I am sitting on the airplane flying homeward. While I am beyond excited to see my wife and hug my children, I can’t help but feel sadness over the end of this fantastic journey. We arrived nearly two weeks ago, hoping and praying that God would use us to bless the church, encourage believers, and grow faith in our own hearts. I can confidently say that those things have all happened, and so much more. We have truly left behind not acquaintances, but friends- on the Alliance team and in the Sarajevan church. I am honestly having a difficult time putting into words what has happened over these days.

We spent our last day in Bosnia taking a day long trip to Mostar, about 120 kilometers from Sarajevo. A beautiful three-hour train ride through the mountains brought us to the second largest city in Bosnia. Here, we met up with Mark and Vivian Shady, who are international workers with the Alliance and also directing the Bible School. This is THE only Bible School in the entire country and plays a pivotal role in training new leaders for the church. Continue to pray for Mark and the school in Mostar- they face significant challenges in funding and in transitioning their classes to meet the needs of the Bosnian church.

After touring the school, we strolled through the streets of Mostar. This is truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. As Marian Waller put it, “I have to keep pinching myself to remember I’m not at Disneyland. It’s real!” The Stari Most bridge is the largest single-arch bridge in the world and attracts thousands of visitors to this city. After Sarajevo, Mostar was probably the most significantly war-damaged city in the country. Buildings still in rubble are a common site. Our stroll through the city led us to a hole in the ground. This is actually the future site of the West Mostar Evangelical Church. It remains a hole, however, because for 11 years their efforts at getting the proper permits and paperwork have been thwarted at each turn. Pray in faith with us that one day believers will worship in this place!

We chose to grab the bus home, which gave us some extra time to enjoy a “farewell gelato” at a local cafĂ©. Even though we arrived back in Sarajevo after 9 PM, we still met a group for dinner. It was our last chance to chat with Petula Myers, who served as our host throughout the trip, and Laura Eckman, another Alliance worker who helped us quite a bit. Also, Pastor Sasa of the Malta church joined us, along with another member. This spoke volumes to me of the depth of relationships we have established, as these guys really wanted to have one last meal with us. We pray for continued connection with them, as they strive to be light in a dark country.

The evening was spent packing, and this morning after some final coffees and strolls, we headed to the airport with full hearts and grateful spirits. We are especially grateful to all of you who have journeyed with us. Whether you checked the blog once or daily, whether you prayed for a moment or for hours, we are honored by your partnership with our team. We felt as though we were ambassadors for all of you, and in some small way you made a difference in Bosnia as well. Thanks for reading, thanks for praying, and thanks for continuing to keep Bosnia and the believers there before the Father.

Journey On-


1 comment:

Pastor Nick said...

And Congrats to BOB SIMMONS for being the most regular responder to the Blog. Thanks for checking in and commenting so often Bob! We appreciate you and everyone else who prayed the team through this trip.