Home to 600,000 people, the city of Sarajevo has a war-torn past and a complicated relationship with religion.
Religion is often associated with ethnic identity in Bosnia-Herzegovina; if you are a Bosnian-Croat, then you’re likely to say you’re Catholic, even if you haven’t walked into a Catholic church in years.
Most Bosnian-Serbs claim to be Orthodox Christians, an identity they clung to during the recent civil war. To this day, the role of religion in the conflict remains controversial and tragic.
The Ottomans brought Islam to Bosnia and Herzegovina 600 years ago. Now, Bosnian Muslims make up half of the country’s population.
Complete with colorful scarves and trinkets, Sarajevo’s city center has become a popular place for tourism – a sharp contrast to the violent siege that took place on these very streets not so long ago.
Trams have lined the streets of Sarajevo since 1885, making it one of the oldest tram systems in Europe.
A Right to Life
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, abortion is a common and even encouraged form of birth control. When the Pioneers team in Sarajevo discovered this, they responded by starting a right to life initiative for the unborn.
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Bosnian women are not often taught about the sanctity of life and neither are they given information about the stages of pregnancy, so they often turn to abortion. The right to life initiative wants to change that.
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Though still a young movement, this emerging pro-life initiative has already walked alongside many women considering abortion and even helped some heal in the aftermath. They have even gotten the chance to share the Gospel with the women they reach.
Cooks in the Kitchen
The team in Sarajevo is growing rapidly; faced with the task of bringing the Gospel to a place still suspicious of religion, they daily rely on God and each other for strength and wisdom.
By learning the language and forming relationships in the community, the team hopes to find people God is already drawing to himself, invite them to read the Bible, and lead them into relationship with Jesus.
It’s only through the power of the Gospel that this country will heal from its wounds and advocate for the value of every life; giving every Bosnian the chance to hear it may be a huge challenge, but it is the work this team feels called, equipped, and willing to do.
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