Bosnia & Hercegovina

Practical help opens hearts

March 13, 2015

For many years, OM Bosnia in Bihać has run a winter firewood project with the local evangelical church, aiming to help struggling families with much-needed firewood and a food package. At the same time, they hope to introduce them to the love of Jesus.

Ninety-five per cent of the population of Bihać are from a Muslim background, and there’s only one church in the county. Many become hopeless and depressed because of their worsening financial situations, and they find that their religious leaders don't provide much hope.

The winter firewood project meets a practical need in their lives, and at the same time opens doors for OM Bosnia to share the Gospel.

The last Saturday in January proved to be a special day for many families, who had received an invitation to attend an evening of dinner and fellowship in the ministry centre at the local church.

About 25 people enjoyed singing songs, drinking coffee and eating homemade food. At the same time, they heard a clear message from Faruk*, the local project coordinator. He is from a Muslim background and knows both the Qur'an and the Bible well. The listeners were surprised to hear that the Qur'an says a lot about Jesus and even encourages followers of Islam to read the Bible.

Safid*, a visitor sitting at the back of the room, paid full attention to Faruk's message. At the end he thanked the leaders, saying, “My two brothers are both Islamic priests. I have always been interested in finding the truth, and what I heard today was very interesting indeed. I am glad I came—thank you for organising this dinner!”

“It was encouraging to all of us to see how God was at work in his heart!” expressed an OM team member. “We also saw people who have had a lot of contact with us, but they always found excuses for not attending any church activities. However, that night they came, listened to everything and did not even get offended!”

Little by little, the OM team believes God is softening the hearts of people in the town. He uses the wood project and relationships to bring the hope and love of Jesus into their lives.

Anna*, a long-term team member commented, “So far, we have done a lot of sowing, often seeing no results at all. But tonight, seeing all of these people here, listening so attentively to the message, it felt like the fields were starting to turn green and the seeds were finally pricking through the surface!”

*Name changed