2 October 2019 | Jajce, Bosnia and Herzegovina [Božidar Mihajlović/tedNEWS]
War separates – often for years even when the conflict is over and ‘peace’ is restored. Distrust, hurt and pain have to be overcome. Adventist youth in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) see themselves as part of that bridge building process.
Joining together from across the country, Adventist volunteers were joined by their willing friends to spend five days in Jajce, a town divided on strict ethnic lines since the Balkan conflict. While civil authorities work at reconciliation projects, more is needed. For this reason, a church plant in the otherwise un-entered town is building a grassroots initiative with the help of the youth.
Entitled, ‘Invasion of love’, the project is based on a ‘contact hypothesis’, a theory which states that people are more inclined to bridge their differences if they are working towards a common goal.
For the second year running, the first week of August saw 25 volunteers offer free car washes, paint park benches, clean up areas of the town, and give away free ice-cream and flowers. On the health front, they offered citizens free blood pressure and blood sugar level testing. In addition, they visited with the police, with NGOs working with special needs groups and, on the final day, organised a peace walk.
Partial funding for the project came from the Trans-European Division (TED) Mission board. “I am so excited to see young people working together to make a real difference in their community,” states Daniel Duda, who oversees the work of the board.
Part of the rationale for TED support is in seeing the value of Adventist and other youth working together towards a positive community goal, to encourage citizens of Jajce to be proud of their town and community, to build self-esteem, and to assist in a process of reconciliation.
Jajce is located in Central BiH with a population of around 30,000 inhabitants. They look forward to a return visit from the youth next year, and to a continued process of growing together.
To see more photos or to find out more about the work of Adventist church in Bosnia and Herzegovina, visit their Facebook page.
tedNEWS Staff: Victor Hulbert, editor; Deana Stojković, associate editor
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