Friday, February 25, 2011

A Splash of Serenity in Sarajevo

Imagine living in Sarajevo during the Bosnian Civil War from 1992-1996. You remember gorgeous mountains hugging beautiful Sarajevo resting in a peaceful valley. No more. Now artillery fills those mountains surrounding your hometown. They aim and shoot at you and all those you love and life as you know it. Your family and friends are massacred. Men you love are herded into prison camps to be executed, beaten, and tortured. Twenty thousand girlfriends are systematically raped. You watch your children being slung under the tracks of advancing tanks. Half your world is dead. There's no electricity, no gas, no running water for 3 1/2 years. How could anyone survive this?

Imagine living in Sarajevo today. It's a history-rich city being rebuilt. Yet 40% remain unemployed. You may be a Bosnian war widow eking out a living making handcrafts. Perhaps your children are the ones begging on the streets hoping for a meal. You love Bosnia but you hate the memories there. The people are warm and loving, but they carry deep pain in their minds and scars that penetrate their hearts.

Dan and I rejoice at the opportunity we have to bring hope and encouragement to the people who live there and the International Workers who serve them. We just returned from our 5th trip to the Balkans. There is so much to say, but this poem printed from a Covenant House Christmas card in Leslie Vernick's book, Lord, I Just Want To Be Happy, says most of it.

On the street I saw a small girl
cold and shivering in a thin dress,
with little hope of a decent meal.
I became angry and said to God:
"Why did you permit this?
Why don't you do
something about it?"

For a while God said nothing.
That night He replied
quite suddenly:
"I certainly did something about it--
I made you.'"

Won't you be a Splash of Serenity in some one's life today? Perhaps that is why God made you.

Blessed to be used by God in any way to bring a splash of serenity to a hurting world,



  1. This certainly puts a different perspective on our own state's economic woes. Thank you for sharing Elaine.
    Joan Eppehimer

  2. Hi Joan, Thank you for your comment. Bosnians also have a different perspective on suffering. Such as, I have never heard a Bosnian complain about the weather. Makes one think, don't you think?

  3. Elaine, I had no idea the dear people in Bosnia had gone through so much horror. It's definitely a country for which we need to pray.
    I'm glad you're home safe. Will you be at Montrose this summer?
    (Great posts)

  4. Hi Marsha, Any prayers for Bosnia are appreciated. It is very sad. Horrific, really. Thank you for praying.

    I am teaching two seminars at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer's Conf. The "Marketing Your Ministry" and "A Writer Speaks" which I taught at Montrose last summer. So, I don't plan on attending Montrose this summer. Wow--I don't like saying that because I absolutely LOVE the people at Montrose. But, I only allow myself one major conference. Maybe I'll change my mind. Hugs to you.


I would love hearing from you! Thanks for sharing!