Missions Update: Bosnia and Herzegovina

Hello Everyone! This is Leanna posting. Pastor Ken granted me Admin status here on the blog so I could post updates on my missions trip. However, the trip is almost over and this is only my first post so I guess we can file this one under the “failure” category. Oh well… at least I’m getting one in!

As many of you know, I am currently in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Myself and 9 other team members spent the past week doing prep work for an evangelical summer camp that will be attended by kids from all over the country. It was a blessing to be back at the camp after serving there 2 years ago.

Some of the jobs we worked on at the camp this year include pitching tents, setting up a cafe, weeding around the camp site, moving lots and lots of mattresses and bed frames into the new house, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning bed rooms, cleaning kitchens, taking care of the piles of garbage all over the camp site, painting boards for a patio roof, and anything else that the camp director asked us to do.

Our time at the camp ended yesterday and we are now in Mostar. There are 2 Christian churches in Mostar and they both meet in the same building, one in the morning and one in the evening. Our team attended both services.

During the service that met this morning, I had the opportunity to share a brief testimony of something that I had learned while serving at the camp. This is what I shared:

The day we left for Bosnia (June 21st), I had that scratchy feeling in my throat that comes when you are about to get a cold. By the time we arrived, I had a fully operational snot factory set up in my sinuses. Once we started working I quickly discovered that I wasn’t capable of being around dust of any kind due to the cold, which was very limiting considering basically everything at the campsite was covered in dust. It was frustrating to say the least. My head felt heavy, I was congested, my throat hurt, and I just wanted to lay down and go to bed. Not exactly peak condition for a missions trip.

Right as my cold was just starting to go away, I had another medical problem pop up. I won’t go into all the gory details, but basically I got an infection in my body that was causing me a lot of pain and discomfort. Pretty much any movement was painful and, once again, all I wanted to do was lay down and not do anything. By this point I was extremely frustrated… frustrated to the point of tears and anger.

I was laying on my sleeping bag crying and I asked God, “Why is this happening to me right now? Why couldn’t You just have waited until after the trip was over?” It was a classic God, why are you doing this to me? moment. I felt angry and upset that my short time in Bosnia was being affected by my weak body… by something as simple as a cold and an infection that chose the worst possible time to show up.

As I was laying there crying and feeling bad for myself, I opened my Bible and landed in 2 Corinthians 12. This is what I read:

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor. 12:9-10)

As I read these verses, I knew instantly what God was trying to tell me. This trip is not about what I can do in my own strength, it is about what God can do. I am nothing but a vessel – an instrument for God to use for His purposes – and God can not and will not be limited by the weakness and frailty of my flesh. Often I depend too much on my own strength and rely on my own abilities and forget that it is God who works through me, not me working and allowing Him to tag along. Sometimes I need Him to remind me who the true Craftsman is, and I think that this was one of those cases.

And to answer that Why now? question I had, I realized this morning that if I had gotten sick in America, I would have laid on the couch, watched TV, and eaten ice cream until I felt better. What good would have come from that? Nothing. But when I think of all that I was able to accomplish at the camps in spite of my crummy health, I am humbled. I know I did not get as much done as I might have in perfect health, but in this scenario I can give the credit to no one but my Father for what I was able to do with His strength.

Healthy Leanna might have said: “Look at what I did at the camp!”.

But Sick Leanna says: “Look what God gave me the strength to do at the camp!”

God’s timing truly is the best timing, isn’t it? We don’t always see and understand it at the beginning. It can be a frustrating process. But once you realize in the end how God orchestrated the whole thing, there is nothing to be done but to stand in awe of Him.

So thank you, Lord, for your timing. Thank you for my cold, thank you for the infection, thank you for teaching me, and thank you for loving me and using me in spite of my weakness.

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Want to see the pictures from my trip? You can check them out here… I think. If it doesn’t work I’m sorry! https://www.facebook.com/leannaburrows/media_set?set=a.10151739419517292.1073741827.774782291&type=1

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