We ran a Faith and Conflict in 2014, and Jonny Clark from YWAM Rostrevor has been on me ever since to run another one here in Bosnia. They are run in places all over the world, but I never felt it was the right time for us again until this year. Since, the Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Croatia was focusing on Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia as well, we decided that this week long conference would be part of the DTS lecture phase. We would also see if anyone else wanted to come along for this journey of understanding... and they did!
Even though Jonny couldn't come at the last minute, and he was supposed to be the main speaker, everything still turned out OK. Walter Nicora and Alex Atwell from Rostrevor jumped in and really did a fantastic job. We had some wonderful locals who shared their testimonies of forgiveness and it all just came together wonderfully!
We physically (as well as mentally and spiritually!) went on a journey through Bosnia and Herzegovina, starting in Banja Luka, then on to Sarajevo, and ending in Mostar (pictured above).
Here is a picture of us all in Sarajevo:
Below is how this week impacted Taylor, one of the girls, on the DTS .
This week made a big impact in my walk with the Lord. At the time, I had been to Serbia several times and had been a few weeks in Croatia for the DTS. I didn’t understand why the locals seemed not to get along. I had underestimated the hatred and hurt that was there. We heard powerful testimonies from several of the locals during the Faith & Conflict week who had experienced the war, and how they have chosen to forgive their enemies.
Throughout the week, we also heard from Alex and Walter who serve in YWAM Rostrevor. A couple of themes that ran throughout the week was forgiveness and reconciliation.
As the week went on, I came to realize that I had never truly forgiven anyone. I thought I had, but it was something I was never taught how to do. I said that I forgave them, and that’s all I had to do, right? But nothing reached my heart. Well, during this week, I learned how to truly forgive, and it was not easy. I had to dig up past hurts, and practically go through them all over again. But this time, I had the tools I needed and the family to support me to go through this painful process. God has forgiven me for so many things, and I had to accept that forgiveness. Once I could accept the forgiveness God has extended to me, I was able to deal with my past hurts. And get this, I wanted to forgive the people who hurt me. It still took a while, seven weeks to be exact, to forgive this one person in my life, but I feel so much more free now!
by Belinda Chaplin & Taylor Smith