The floodwaters may have receded, but many in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still trying to pick up the pieces of lives turned upside-down by violent recent storms—and some are being assisted in the crisis by help from Foursquare Disaster Relief (FDR).
Families forced to abandon their homes and belongings have received essential basic supplies—and a tangible expression of God’s care—through a relief distribution outreach by one of the country’s handful of fledgling evangelical congregations, backed by FDR.
The area was one of those badly affected by April’s torrential rain, which forced thousands to flee their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and neighboring Serbia, in the region’s worst humanitarian crisis since the Bosnian War of the early 1990s.
Those helped by the relief support not only include some BPC members, but also others from the country’s predominant Muslim and Eastern Orthodox communities.
“People were so thankful,” says Dario. “Some of them just cried. Some of them gave us a hug. Some of them were speechless. We hope that the seed of the gospel we were able to plant will grow in their hearts.”
The remainder of the relief funds will be used to help other families as needs are identified, Dario says. “We are so grateful to everyone in Foursquare for the support,” he adds. “You have helped a small church go out and reach others in need.”
He hopes that the opportunity to meet practical needs will open doors for future ministry.
“This is a very traditional country,” he explains, “with only around 400 born-again believers in the country. It’s not that easy for people to leave their home traditions, but we see that God works, and we will not give up until we see results and real revival in our country.”
Foursquare currently does not have a formal presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but Dario has a strong relationship with Jeff Roper, Foursquare Mission International‘s area missionary to Europe, who has visited the country several times. Jeff alerted FDR to the need, securing the immediate grant from undesignated gifts to the ministry.
Chad Isenhart, FDR international operations chief, notes how crucial undesignated gifts to the ministry are in helping in situations such as Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“We had the ability to react in a timely way without having to wait for donations,” Chad explains. “The reality is, many times disasters don’t hit the U.S. media, and in turn people don’t know about them, and their hearts aren’t touched with the need. So disasters like this don’t see the kind of response they need.
“But having undesignated gifts in a readiness fund means we can respond quickly in situations like in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he continues. “We’re grateful to all in our Foursquare family who have given in a way that made this possible. We know that it’s really made a difference, and helped the church make an impact despite its small size.”
Founded 10 years ago in their home by Dario and his wife, BPC now meets in a rented hotel room. The couple hopes to be able to find another home that will allow them to have a presence throughout the week and host other events and programs.
Visit Foursquare Disaster Relief for more information on how to get involved with Foursquare’s efforts to reach people around the world.