Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Blessed to Be a Blessing in Bosnia/Herzegovina

Yesterday we returned from our 6th trip to Bosnia/Herzegovina where Dan and I serve as pastoral care couple to International Workers there. What a blessing to be a blessing!

 We go to encourage, edify, enrich, and strengthen God's servants. You know how that works, don't you? We receive the blessing by returning home encouraged, edified, enriched, and strengthened.

 I love how God blesses those whose goal it is to bless. Try it. It'll work for you too! Go visit your sick neighbor, encourage an exhausted mom, do something special for your spouse. The blessings are endless!

But now, back to our trip.

In preparation for Bosnia, I read Tender Care: providing pastoral care for God's global servants published by Barnabas books. The author states "Going overseas is like putting Miracle Grow on all your sins and dysfunctions." Our servants living across many ponds face challenges we know not of here in the United States. My prayer is that God used our presence to kill any weeds trying to poke their heads into their ministries.

Here's a peek into life as pastoral care couple to International Workers:

We've learned to take very few clothes. International Workers are not interested in my latest style, they want gifts from home! So we pack computers, software programs, children's toys, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and lots of yarn for the Bosnian handcrafts project.

Our suitcases empty of love gifts, are now refilled with completed handcrafts brought back to the US to sell. All proceeds go to Bosnian women, some of whom have no other means of support.

International Worker Kathy Eikost and her Bosnian friend filling our suitcase.
Dan and I spend individual time with each International Worker, giving them opportunity to talk and share what is happening in their lives. As one said to me, "I'm so thankful you come and talk to me face to face. Skyping just wouldn't do it." It's a joy to hold hands and pray and hug each one needing a touch from home.
We enjoy time in their homes on the floor with their children. The Dinius children stole our hearts.
4 year old Joshua announced to an entire ski lodge that I was pretty! You go, Joshy!!!

Speaking of ski lodge! We all retreated to the Alps of Bosnia (remember, the Olympics were held in Sarajevo!) for a retreat together where Dan and I spoke and we enjoyed celebrating Holy Communion four times!!! So special!
Driving up into the mountains of Bosnia. So beautiful!

The view from our window.
The ministry team who plays together, stays together! We enjoyed great snow fun as you will see from the above video!
From the Alps to the Mediteranean climate of Mostar, Herzegovina where Mark and Viviane Shady serve.
Viviane Shady (on right) and her dear friend Ivon. Ivon is a Pastor's Wife and the first graduate of the Mostar Bible School.
Pastor Karmelo (on left) is Ivon's husband and serves as Pastor of a church in Herzegovina. My husband (on right) had the honor of preaching in Pastor Karmelo's church on Sunday.
A Pastoral Care Couple is taught to obey whatever the International Worker tells them to do because the IW knows the culture and the PCC does not. Mark and Viviane Shady told us to kiss, so we obeyed what the IW said to do. That's all.

Some of our best ministry happens just walking around town with the IW's and listening to their hearts.

And, of course, the girls love to talk and shop!

Don't forget Bosnia is a hurting and war-torn country filled with lovely people who need the hope and help our International Workers bring.

Don't forget to pray for our International Workers!
Don't forget God has someone for you to encourage today!
Don't forget to be a splash of serenity in someone's life today!
Thanking God for His blessings! 


  1. Love this post, love how you're standing on your tippy toes to kiss your hubby and love you and Dan!!

  2. Love the pictures and the post, Elaine. I'm glad you were able to minister to the IWs but I'm also glad you made it home safe and sound! Love you!

  3. Elaine,

    I am glad you are home safely. The love in your eyes, and your kisses. Thank you for sharing with our IW and bringing their hope and messages home with you.

    Hugs. Glad you are home.

    Lisa M Buske


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