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A story from Mostar: Bosnia and Herzegovina. Hope Springs

May 5, 2015

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Bosnia Herzegovina is a country unfortunately known for the war in the early 90s, during the break up of Yugoslavia, and known today for its very poor economy. Many people don’t know that it is also a very beautiful country, full of outstanding nature, mountain peaks and fresh water springs. A small group of evangelical believers in Mostar, a town in the south of the country, are trying to do sustainable humanitarian work. They are currently producing potatoes and cabbage, but in the future also fruit and other agricultural products. The idea is simple. The church bought some land and is investing in it, for now, through voluntary work and donations. Everything invested at least doubles in value. The humanitarian work is provided with local produce, reducing transport costs to a minimum, as the land is just 12km (7.5miles) from the church. It is not just church members who are involved in the work of the project but also beneficiaries of the humanitarian aid. Last year some of the produce was also sent to the areas in the north of the country hit by devastating floods.

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The project is called the “Centre for Care for People” and its motto is “Exalting the Lord, Caring for People”. In a country racked by economic crises the church decided to model a location where people can experience fellowship, relaxation and work all in one place; but the fellowship is creative, the relaxation active, and the work productive. The plot of land is 7000m2, and in the future they hope to build a small property on a part of it, providing accommodation for a few people to live on a low budget. The intensity of production would then adapt to their needs. This second phase of the project would mean that people, while seeking work, would have a cheap place to live and the chance to work and contribute, even though they are themselves in need. After the house would come chickens, eggs, goats, a greenhouse …. and the centre could grow into a Christian community. It is a very flexible project, and as it takes small steps forward it is not too financially demanding.

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In a land with so many difficulties, this small project is looking at what is possible, not what is impossible. The church community want to be those who will care, not just for their own, but for their neighbours too. This project is a creative and sustainable way to provide for people’s physical needs and to develop greater bonds of fellowship while doing so.

What inspires you about this story of hope and transformation? Are there projects/initiatives that you are involved with that could feature on Breathe? Do get in contact or add comments if you have any stories to tell. 

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