Wrapping Up Our Week

Hey! It’s Shannon here in Sarajevo giving a little recap on our last day of Space Camp and our closing ceremony.

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We had 18 kids total,  a few who had joined during the week and a few who left for holiday. A typical morning at the Source. My group was ART- need I explain more? I would be lying if I said it was never messy. I kept thinking the next day won’t be as messy. He he he.

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I feel Haley and I really connected with the kids and our helper through some Disney tunes and art! Throw on some “Let it Go” and no matter the age the girls will sing at the top of their lungs.

What really made an impact on me, was how as a “team” we made connections. One young man’s mom was asking me if I will be at the next one...that really made me smile. I have really enjoyed working with each of these children. Watching them interact with each member of the team, each of the helpers, and our partners. The gratitude from the parents was a blessing.

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At the end of the night, we went out to eat with all who helped with Camp. We are pretty sure we witnessed an engagement and maybe photo bombed the the engagement picture (unintentionally).

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Saturday, after a week of early rising we were allowed to sleep in before playing tourist again… oh, sleep. We went to the Tunnel museum. This is the Tunnel of Rescue and also known as the Tunnel of Hope. The Bosnians would have to sneak to and from town via the Tunnel in order to safely deliver supplies while avoiding the rampant amount of snipers during the war.

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We are now reunited with our teammates who were in Veres. We met up for lunch, as Jesse and Ryan say “I will eat all your foods”.  We headed for a horse-drawn carriage along Velika Aleja to Vrelo Bosne which is an amazing park. Waterfalls, Roman ruins (inhabited now by lizards), and it is the best tasting water!  It was nice to relax and be back together.

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After our night was over and we were heading back to our Hostel and taking in all of the sights, we passed a free concert at the food festival. We checked it out and in leaving we passed two kids from Space Camp. She hugged us all, while he gave us high fives-wearing huge smiles on their faces. They were so excited! Our team was even more thrilled than they were.

Ćao from Veraš,

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Becky and I have been waiting for this day to come. We loved spending time with the children of Veraš, but today is our home visit day. As you can imagine, health care is not readily available here. A woman that we spoke to today was set up with an MRI for some suspicious lumps a year from now!

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Our day began with going up to a look-out spot where we could see all of Veraš. We stood looking out over the city and prayed for the people there. It is such a spiritually dark place. The people here trudge through life without the hope of heaven and the joy that God brings.

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We only saw four patients today, but you could see how much they appreciated the love and physical care that we brought to them. We may not be able to proclaim out loud the name of Jesus here, but we can show the people we encounter His love. Our home visits are a “sneaky” way of building the missionary’s relationships up with the community as well. Mario and Dejana are well loved and respected here because of the tangible love they bring.

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In one home we were blessed with snacks and coffee. The people here love fellowship. They love to sit with their visitors and talk and laugh. Mario calls this “sweet coffee,” a term that I love and will be using from now on.

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As a lot of you might know I can’t eat wheat/gluten. Guess what? I can eat ALL the bread here! It doesn’t bother me. While sitting at a restaurant, after our work was done, I was enjoying the bread. I told the group that “I came to Bosnia for the Lord, but I’m staying for the bread.”

Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to lift up our team and the people of Bosnia.

- Andrea

Tuesday Update - Sarajevo
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Hey everyone! Jesse here. Today we finished our second day of English camp. We are all enjoying the work but it makes us tired at the end of the day. The kids are super fun and it’s enjoyable to spend time with them! I sure wish that I could speak in Bosnian. Some of the older kids speak English very well, while some of the younger ones, not so much. But, they all seem to understand some English words and with the help of our translators we can all communicate and have a good time.

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In addition to spending time with the kids, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know our translators and looking for ways to be an encouragement to them and build a friendship. I think maybe our conversations with our helpers could be our greatest opportunity for impact. Please, pray for these relationships. There are still many other opportunities to bring light as we go about our days, so please pray for us to recognize them!

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We’ve also been given some opportunities to meet with English students one on one, and have conversation guided by a work sheet. Monday, Haley and I had a great discussion with a man who is about my age. Among other things we discussed the value of respecting other people who are different than yourself. Our new friend actually brought this up and talked a bout how important respect is, especially in this area where there are many different religious groups and cultures and a history of war between them. I believe he is correct, if we don’t treat others with respect, even when we disagree, we’ll never be able to share ideas and as Christians we’ll never be able to share the truth with effectiveness. This value of respect is important in missions and in our everyday relationships.

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After our camp is done for the day and we finish setting up for the next day, we’ve had more time to sight see and shop. Tuesday, we got to visit the Childhood War Museum. This museum has collected stories from adults who have lived through war as children and items that were connected to the story. We read several short statements about experiences that were had as children during the siege of Sarajevo and looked at various objects like drawings, toys, and candy wrappers which the children had kept or used to get through these difficult times. It was very sad to see and read.

We appreciate your prayers and support!

Monday Update - Sarajevo
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We had a great first day here at Kids' Camp.  To be honest, we were all a bit anxious this morning.

--Now--
Haley:  I think it was fun, especially tonight's one-on-one.

Shann:  I liked today, it was very interesting.  There were a few kids that remembered me, and that lit up my heart.  It was a major plus.

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Ryan:  My day went well.  I bought a fedora-I look fedorable.  I had a lot of fun with the kids and the one-on-one with the ESL student.

Jesse:  I think it went very well, I enjoyed hanging out with the kids.

Me:  Kids are the same no matter where you go.  I loved it!

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Overall, it was a truly terrific, God day!  Thank you all for your prayers; they are felt here.

-Donna

Update From Vareš

Hello from Vareš!

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After weeks of prepping Andrea and I were finally able to see our plans come to fruition. Today was our first day of kids camp up at Mario & Dejana’s property in the mountains- named Emmanuel, which means God with us. When I came to Bosnia three years ago they had just purchased the property and were getting it ready to use with their kids program. So, for me, it was extra exciting to come and use the property the way they knew God had called.

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It is against the law to evangelize here in Bosnia, so we prepared lessons on Compassion for the younger children (this character trait is a foreign concept in a shame based culture) and how to maintain a healthy body for the teenagers. The younger students loved making their buckets and filling them with kind words to each other, while the older kids had a great time learning to do burpees. They were very impressed that I could not only do a full push-up on my toes, but I could do a push-up and then clap coming off the ground. I definitely earned some respect from the teenage boys. ;-)

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The only flaw in today was the HUGE rainstorm that hit as the camp began. Bosnians don’t like to be wet or cold, and in fact we had many families cancel this morning when they saw the weather report. When the rain hit we turned to Plan B, which was to use the old hiking lodge up the road. So, instead of playing games outside we played games inside. I taught the kids how to play Go Fish, or Idi Pecaj in Bosnian, and they loved it!

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Pictures of the children aren’t allowed at camp, so you won’t see their beautiful faces in these photos, but you’ll still get the gist of our day and see Mario & Dejana’s property.

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Thank you for your prayers- keep them coming for no rain tomorrow!

- Becky

Sunday

Hey everyone it’s Ryan, aka the duck wrangler.

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Today we got to go to church and had a great time worshiping our God in another language. Even though we couldn’t understand the lyrics we knew the songs and could connect that way. The Holy Spirit has no barriers.

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After church we got to fellowship with the pastor and his wife at Food Market. A restaurant in a gigantic fancy mall.

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Later we walked up a million stairs to Take gondola ride which was scarry to Haley and I and Shann, but we got to walk on the bobsled track from the Olympics in 1984 and it was, ‘cool runnings mon’. We also got trapped for 20 minutes in a thunderstorm with a lot of rain involved.

Later, our friend showed us around to some good desserts and Turkish coffee. Afterwards we grabbed chevapi and had fellowship together. We laughed and then we laughed some more. Now to get some rest for the first day of the English camp tomorrow.

Preparation Day
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Hi everyone! Haley here, bringing you the latest from our Bosnia happenings. Walking, planning, drinking coffee, partaking in trying different Bosnian dishes, and more walking consisted of our day today. After the team walked to the local bakery to get breakfast and enjoy devotional/prayer time together, we met with our international guides to gather materials and begin preparations for our kids camp. We met the team we will be working with for the next several days and went over all of the lesson plans, crafts, etc..

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We are all struggling with the effects of jet lag, so our international team kept us very busy in order to become accustomed to the 9 hour time difference. Plenty of Turkish coffee and other espresso has been a staple for us! One of our guides took Donna, Ryan, and myself on a tour of the town while Shann and Jesse went in another direction shopping for more supplies. We toured several churches in the area and marveled at the breathtaking architecture as well as the diversity in practices and beliefs. After looking around for several hours, we met up with the other half of the team for dinner as well as tour another portion of Sarajevo as an entire group. Our guide was so helpful with translation, giving us important and interesting information, and assisting us in trying new dishes and beverages that were popular in the community. We were all exhausted by the end of the night and quickly retired to bed. We have seen several different cultures and were discussing earlier about how many people we’ve made an impact on already just being a light and a smiling face amongst the crowds. We plan to continue this pattern as we prepare to have our program starting soon on Monday.

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Prayers for relief from jet lag, aches and pains, and continued safety as we go on new adventures tomorrow are appreciated!


Be blessed,

Haley

Travel Day

We arrived at the church early Thursday morning….5 am. Nope, not for squats either (The Faith & Fitness team meets for exercise at 5am 3 times a week). Although, Becky was trying to get a a workout going while we were waiting for a certain team member to arrive. And no, it wasn’t me.

We did have a great turn out for our send off. Pastor Steve prayed and off we went!

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As we arrived at SeaTac, we were greeted by the man at the baggage check. He asked where we were headed and and we told him. He began to open up about his church and how they do a similar mission in Africa. He has felt called to go but has been taking care of his elderly mother. While listening to his story I asked if I could pray for him, his face lit up and he said yes please. So I prayed for him and his mom.

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We went on our way… we had some silly moments together, crowded planes, long flight & short flights, and we went through 3 different countries. We have arrived in Sarajevo and Becky and Andrea have traveled on to their destination of Vares. We are tired, but looking forward to the week!

- Shann

Pray For Our Team!
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Hi everyone! Thank you for all your prayers and support for our team. We are getting ready to leave for Sarajevo early Thursday morning! We'll be splitting into two teams when we get there. Becky and Andria will be running a kids camp in a smaller mountain village with some of our Alliance partners, while the rest of us will be working with our partners in Sarajevo and putting on an English Camp.

Please pray for strength as we travel and adjust to the time change. Also, pray for us as we work with the kids. We'd love to be able to help our partners build relationships with local families and for the kids to have a fun time learning! Pray that we can have an impact with the people we encounter. I'm sure we'll all be stretched in different ways and have opportunities to step into more depth in our walk with God. Pray that God will work in each of us through this trip as well!

We'll try to keep you all updated by posting here regularily!

- Jesse