It’s a beautiful city.
In my opinion, at least. If you look close enough, you can see all the bumpy scars left from multiple wars – both in the physical and in the emotional. There’s so much hurt left over from a country that was torn apart. To outsiders, it looks like no one wants to move on. It looks like people in Sarajevo are hopeless. But if you look close enough, you’ll notice that there’s still hope. There’s always hope. As long as God loves people, there will always be hope. But sometimes our circumstances change how we view things. In the midst of pain, it’s hard to look for the hope. It’s hard to look past the wounds and see a life that’s beyond what we can see at the moment.
That’s how it felt with outreach sometimes. It felt like there was so much hurt in the city, how could we ever make a difference?
But if you look past the pain…. If you can shift your focus so you’re looking for hope instead of pain, you’ll find it.
Robert and Sandrina have been living in Sarajevo for a while. They run fellowship and were in the beginning stages of starting a daycare/children’s center. The hope they have for their city is contagious. Even as we were doing labor work, I could feel my attitude begin to change. As I saw Robert’s hope, I began to catch the vision he had as well.
The beginning of starting a ministry is hard no matter where you are. It takes lots of work and lots of perseverance. When things don’t turn out how you had planned, it takes patience to push through and find another way of doing things.
As the weeks went on, sometimes it felt like we weren’t getting any where. It felt like no matter what amount of work we put in, there was always more that would need to be done. But holding on to the hope kept us going.
In the moment, it’s hard to see the impact we have sometimes. But looking back, we can see what our work accomplished. For one thing, we were able to build some good relationships with the people we worked with. And for another, we got to see the children’s center up and running when we left.
When we arrived, that building was empty. And when we left, it was full of colorful things for children’s to play in. We even got to play with kids for a few days!
For me, the growth I saw in my students made the whole trip worth it. When we left for outreach, we were all pretty comfortable with each other. But as time goes on, you see every side of a person when you live close with them. And there are moments when you are absolutely convinced that you can’t stand the other person. Every outreach team goes through that. But it makes it so much more amazing when you come to the end of outreach and you realize that you love each person on your team so much. Not because they are perfect, but because of who they are and who God is in them.
For me, that’s what makes outreach worth it. At the end of the day, Sarajevo still needs lots of love. But if I look at what God has done in the students and in me, it makes the whole trip worth it.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful – for He cannot deny Himself. – 2 Timothy 2:13
That’s what I learned. For me, that verse talks about trusting that God is moving, even if it doesn’t look like we expected it too, He is.
Because He is still faithful.